Service innovation through touch-points: development of an innovation toolkit for the first stages of New Service Development
This paper reviews one of the central areas of service design, the area of touch-point innovation. Specifically, it describes the development and use of a card-based toolkit developed in the AT-ONE project – the AT-ONE touch-point cards. These cards have been developed to assist cross-functional teams during the first phases of the New Service Development (NSD) process. This paper describes and analyses the development of the tools, their intended use and their evaluation following actual uptake by several commercial service providers. The results show that the toolkit assists the innovation process during the first phases of the new service development process and helps develop team cohesiveness. The card-based approach offers a tangibility that teams find useful, and that offers multiple usage alternatives. In addition, the paper describes the multiple functions that tools used in service innovation need to accommodate, and how design makes an important contribution to this. The work also reflects upon the materials of service design and suggests that touch-points are one of the materials used by designers to understand, explore and develop innovative service solutions. Suggestions for further work are included that include aspects of toolkit tangibility, usage areas and touch-point innovation.