Service Design and Change Management: a dynamic duo for innovation

Portret Matilde
Written by
Matilde Cantinho
Digital Content Producer
Mar 15, 2023 . 6 mins read
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Change and transformation are not only necessary but intrinsically connected to innovation. Whether innovating from a customer experience perspective or internal processes and organisation, change needs to be well-designed and implemented. But that’s not all. For changes or innovations to be successful in the long term, the experience and management around them on an organisational level must also be tackled. Thus, this is where we experience the impactful effect of the affair between Service Design and Change Management. 

Be ready to dive into how powerful this dynamic duo can be to ensure a soft and efficient landing of change.

Service Design and Change Management disciplines


Service Design is the art of orchestrating and designing all components of a service to improve the customer experience. The service design mindset is valuable when facing strategic challenges, and drives transformation and innovation.

The basis of our work DNA is our Koos Approach, a design process thought on 4 main phases of Understand, Imagine, Create and Scale. If you’re interested in knowing more about our approach, go ahead and check this article!

On the other hand, Change Management is an enabling discipline for managing the people element of change. For change to be successful, we must prepare, equip and support individuals moving through changes so that they successfully adopt them.

Two sides, same coin


The two disciplines look at change and transformation from different perspectives. However, they both have coinciding approaches.

Let’s take a closer look at the correlation between the two.


1. Service Design & Change Management are human-centred

Both perspectives focus on humans, sometimes the end-user, others the stakeholder or the employee. Whether the topic is desirable experiences or whether it is internal communication or training, it is all based on listening and empathizing to uncover the real needs of the impacted people.


2. It’s about sustainable transformation

Also, the type that brings a positive influence on the world and society. And especially, the transformation that is meaningful and long-lasting to create true impact


3. With co-creation and inclusion ambitions

SD and CM have the principle of including all the relevant stakeholders from the early stages. Making sure every perspective is involved, so that the multidisciplinary teams have space to align and co-create the best path together.


Service Design and Change Management are two sides of the same coin.

While one drives and instigates positive change and transformation; the other supports it and enables the transition to an improved way of working that is future-proof.

As Koos, we are now trying to shine a light on the internal impact of innovation and adapting a customer-centric mindset.

Leveraging each others’ strengths


To create sustainable transformation, Service Design and Change Management are great allies.

There are several sparks that each discipline can provide to inspire one another. We will go through one particular insight from Service Design that can level up the Change Management method.


Solving the change curve dilemma

According to Kubler-Ross’ change curve, when reacting to change, people go through the stages of denial, frustration and depression, experimentation and, finally, integration. People are naturally resistant to change, it is normal. The comfort of the current way of doing things versus the uncertainty of the new.

The issue here is the fact that no one goes through the curve in the same way or at the same time. People will react differently to change and go through the different stages in varied ways. 

On top of that, the approach to people’s reactions can’t be duplicated. Two persons might be facing the frustration stage, both are having feelings of anger and fear. The approach should be listening and supporting. But how? There are various ways to do so and should be done based on real needs.

For this, you should know who are the different morphological personas you face and what are their needs to be able to approach them efficiently.

Koos would step in by empathizing on a behaviour level, identifying the existing tensions specific to the change in question and personas based on real needs. 

Aligning Service Design with Change Management


From our experience and collaborations, we have understood where this methodological combination can, and should, be applied for great impact:


Strategic or CX efforts

Creating great experiences for users has an impact on internal processes and ways of working. Including change management in the approach is crucial to make sure the internal impact is addressed.


Employee Experience

When improving the experience of the employees while working in your organization, make sure to share your insights with the change management professional and work together for future-proof outcomes. 


CX Transformation 

Transforming your organization to be CX mature, means redefining organizational structure and working on behaviour and beliefs. Partnering up with change management ensures the successful application and endurance of these changes.

A real-life example where Koos and Galp joined forces

 One of the examples where to provide a better customer experience, we had to work on both the internal process design and the change management was the project for Galp’s data team.  

Galp is on its journey to becoming a data-driven company capable of leveraging the value of data to create impact, drive business results and improve its customer service. However, when it comes to providing data to everyone in the organisation, there was a need for collaborative culture and alignment between all teams involved in data-related activities. 

 Having in mind the internal data-related processes and the struggles that data-related teams were facing to collaborate (which was negatively impacting the customer experience), Koos intervened to break silos and create an agreed internal process.


It is now clear how the two disciplines complemented each other well!

Service Design strengths helped to simplify the process, create feasible solutions and transition towards implementation by reaching an agreement between stakeholders in critical interactions. On the other hand, the power of Change Management enabled the outcomes to land the best way possible by ensuring the needed engagement, the proper communication, and the monitorisation of implementation within the organisation.

Curious to know more?

  • Take a longer dive into this project here
  • Join our Learn & Lunch webinar on Aligning Service Design and Change Management tomorrow

We’re always super excited about discussing subjects such as these, learning and sharing our thoughts. Reach out to us for a coffee!

Portret Matilde
Written by
Matilde Cantinho
Digital Content Producer
Mar 15, 2023 . 6 mins read
Share this article