The Service Design Award in the commercial category was given to the Apollo project. There was one image of this project that really inspired me. It’s a photography of two persons having their lunch in the cinema while they are watching a movie. This image alone inspires me two thoughts that could help us design other services.
Make the forbidden allowed
What I like in this idea is turning something that would usually be forbidden into a new service proposition. You can’t have your own sandwich at the cinema. Just pop-corn. So why not take what’s forbidden, uncommon, seen as stupid elsewhere and make it your unique feature.
There is a tiny bakery in Lausanne Switzerland that does exactly that. They have a sign outside that says “Picnic allowed”. At first the idea seems completely stupid, but it makes sense. You want to go there maybe to have some nice croissant but you don’t like their coffee. Or maybe it’s the opposite. Giving you the possibility of doing what is forbidden elsewhere removes in a way this paternalist aspect that services often have. Instead of creating rules that make people feel like little criminals we could just open our services.
Combine foreign services
Service innovation happens not only by creating something new but also by mixing together two things that already exist. Cinemas seem to re-invent themselves. There is as mentioned above the Apollo project where you have a restaurant in the cinema. In Bern, Switzerland there is a swimming pool with a cinema screen. It’s kind of easy to combine services that are in the same category as it’s done in the two previous examples. When you go out you often choose between going to the movies or to take a swim. Or you go first to the restaurant and then to cinema.
Idea generation workshops ideas
We could imagine a simple brainstorming workshop based on this previous idea. Participants first write on each card or post-it a service. Then they randomly pick up two and have to imagine how they can combine them. From there they can imagine scenarios. The same goes for the first idea of creating services that allow what is forbidden. Workshop attendees would write for one service all the things you are not allowed to do. Then they have to pick one of the cards and imagine what the service would be like.