How does value co-creation go about in the UX design industry? In this post I would like to discuss this topic, inspired mainly by Grönroos and Voima (2012). As in my last post I would like to mention the underlying problematic characteristics of the UX design industry. In this post I will define the UX industry as the part of it that actually embrace the service logic perspective. That is, people that call themselves UX designers but are not concerned with user research and user involved design processes are not included in the definition of UX designer in this post. Concerning the problem om multiple concurrent service delivery I would say that also in this discussion is it important to separate the B2C service from the B2B service.
In the B2C service process I would say that UX designers generally are good at having the intention to co-create value with the customers. We see it as one of our main tasks within the team to include customers (users) in the design process (the provider sphere), and so making the joint sphere larger. And we always argue for the importance of user research, which essentially is about getting into the customer sphere. Unfortunately it is my impression that the industry is better talking about it than actually doing it. When I meet my old study buddies from the university at various UX meetups it is usually a lot of talk about how much more we would like to do. Some of us are blessed with actually getting free hands to do what we want. But many are trapped in an organization that does not embrace the service logic perspective, and thus are not allowed to work with all this.
So how can we work better with value co-creation in the B2C process? Well, if it is the organization that traps us, then it might be because we’re not working so well with value co-creation in the B2B process? How many UX designers haven’t seen a lot of really good user research material just be put aside in some folder deep down in the overfilled file directories of large projects? No one, not even the designer herself will know where that data is. So why does the customer organization not use the potential value that we put into our deliverables? Maybe they didn’t understand our value propositions? Maybe we didn’t invite them to co-create value in our provider sphere? That is, the provider sphere of providing UX design as a service to the client organization.
I think that it is fundamental for us to understand how to better co-create value within the B2B process. We need to do user research on the customers that user our service, and we need to invite them into our sphere for creating better services for them. A survey at the end of a project is not good enough. Just as a survey of how much a consumer likes a certain service is not enough.
Grönroos, C. and Voima, P. (2012), “Critical service logic: Making sense of value creation and co-creation”, Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, Vol. 41 No. 2, pp. 133-150. Avaialable at http://www.researchgate.net/publication/256395545_Critical_Service_Logic_Making_Sense_of_Value_Creation_and_Co-creation/file/504635232cc76f395a.pdf.