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What are the new paradigms for services?
What is the perfect merge between physical and digital experiences?

Not so long ago when buying goods or services, the only way of exchanging value was through money – physical money. Making a dinner reservation meant talking in person with someone. Urban transportation meant having a car or a bike. But what we have been seeing is very different from that. No-one thinks about the possibility of interacting only physically or digitally in exclusion. It seems obvious, but we say that there are two worlds – a digital and a physical one, but in practice, there’s only one world, where these two mediums co-exist. These two worlds have collided, and now it’s about time to design experiences and services that embrace the two mediums and create an unified and complementary experience.

Think about Nintendo Switch and Nintendo Labo where they craftily integrated play into a complimentary and evolutive gaming experience.

Another example is the north-american Pill Pack. Pill Pack is “a full-service pharmacy that sorts your medication by the dose and delivers to your door.” In this case medicine is seen almost as infrastructure and value is created with the smart dosages and the subscription model.  

These two very different cases show us two significant shifts when it comes to designing services and value nowadays:

  1. No more divide: We’re living a physi-digi world

While a lot has been said about digital transformation, we’re not discussing enough the notion that nowadays every product, service or organisation needs to act digitally and physically. The distinction between the “physical” and the “digital” world as two separate things is becoming more and more blurred.

If the divide between physical and digital products and services do not exist anymore, digital and physical experiences are every day more integrated or at least, we expect them to be.

  1. Products are seen as infrastructure

“In Evolving to a New Dominant Logic for Marketing, Stephen L. Vargo and Robert F. Lusch describe a new paradigm they call service-dominant logic, a fundamental shift in worldview and orientation toward marketing as a social process, where products are not ends in themselves but means for provisioning services, the customer is seen as a co-producer, and knowledge is the source of competitive advantage.”

Source: Medium – Dave Gray  

In the service-dominant logic, a product can be considered a physical manifestation of a service or set of services: a service is an avatar.

Products began to be seen as cost, and service as value creation and, with that, tangibles are becoming infrastructure. What it means is that your asset might no longer be where your customers perceive value anymore.

In summary, if you’re thinking about designing a new service or experience, a simple blueprint won’t be sufficient if you’re not thinking about the unique value generation in this new physi-digi world, where your product could already be perceived as a known infrastructure. For real value creation, we need to craft experiences that are human centred, service oriented and part of this unified world without a digital divide.  

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