Academy Xi Blog

How a Jobs To Be Done Framework Can Help

By Academy Xi

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Every product or service bought or consumed has a need, a purpose or a ‘job’ that it is ‘hired’ to fulfil. Even a milkshake has a ‘job to be done’. The ‘jobs to be done’ framework is a Service Design tool that helps uncover a customer’s functional, social, personal, and emotional needs that a product or service can fulfil.

The ‘jobs to be done’ framework:

In his book, Competing Against Luck, Clayton Christensen explains the concept of ‘jobs to be done’ with the example of a McDonald’s store that was looking to improve their milkshake sales. After testing various components of the recipe and store experience, milkshake sales remained unchanged. Christensen’s team observed the lifestyle, interactions and consumption choices of every consumer that purchased a milkshake, and discovered:

  • Over half of all milkshakes were purchased before 8:30 am
  • Consumers who purchased milkshakes were alone
  • Consumers always got into a car and drove off after a milkshake purchase

After customer interviews, Christensen’s team uncovered that people who purchased milkshakes did so to keep them occupied during a long morning commute to work, or to keep full until lunchtime.

This simple insight was a game changer. Christensen explains that the milkshake had a specific ‘job to be done’: cure boredom and provide sustenance during a mundane morning commute. It was for this reason that customers ‘hired’ a McDonald’s milkshake and from the customer’s point of view, it was a job that a bagel, banana or other alternatives could not fulfil.  

There is a job out there that arises in people’s life on occasion, that causes them to need to buy a milkshake, and we need to understand this job,” explained Christensen.

You can only understand how to improve the marketing of a product or service when you understand the job that needs to be done.

What are the benefits of jobs to be done?  

Ultimately, the goal of uncovering a user’s ‘job to be done’ is to create, promote or innovative a product or service to fulfil a ‘job’ for a customer. The benefits of understanding a customer’s job to be done include:

  • Delivering true customer value: By identifying a customer’s ‘job to be done’, Service Designers are better placed to deliver value. For example, the desire to eat healthier is often inhibited by convenience and a time-poor environment, meaning more people are likely to get takeout. Making healthier food more convenient and cheaper to access has huge appeal and solves multiple pain points. By exploring a customer’s job to be done, Service Designers are able to adopt a needs-first approach and tailor the best solution that addresses customer pain points.
  • Prioritisation of tasks: With an understanding of a customer’s needs, the ‘jobs to be done’ framework can help prioritise the tasks that deliver the greatest value, such as through the creation of a Minimum Viable Product (MVP).
  • Reducing waste: Rather than creating ‘perfect’ features, identifying a customer’s ‘job to be done’ removes the production of anything that does not align to a customer’s core needs, and is therefore wastage. 
  • Aligning business functions to a single cause: A customer’s ‘job to be done’ forms a product roadmap that can be used to align the marketing, development, and research into building these solutions to systematically create value, as you tackle customer’s needs.

Understanding a customer’s ‘job to done’ is extremely valuable for Service Designers to understand the true function of a product or service. Expand your toolkit and learn more about Service Design here.

Academy Xi Blog

From Architect to Service Designer at Qantas

By Academy Xi

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Students of Xi: Meet Tobias

Tobias Robinson decided to leave the comfort of his job as an Architect to enter the world of Service Design — an industry that had only recently popped up on his radar.

“When I found Service Design, I started asking questions as I didn’t know what it was. The more I delved into that world, the more excited I became,” recalls Tobias.

Before Tobias found Service Design, he felt trapped in the slow pace of Architecture. “Most Architects will say they’re the most highly skilled, underpaid people. And it’s true, but for me, money wasn’t the chief motivator — it was also the pace of the industry.”

Instead of staying in a job that failed to satisfy and bring him fulfillment, Tobias went out in search of a new field, industry, and career. He landed at Academy Xi and took both the part-time Service Design (SD) course and the full-time User Experience Design (UX) course.

