Talking to Itziar Pobes and Marc García

Thanks to Itziar Pobes and Marc García from We question our project (@wequestion), we dig into happiness and Service Design for public services.

They shared with us that they don't talk about happiness, they talk about satisfaction. Even though it's not the same, it's connected somehow. They also talk about engagement, not only for end users but also for the people involved in the projects (internal participants of the organizations). In this conversation we discovered how Marc and Itziar work to create a path of engagement/happiness between themselves and the project, the client and the project, and the end users and the project.


Selected ideas and quotes

Personal happiness led us to Service Design in the public sector

We made a change 3 years ago, when we started "We question" to be happy with our work. -- Marc
Our previous work was frustrating. We were working on online environmental education projects for the public sector. The work we were doing was going nowhere. It was not about the quality of the work. It was about the purpose of the work. There was no impact on people's behaviours and no improvement after all the educational stuff. We reviewed work processes, and we understood that we wanted to participate in the early stage of projects: strategy and definition. And we wanted to work on public service projects. -- Itziar
We believe in working for public service. We don't want to do projects to sell more. We want to do projects for the greater good. -- Itziar & Marc

How you work for happiness

Our projects are based on working closely and collaboratively with our clients and end users. They need to be happy or in a positive mood during the project, especially during workshops and collaborative activities. They need to feel happy to participate. -- Itziar
Our projects are somehow based on happiness, because the goal is to improve something. And this makes people happy. --Marc
User eXperience (UX) focuses on the external participants or end users of the product/service. Customer eXperience (CX) focuses on all the channels of the product/service. Service Design (SD) explores how and offers tools to help the organisation focus on how to organise itself to deliver the experience everywhere (in and out). -- Itziar

Happiness as driver for improvement 

To improve how public organisations work to improve services for citizens can be painful projects. Part of our work is to minimise the people's suffering. -- Marc
In our projects, happiness is a driver for people to push changes.  -- Marc

The Dramatic Arc of projects

When we think about the project process, we think about the emotional rollercoaster. When there will be a downward trend in the mood, when we will need to push. -- Marc
We need to think about the project's process for the client and participants. We need to think about the sequence. It can't be high and WOW all the time. It's the same for the service that you are designing. Depending on the story that you want to transmit with your service, you need to adjust it. For example, there are some services that are there all your life (for example, the electric company), so it needs to be like a TV series. You can think about how to approach the service to make people look forward to the next event. So you plan the dramatic arc in the service and in the projects. -- Itziar
It also happens to us. We also feel pain. We are introducing a new field [Service Design]. So we try to manage the end user experience, the experience of the organisation, the client, and our experience. We think about the user journey for all of us. We design the process taking everyone into account. -- Marc & Itziar

Change, happiness and public administration

Frustration is a trigger to drive change. When people are frustrated and unhappy, they are motivated to join the project to become happy. -- Marc
In a company, when repeatedly something does not work, people can decide to leave. In a family business, people have -more or less- a job for life; so when they get frustrated, they bear with it and stay. In public administration the possibility of change is bigger. People have a job for life. So a service design project is about improving things. Many people in the organization recognize the possibility of working to make things better, and that makes people happy. -- Itziar

References and resources 

About the Dramatic Arc

Conversation facilitated by Silvia and Nicole on 30 JAN. 2015.