Services account for more than 80 percent of the U.S. GDP and more than 80 percent of the U.S. labor force works in service industries. Despite the sector’s dominance – and the importance of innovation in any market – innovations that radically redefine service delivery are relatively rare. According to a recent Harvard Business Review article, service-centric organizations must overcome the “that’s not how we do it” and “our clients don’t expect that” mentality.
The challenge, according to strategy and innovation expert Elizabeth Teisberg, a professor of the Dartmouth Center for Health Care Delivery Science, and co-authors Kamalini Ramdas and Amy Tucker, is to “give managers a systematic way to question basic assumptions about how a service is defined and delivered, and to see the opportunity to achieve dramatically better results.” It’s possible, for example, that a doctor can treat more than one patient at a time.
The authors, who spent four years tracking innovations in health care and finance, two sectors that have substantially redefined service delivery, offer organizations “Four Ways to Reinvent Service Delivery”:
- Structure of the interaction: clients sharing service with others or multiple providers coordinating closely to deliver it
- The service boundary: integrating complementary services to enhance client access
- Allocation of tasks: aligning expertise with responsibilities for delivering the service
- Delivery location: improving accessibility and outcomes, defined by clients’ needs
Delivering great service is critical for most companies, yet remains one of the most challenging initiatives to achieve successfully. This emerging service model is designed to help organizations discover new efficiencies, solve problems and innovate to create value for them and their customers.
Elizabeth Teisberg, Ph.D., is a senior institute associate at Harvard’s Institute for Strategy and Competitiveness, and a professor of community and family medicine at Dartmouth’s Geisel School of Medicine. With her deep background in strategy and innovation, her work centers largely on value creation and its integral role in improving competitiveness. She collaborates closely with renowned authority on competitive strategy Michael Porter. Together they have co-authored five publications including Redefining Health Care: Creating Value-Based Competition on Results (Harvard Business School Press).