Notes on Jim Kalbach’s Practical Service Design Webinar

(The 10/20/16 webinar was hosted by’s Erik Flowers and Megan Erin Miller, link here)

Jim starts off by giving a quick history of service design thinking and recommends some books so check out the first 10m of the video

Jobs To Be Done mark progress towards a customer goal—people are goal-driven actors

  • It’s beyond demographics-not customers by age group etc
  • Not solutions-jobs might not change over decades  (people want to call each other) but the solutions do (party lines, rotary phones, flip phones, smartphones)
  • Show causality-people don’t buy drills because they want to drill but because they need holes
  • Why people “hire” your product or services-why your product over other choices? How does the product get me closer to my goal?

Jim has devised a new way to look at the anatomy of JTBD:


Note there are circumstances which are impacted by 2 dimensions, emotional and social

His example: how to hire a keyless lock

  • Functional job: Control access to my home (you may have to solve the functional job before you can figure out the next two jobs, opinions vary)
  • Emotional jobs: Feel secure that home is safe
  • Social jobs: Let visitors in, keep strangers out
  • Situation: Home owners want to let people into their houses when they aren’t there (like the cable guy)
  • Motivation: Solve the problem of selective access and scheduling visits
  • Desired outcome:
    • Maximize options for entry/exit
    • Reduce chance of intruders
    • Increase sense of security

For desired outcomes, Tony Ulwick identified a helpful way to formulate them so they are quantifiable:


So write your desired outcomes, then survey people to help identify which ones have the highest importance but lowest current satisfaction:


Tony Ulwick uses JTBDs to create personas—they aren’t mutually exclusive


  1. Understand the market
    • Focus on interviews, mapping exercises, existing customer feedback, mental models etc
  2. Design for the market
    • Create job stories
    • Screen Shot 2016-10-23 at 9.50.34 PM.png
  3. Speak to the market correctly
    • “Find photos on your computer with less effort,” not “our automated photo indexing is the best…”
  4. (Re)define the market
    • When Intuit decided to create online tax software, they realized their competitor wasn’t another software company but the pencil—their product had to be easier to use than the pencil

Aside: Experience mapping can include JTBD (the jobs are along the top gray bar):

Screen Shot 2016-10-23 at 9.45.24 PM.png


About Jim (from his site): I am currently the Head of Customer Success at MURAL. Previously, I worked in various design-related consulting roles for large companies, such as eBay, Audi, SONY, Elsevier Science, LexisNexis, and Citrix.

Before moving back to the US in 2013 after living for fifteen years in Germany, I was the co-founder of the European Information Architecture conferences. I also founded the IA Konferenz, a leading UX design event in Germany.

For many years, I was an editor with Boxes and Arrows, a leading online journal for user experience information. I also served on the advisory board of the Information Architecture Institute in 2007 and 2005.

About Erik (from their site): Co-founder of Practical Service Design
Principal Service Designer / Design Engineer at Intuit

Erik Flowers is a Principal Service Experience Designer at Intuit, a financial services company and maker of TurboTax, Mint, and QuickBooks. Through the lens of modern service design, he is re-envisioning customer experiences across Intuit’s diverse ecosystem, building the capability throughout the company to look at experiences from end-to-end and surface-to-core.

Erik is a multidisciplinary designer and developer, having spent over 20 years working with the web and technology in countless environments and contexts, from freelancing, to small businesses, startups, and large corporations.

About Megan: Co-founder of Practical Service Design
Senior Service Designer at Stanford University.

Megan Miller is a Senior Service Designer for Stanford University’s central IT organization, where she works to design seamless and quality customer experiences for clients across the university. Through her work, she is building momentum around service design, and has co-founded a community of practice for service design at Stanford.

Megan has a broad range of design experience, including brand, identity, visual, user experience, product, and service design. An evangelist of conscious experience design, Megan presents and leads workshops to raise awareness and capacity for design thinking in the campus community.



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