When it comes to establishing, or defining, a business or organisation, the obvious place to start is to think about what it wants to deliver, how it fills a gap in the market, and what its purpose is.
The everyday decision-making processes, however - in terms of delivering objectives through dozens, hundreds or thousands of people - is when you need to consider the service model that shapes your business.
Whereas a business model outlines what a business is aiming to achieve, a service model should aim to establish how decisions are made.
The first step is to create the service model itself, which often means asking yourself fundamental questions about your business:
What outcomes do you want to achieve?
What is your vision?
How will you measure success?
How do your principles and ethics affect decision-making?
How can you actually turn your ideas into reality?
Once you have answered these initial questions, you can focus your work around a service model, so that you can deliver services without straying away from your core objectives.
An efficient means of testing design services is to use a hypothesis-themed approach.
Establish the services you want to offer, and then use your model to establish the decision-making process and who would be involved in the product journey.
By testing how you would carry out simpler services, you then have a base for how you would tackle the more complex issues - mapping out potential scenarios to see how you would use your service model to cope with such events.
Another important factor to consider is how you would measure success in dealing with your hypothetical situations, and how that feeds back to your employees and customers.
You can also develop prototypes to test your model.
In time, you will establish patterns during your decision-making process. This can then be used to scale up your operations.
Scaling up an operation involves starting “small” - ensuring that what you are doing works - and then looking to introduce this into new areas of your business; adding more services to what you do, or introducing your existing services into different locations.
Many successful companies began with a simple idea, and then expanded this learning into different areas. Conversely, introducing complexity from the outset can often lead to failure.
Ensuring your service model is flexible, and can adapt to unknowns and potential threats - a global pandemic, for example.
With a robust service model in place, there is a mechanism to ensure that everything you do still remains true to your core objectives, even if certain services or sectors you work with change over time.
Growing your operations isn’t just about adding more staff to your roster, or completing more work. It’s about establishing the best way to deploy your staff so that you can create, test and scale the design of your digital services to best suit your organisation’s circumstances.