At first, Tobias replaced his nine-to-five job as an Architect with a full-time UX course — essentially comprising the same hours as a full-time job for 10 weeks. Throughout the course, students were exposed to other fields of design that utilise the skills of UX. One of these fields was Service Design. Tobias became interested in learning more about this field and delved straight into the SD part-time course, two evenings a week, at the same time as continuing the UX Transform full-time course!

The exposure of two different fields, the overlap of skills, and the insights of multiple instructors created the perfect storm of experience. This experience, led by a determined motivation to learn and dive into new industries, would lead Tobias down the path needed to meet the right employer.

During the Service Design course, Tobias worked on a real-life project with Qantas. All of the students in the course focused on the service design of baggage handling: a project that was both complex and intensive, providing the perfect learning environment for deploying Service Design skills.

While working with designers at Qantas, Tobias was headhunted for a newly launched airline project. Qantas was on the lookout for someone with skills in Service Design and problem-solving to help them launch their in-flight connectivity service — essentially their new Wi-Fi offering, and Tobias seemed to fit the bill perfectly.

Tobias had always dreamed of working in the airline industry; it’s not only a glamourous industry, but it’s customer-centric at its core. “Airlines have a way of fostering skills and staff, which is not something that many corporations get right. There’s a lot of business-to-business work that goes on in Qantas, but at the end of the day, the touch point is the customer,” he explains. He started working officially for Qantas after [the UX/SD course ended] and was thrilled at the immediate opportunity available ahead of him.

In his new role as Service Design Business Analyst at Qantas, Tobias spends more than half of his time talking to people, whether they be customers trialing the MVP or engineers working on the service.

“It’s engaging with people, it’s coordinating people, and it’s knowing the right questions to ask,” explains Tobias.

On explaining the what-if scenarios, Tobias admits that if he didn’t have the courage to make the leap into Service Design, he would be stuck in an industry that just wasn’t for him.

“I would be very slowly chugging away at a career in architecture that presented a much narrower scope. There are a lot of amazing architects who really enjoy doing very particular things, but that was never me.”

And all of his hard work has led here: to a new job in his new industry, almost immediately after his investment of hard work and dedicated learning time. Reflecting back on his journey, Tobias smiles: “Working on real industry projects at Academy Xi has set me up for working as a Service Designer at Qantas.”


If you’re like Tobias and are stuck in a career that’s not the right fit, make the change today and transition into a role that’s challenging, exciting, ever-changing. Learn more about our Service Design course and how you can transform your career.

Academy Xi Blog

What is Service Design?

By Academy Xi

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Human-Centred Design continues to revolutionise the way services and products are designed and delivered. Businesses are expected to provide relevant and seamless experiences, a one-way monologue with the customer no longer resonates. Instead, businesses are encouraged to engage in conversation with their consumers to understand their needs and desires. This shift in user-centred thinking empowers businesses to deliver thoughtful, relevant, and useful experiences resulting in the growing demand for Service Designers.

What is Service Design?

Service Design was first introduced at the Köln International School of Design in 1991 as a process to help create and improve the delivery and the experience of a service.

The aim of Service Design is to consider the holistic experience of a user and ensure the experience is useful, usable, and desirable for customers as well as effective and profitable for organisations.

When we talk about Service Design, it’s hard to look past Apple — many of us can still recall Steve Jobs unveiling the first iPhone in 2007. But, besides revolutionising the mobile phone industry, the introduction of iTunes disrupted our everyday interactions, providing users with a seamless way to download and listen to new music. 

The service ecosystem

A service ecosystem maps the people, touchpoints, and connections with a focus on visualising the relationships and contexts of the broader service system. It is a method for identifying, understanding, and describing how key areas of the service, the 5Ps (people, product, place, process, and performance) interconnect.

To understand the end-to-end service ecosystem, some key considerations include:

  • What are all the touchpoints that players in the Service Experience see or use? This is also known as what is seen above the ‘Line of Visibility’.
  • How do customer tasks link to each touchpoint?
  • What influences a customer or end user’s actions?

