In this article, we present Business Origami as being specifically created to facilitate service design in complex service systems.
We generally consider a service to exist within the organisational setting that makes the service system possible. The service within the organisation becomes the focus of design and we use tools such as blueprints1 or service system maps2 that allow us to analyse the current and future relationships between resources, processes and actors. Other visualisation tools such as actor network maps3 or service ecology maps “help a team move away from thinking just about people and organisations, and pay more attention to the things that are part of our mutual interactions”4.
Few studies have looked into the implications of designing within and for ecosystems or complex service systems. An exception is Multilevel Service Design (MSD) that designs service systems at three interconnected levels: the service concept for value constellations, the service system comprising its architecture and navigation, and the service experience blueprint.3,5 However, MSD involves the design of one service at a time, and in many cases, service design must position itself in complex systems, establishing an integrated multiservice system.
Hitachi’s centre for social innovation aims to tackle society’s challenges, such as creating more sustainable cities and supporting a growing elderly population. Many of these challenges involve developing services involving multiple stakeholders across several parts of multiple organisations. In 2006, Yukinobu Maruyama invented a tool called Business Origami that organisations such as Citizen Experience, SAP, Google and IBM have since adopted.
The Business Origami method involves gathering stakeholders for a participatory, semi-structured workshop about new service models to accelerate shared understanding and decision-making amongst stakeholders. It involves participants arranging simple card components to build up complicated service opportunities, whilst creating empathy and consensus amongst stakeholders often situated in socially complex relationships. Business Origami can be carried out from a generic (objective) perspective, or from a stakeholdercentred perspective. The aim of a workshop is to create a win-win opportunity amongst stakeholders.
Business Origami explores various attributes, including:
- Stakeholders (service providers, businesses, individuals, service users)
- Physical locations
- Relationships between stakeholders
- Services provided
- Resources and activities needed to deliver services
- Transactions such as financial and information exchanges
- Personal experiences of service users or customers