Stakeholders Part 1: Services Versus Products

What is a service if not a collection of people interacting with each other for some purpose? The difference between a service and a product are the stakeholders involved. The stakeholders include everyone who is affected (positively or negatively) by a service.

Products in the digital world are usually apps, websites, games, though they can also be physical products as well. For the most part, a user interacts with the product with little input by the company or other employees. Your entire focus is on making something that will work for the user.

A service, on the other hand, involves a lot more people. If you’re working on a service that the user is involved in, then you’re ultimate goal is to create something that will work for the user, sure. But if none of the other service stakeholders are happy with that service, then it will ultimately fail. That’s why we have service design as a service-specific branch of design thinking.

And if you’re working on an internal service, you still have to think about the motivations of everyone involved. Read more about how to balance these motivations in Stakeholders Part 2: A Motivation Balancing Act.

Services Versus Products Takeaways

  1. Services have more stakeholders- people who interact with the service or are impacted by it.
  2. Stakeholders involve people who provide the service as well as those who use it/benefit from it.
  3. If the stakeholders aren’t all happy, then the service fails.

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