The benefits of Service Design

The advantage of Service Design lies in its holistic process, that aims to design a seamless and effortless solution for customers. Service Designers understand that delivering a great service is not only dependent on the service itself, but on the experience of the people delivering that service. In this way, Service Designers ensure that the overall experience is consistent and easily understandable, with little to no friction for the customer between touchpoints.

The 5 Ps of Service Design

The discipline of Service Design considers the expectations and needs of its people, processes, places, products, and performances, to deliver exceptional services.

  • People: Service Design considers everyone’s experience including employees, customers, and partners.
  • Processes: The systems, policies, workflows, and operations within a service ecosystem affect parts of the user experience.  
  • Places: Service Designers consider physical and digital touchpoints and environments that can deliver an experience of a service.
  • Products: The tangible objects and collateral used to inform or deliver a service, such as signs and brochures can also affect a user’s experience.
  • Performance: Service Design is also considerate of intangible metrics that contribute to the quality of a service.

Service Design is a new and integrative field that creates fresh possibilities for businesses to reach their customers. Here are some examples of the brands that are leading the way in Service Design:

Examples of exceptional Service Design:

Airbnb: Before Airbnb, accommodation choices were limited. Airbnb was initially created for business travellers, but the platform was extended to travellers across 190 countries. Today, Airbnb specialises in providing personalised recommendations and experiences that match the customer’s desires and emotions.

Through a process of storyboarding the customer’s emotional moments, Airbnb began to understand the pain points of a traveller’s journey and made it a priority to create an experience that matches the customer’s desire. If you’ve booked accommodation through Airbnb, you’ll notice how seamless the interaction is from search listing, to messaging your host, through to landing at the airport and finding your accommodation, to returning home and leaving a review. Airbnb’s Head of Global Hospitality and Strategy, Chip Conley, says that the experience of staying in an Airbnb is at the core of the company’s customer strategy. But with options to browse a variety of art, food and nature-based activities, Airbnb also weaves its platform into a traveller’s itinerary and experience.

IKEA: Beyond providing simplistic, stylish, and affordable furniture, global Swedish furniture company IKEA is also known for their exceptional Service Design. From the layout to the store, to linking their website directly to the specific aisle and item number, consumers are able to promptly and easily identify items that they’re looking to purchase. 

In-store maps make it easy to identify exactly where you are, and large store bags assist consumers with purchases. More than buying a new table or bed frame, a person’s IKEA experience can’t look past the cafeteria, where shoppers are able to eat inexpensive meals and take a break from their shopping endeavours. From the first touchpoint, until someone leaves their store or gets an item delivered, IKEA has worked to co-design their customer experience to consider all of their users’ needs.

Starbucks: During the Global Financial Crisis, Starbucks saw a close of over 70% of its Australian stores. But Starbucks began resurfacing its physical footprint across the CBD and department stores in Australia – the land of many self-proclaimed coffee snobs. So what is it about Starbucks that had people coming back?

Some key design considerations that have kept customers coming back and established Starbucks as an international coffee hub include:

  • Friendly staff that cheer up customers making it less about purchasing a coffee, but spending time in a comfortable environment
  • Offering free wifi making it a prime location to work, have meetings, or connect with others
  • Informative and decorated menu boards that fit the entire concept of delivering unique coffee

How you can design an exceptional service experience?

Crafting exceptional service experiences isn’t just reserved for large companies such as the Airbnbs or Starbucks of the world.

Whether you’re working within a large organisation, small agency, or working on your own project, you can employ different tools to foster two-way communication and get to the heart of what your customers want.  

Find out how you can harness the Service Design power to deliver delightful, exceptional experiences through our range of courses here.

Academy Xi Blog

What is a Stakeholder Map?

By Academy Xi

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Stakeholder maps are an empathetic tool that enables Service Designers to gain valuable insights into how a customer feels throughout an entire service experience. As a ‘record of events’, stakeholder maps capture the interactions a customer has at different touchpoints of a service and will help break down the complexity of everyday interactions.

