Nowadays, we all agree about the importance of services as a core structure of our societies, and so we all acknowledge service design as an ever more strategic asset for both private and public sectors. To design great services and achieve impactful results, a key element is the service evaluation practice, an emerging field of study for the service design discipline. In her Pill, Francesca Foglieni will explain the importance of the evaluation research, discussing the key concepts of the evaluation practice and reflecting on the role evaluation can have throughout the different phases of the service design process.
Service evaluation is a strategy aimed at determining the value of a service with the purpose of enabling a learning process that can foster the service transformation. Since it is context-dependent, it needs to be designed to involve decision-makers and other stakeholders. To contextualize the strategy means to deal with the evaluation variables, such as the evaluation objectives, the time of evaluation, the perspective of evaluation, and of course the object of evaluation (indicators). So the first step is to set the evaluation purpose to support decision-making through accountability, learning, and transformation trying to answer "What works (or not)?" in order to replicate or refine (innovate). To better understand the evaluation practice it's important to mind the concept that the evaluation is a research activity. It is not equivalent to but involves primary research. It's about collecting and interpreting qualitative and quantitative, first level and second level data plus experts' opinion. The evaluation activity aims to generate meaningful insights quantified through numbers and numbers qualified by insights; in other words, the output is the evaluative conclusions that determine the service value. Service design practitioners agree on the service quality as the common scale for determining the service value. Since the measuring of the quality of a service mostly depends on how actors (i.e. final users, providers, designers) perceive it, we can therefore define the service quality as multidimensional. So, to effectively evaluate a service, it's crucial to take into account all the perspectives that are involved in the service itself.
After a theoretical introduction and the exploration of some case studies and tools, our students will be asked to experiment with the evaluation of an existing service as a potential knowledge base for service redesign. The topic chosen for the experimentation is grocery delivery, in particular, some supermarket services vs. delivery apps currently available in the city of Milan. The experimentation will consist of designing an evaluation strategy for assessing the user experience of these services, collect data through primary research, and finally elaborate and discuss evaluation results. At the end of the module, they'll learn the meaning of evaluation and its relevance for service design practice, how to structure a service evaluation strategy, how to turn user research into evaluative research and to use research tools as evaluation tools, and how to collect and analyze data from an evaluation perspective.