How can smart technology work for the new concept of fast-food?

A service design workshop fixing real problems in real time


At this year’s Prague International Advertising Festival, we took a challenging task to showcase the value of service design - twice in two days. On the first day, we had the main stage for two hours. Instead of theorizing about what service design is and what it means for businesses, we decided to bring real clients and try to solve a real issue for the product/brand. In real time and in front of the audience. 

As you can imagine this was quite risky as most clients would rather skip talking about their brand’s problems publicly. However, we managed to get a client bold enough thanks to Nydrle Digital on whose behalf we held the workshop. The client under the working name “Mike’s Burger” is aiming to bring some fresh ideas to the fast-food scene in the Czech Republic. They wanted to know how smart technology can work for the new concept of fast-food and agreed to put this question on the agenda of our workshop.

Now, to understand the challenge, imagine 70 people in the audience. Most of them knew next to nothing about the methods of service design. Only a few had any clue about the fast-food concept in case. The time available was exactly two hours, ticking away as we appeared on the stage. 

However, in February 2014 we conducted an ethnographic research focused on eating habits and perception of fast-food in the Czech Republic. Based on the research, we created two personas whose main insights, needs, expectations and barriers we presented at the workshop. We chose experience mapping as a tool to apply the insights throughout the customer journey, while identifying critical points of interaction and defining opportunity areas. 

We divided around 30 participants into two groups, each of them following the journey of one persona. Starting from the real insights of the personas, each group created scenarios how the persona would interact with the brand, which channels she might use, how the persona thinks and feels during the process. During this process we were able to figure out the concrete points where the interaction between the customer and the brand could break, which in turn helped us to identify where the opportunities laid. 

Having to move fast, we chose the most appealing and relevant possibilities and started brainstorming on solutions. We divided initial two groups into teams of 5-6 people who generated many attractive ideas and dismissed most of them until they decided to go with the one which addressed the relevant needs of the persona and that was at the same time viable and feasible. 


First imagine, then build it

Each team presented their idea and immediately started rapid prototyping. Eventually, after only about an hour and a half of work, “Mike’s Burger” was presented with 6 useful ideas how to apply smart technologies to their fast-food concept.

Our session was a crash course in service design, going from the initial research to experience mapping, ideation and prototyping. The audience was engaged, curious and creative and the client was happy to see the effect of a multi-disciplinary talent, led through the organized method of service design and leveraged for creating multiple solutions to his problem. And all of that in just two hours. Imagine what we can do in 52.