Stakeholder maps also draw attention to the quality of a service (QOS), which is powerful for a business’ analysis of their competitiveness against other brands or alternative services within a market. For example, within the education system, a parent’s interaction with teachers or the school principal forms part of the overall experience and a stakeholder map can assist the school identify how to improve the interaction.

The value of a stakeholder map for any organisation includes:

  • Providing a holistic view of key stakeholders and customer relationships
  • Highlighting communication and contact between the design of a service and its stakeholders
  • Identifying gaps in knowledge and resistance within the service experience
  • Creating opportunities to work with key people in the business to improve the overall service
  • Assisting the creation of comprehensive solutions by involving stakeholders into the service solution

What does a stakeholder map look like?

Stakeholder maps can contain anywhere between one to four layers, with each layer denoting a different level of influence over a service experience (known as the ‘circle of influence’):

Stakeholders in the outer layers of a stakeholder map hold less power and influence and are generally the interested parties. In the middle layers of a stakeholder map, the represented stakeholders hold moderate power and are generally influenced by the service outcome. These people can include the end users.

Stakeholders in the third or closest layer are sponsors, executives, or subject matter experts (SMEs) who interact closely with a product or service and can directly affect its outcome.

How to create a stakeholder map


In the initial stage of stakeholder mapping, begin by identifying anyone who could affect, influence, or be interested in the outcome of service. Common examples of stakeholders include employees, managers, contractors, partners, suppliers, and vendors. Key considerations for the ‘definition’ stage of a stakeholder map are:

  • Identify key knowledge gaps in a service, and what needs to be uncovered
  • Create a stockist of key resources both internally and externally
  • Seek clients or customers to answer questions that are unknown
  • Map out who is currently involved in a service and start to connect the relationship between different players
  • Craft an organisational chart that visualises and conceptualises a client or customer’s stakeholders
  • Highlight past projects that may relate to the outcome of this project if this client is a repeat customer


The saying that “not all stakeholders are created the same” rings true in the second phase of creating a stakeholder map. This step is concerned with determining the influence and power of each stakeholder.

The influence of a stakeholder can be categorised as:

  • A decision-maker
  • Visible
  • Behind the scenes (behind the line of visibility)
  • An interested party

Another question Service Designers should ask through this phase is, “What and who do these stakeholders directly influence?”

Continuing the example of a school, a key decision maker may include the Student Council that is actively engaged in the school’s ecosystem. The Student Council body has power and influence over some decisions; but an interested party may be the local council or community who keep the school’s activities on their radar but are not directly affected by any of its decisions.


Planning a stakeholder map is often the longest but most important step. In this phase, your role is to determine what needs to be discovered about the key stakeholders and players of a service.

Dependent on the information available about a service experience and how different stakeholders interact, the amount of time spent conducting research on stakeholders will come in the form of:

  • One-on-one interviews
  • Contextual inquiries
  • Research design kits
  • Service safaris


After defining, analysing, and planning how each stakeholder interacts and fits into a service, the final step of creating a stakeholder map involves physically engaging with stakeholders. This step is aimed at uncovering gaps in a service and addressing any critical problems that exist within that service.

Some things to keep in mind include:

  • What are the objectives or drivers of different stakeholders in a service?
  • Who has power and high invested interest in the direct outcome of a service experience?
  • Are there any ‘silent players’ who don’t necessarily have a presence but could strongly affect a service?
  • What are the communication styles and mediums that these stakeholders like being contacted in?
  • How do you frame your messaging to these stakeholders to ensure successful collaboration but to also solve a problem for customers?

The best method to conduct a stakeholder map is through collaboration. While working with a team, you can conduct a workshop to construct a stakeholder map. In this session, it’s vital to have a lead to navigate and direct the group in a way that enables the most efficient and effective capture of information.

Identify a list of items that need to be re-addressed at a later stage, and collect information in clusters. This stakeholder workshop should involve plenty of post-its and participants should be encouraged to draw lines of connections, highlight pain points, and actively voice different challenges throughout the process.

Learn how you can utilise stakeholder maps as a vital tool to create customised, user-centric service experiences through our Service Design courses.