The digital effect you didn't notice
As you sit down to read this blog post on your chosen device with perhaps some coffee and some music in your ears, just pause for a minute and think about how much the world has changed. Not in the past 50 years, in the past 5 years.
Did you pay for that coffee with your phone? Was the song you're listening to selected for you by Spotify? Are you, perhaps, commuting using Waze to help you navigate the most efficient trip? Your answers may be no, but you have to admit it's a yes, yes, and yes for millions of people around the world.
The widespread use of smartphones, access to the internet, GPS coordination and a few other small technological changes have impacted our day-to-day lives in big ways. In many instances where we used to use products, we now use services instead. I'm not talking about the death of movie rentals and music shops - it's even become uncool to listen to your own collection of mp3s in the face of Spotify's superior playlisting skills.
Services like Netflix, Apple Pay, Lyft, Amazon, Duo Lingo, and many more have become so user friendly and made certain tasks like travel, shopping and even learning a language easier and more convenient than ever before. They've done this so well that people would rather pay a monthly subscription for Netflix than go through the hassle of illegally downloading movies for free.
Technology has helped businesses get more efficient at meeting a customers' needs. As Theodore Levitt said, people don't want to buy a quarter-inch drill, they want a quarter inch hole in their wall. Now, you don't have to buy a drill, or even rent one - you can use Task Rabbit to get someone else to drill a hole in your wall.
As the world becomes more digital, it's going to become more service orientated. For businesses, it's a case of adapt or die.
If you find this stuff as fascinating as we do, you might like our brand new course on Service Design from Thomas Cornwall. Find out about it here.
It's worth learning about for anyone in business, because designing better experiences has become infinitely more important than making slightly better things.