Stakeholder involvement in the new service design process: STAKEHOLDERS IN THE DESIGN PROCESS

Fischbacher and Francis, describe a model of design that acknowledges the involvement of many stakeholders at three levels: macro, meso, and micro. These reflect the corporate/organisational, departmental, and team/individual/product level respectively. As the level of detail shifts from the macro level to individual (micro) product design, the stakeholder perspective moves from the outer to the inner organisational environment. The conflicting expectations and objectives of stakeholder groups have been examined by a number of authors and the need to reconcile these differences in the design process is apparent. Recognition of stakeholder conflict in the service quality literature largely focuses on the potential for staff/management conflict or emphasises that management commitment to service quality may be affected by resource constraints and a short-term profit orientation. , Since the product development teams within NPDD are most responsible for design at the micro level, stakeholder analysis is undertaken from their perspective.

Relationships within the NPDD

As discussed earlier, the NPDD incorporates two sections: product development and market analysis. Interviewees in the latter perceived their role, in terms of product design, to be one of information gathering, provision of some ideas and facilitating service development. At present, the product teams request work from market analysis, a relationship that the latter is seeking to reverse:

‘At the moment products from my point of view, tend to be ideas generated from within the product team which are then supported, or not supported, by data that we provide whereas we would like to turn it around and provide the data that actually inspires the ideas for the gaps in the market.’

The two sections exhibited very different cultures reflecting the background and experience of those employed. The product team was staffed by those with experience of the banking industry, and who produced most of the new product ideas. The market analysis section, however, brought in new staff from marketing and management consultancy backgrounds. The belief was that bringing together banking and marketing staff would produce a synergy of skills and experience as described below:

‘When [NPDD] was set up it was perceived that there would be two groups of people . . . the product managers . . . they’re almost like the brand managers in a typical FMCG company, they have responsibility for the total product portfolio, for identifying gaps in the market, developing products, launching the products. They’re managing the whole portfolio to attract success or whatever. The product managers are bankers. They are people who’ve come up through the banking system. They know the banking system [and] . . . the banking products . .. inside out. What they maybe don’t have is the marketing planning expertise, so it was felt that to help them do their jobs there would be a separate group of people with complementary skills . .. most . .. have come in from outside so we’ve got expertise in market research, market planning, statistics, data modelling. We are computer literate technical marketeers. One of the other things that we looked at, when we were recruiting people, was that they had to be good communicators. Quite often we will be taking quite complex propositions or methodologies or ideas and maybe have to explain that to people who are not necessarily au fait with the terminology.’

Figure 1 Stakeholders in the NPD/Design Process

One source of potential conflict has already been described, in terms of perceptions of what should drive product development, ie product ideas or customer information; others were the traditional banking view that a good product will sell itself, and the concern with costs and the ‘bottom line’. Two interviewees spoke of the new marketing language that was beginning to permeate the department, but pointed out that when talking to the Executive, such language should be discarded in favour of banking terminology because of some unease with marketing jargon and philosophies.

In addition to the NPDD, there are other internal and external stakeholders (see Figure 1).

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