See the video of our merger here.
We are very very happy and proud to announce that from the first of july 2016 Zilver innovation bv will become part of the Livework group. This is the story of why we decided to make this bold move:
10 years young!
In april of this year Zilver celebrated its 10th anniversary. In 10 years we grew to a team of 10 amazingly talented and wonderful people and developed a portfolio of great clients in the Netherlands and abroad. We spoke at conferences all over the world, contributed to the discourse in service design through the community and academia, learned more than we ever could have hoped for, and met some of the nicest people in the business. We proudly look back on 10 amazing years of relentlessly pursuing top quality in service design, brand driven innovation and customer experience. But as innovators and design thinkers we prefer to look ahead. What we see is a future with so many business opportunities and so many international service design challenges, that it would be a shame to go at it by ourselves.
How we met
Throughout these adventures we’ve always been partnering with likeminded spirits. Because we’ve never thought of Zilver as a goal in itself but rather as an open platform to enable talent to do great work for clients. We have had our doors open to freelancers, associates, fellow agencies, academia and consultants from other disciplines.
This open and collaborative spirit has taught us one thing: when you focus on your client’s outcomes the boundary of your agency is the least of your concerns.
In this spirit I sent Ben Reason, one of the founders of Livework, a message when I learned he was in Rotterdam for business. Ben and his company Livework have always been respected colleagues and good friends for Zilver, for their track record in service design, their professionalism and leadership, their view on the business and their great people.
So I texted: “are u up for a beer mate?” And the rest, as they say, is history.
The evening was spent talking shop with Ben and the two other Livework partners, Melvin and Lavrans. I had met Ben and Melvin before on several occasions. Usually at late night conference after-parties. And we always clicked. Lavrans I hadn’t met before but right from the start I felt he was a kindred spirit. We talked about the state of service design. The market in western Europe. The huge demand from clients looking for a professional, reliable and strategic service design partner. The internationalization of the business.
The ideal service design agency
After a few beers we started talking about what we thought the ideal service design agency should look like from a client’s perspective. We all agreed it should be solid as a rock, reliable, and international. But at the same time it should inspire and challenge through amazing creativity and unconventional thinking. It should put true human centered design at the heart of projects. But it should do so with a very firm eye on business outcomes.
Soon enough we were looking each other in the eye and saying, what the heck, why don’t we join forces and make our dreams come true? Rather than sticking to our own turf, let’s give our clients the agency they deserve. And let’s give our staff the opportunity to work internationally, with the best creative minds in the business, on the most challenging projects in service design!
The road ahead
We shared our plans and ambitions with our teams and got a lot of good feedback and ideas. From then on we’ve been co-creating the merging of our two companies into one. So as of july 1st 2016 we will let go of the Zilver brand and embrace the great Livework brand. Zilver will from now on be Livework Netherlands. Our teams are already working together and we’ve moved to Spaces Hofplein in Rotterdam to accommodate the group of 20 we will soon be.
Of course we are planning a grand opening party after the summer to celebrate our coming of age. But please drop by before that to join us for a very well deserved cappuccino. And please share your tips with us: what do you think the ideal service design agency should look like?
With love from the Zilverlings, henceforth to be known as Liveworkers, and a very big thank you to all our clients, partners, staff, students, suppliers and everyone who believed in us the past 10 years.
Erik, Fred, Sanne, Marit, Mark, Caroline, Linda, Anu, Merel, Alex and Ruddy.
Our new address is
Hofplein 20 – unit 7
3032 AC Rotterdam
Zilver’s training in customer centricity, service design and design thinking for organizations in transition
You know that customer centricity is key for organizations to remain relevant and deliver value. You’ve also understood that service design and design thinking may lead to very relevant, useful, innovative and effective results when it comes to customer experience innovation. But how exactly? What are the processes, methods and tools that will help you get the job done? What is the mindset and culture that is required for design thinking to prosper? How can these new approaches to customer centricity be embedded in a healthy commercial business case? And how do you get funding from your boss, involvement from your colleagues, and commitment from your team?
If you recognize these questions, this training is for you.
In a six day intensive program we will submerge you into the world of customer centricity, service design and customer experience. In a collaborative, hands on setting we will teach you the processes, methods and tools required to get started right away. Next to theory, exercises and lots of case examples you will work on your own project, for your own manager. This way we ensure that your learning experience is relevant and actionable. In fact, you’ll end the training with a prototype of a new service or customer experience that you will present to your manager!
so turn your ambition into action and enroll! Places are limited 😉
for more information contact Erik Roscam Abbing, email@example.comRead more
Just to keep you updated on what’s going on at Zilver these days. Two new Zilver-forces joined our team: the bright Pieter van Prooijen and the fabulous Linda Buné. We’d also like to welcome a bunch of new clients, including Océ, Rabobank, NRC, Sourcy and Stichting Leergeld. Looking forward to some very fruitful collaborations!
At Zilver, we guide companies who want to innovate from a customer experience perspective. Recently, we’ve taken a step back to reflect on the creative process we go through with our clients. We believe customer experience design is the answer to truly valuable and long-term innovation. This belief is based on these two wisdoms:
- to a customer, the isolated product is only part of the answer, and
- to a customer, the product itself is never the end goal
We’re pleased to say we’ve developed a Customer Experience Matrix, which captures two approaches that help you discover truly valuable innovation opportunities. We’ll be working with this matrix more often from now on. To give you a sneak peek, here are the slides of the Productized Conference in Lissabon, at which we presented this matrix in an interactive workshop. Two mantra’s to take from this: broaden your scope, deepen your outcomes.
|This year’s Dutch Design Week has once again been actively attended by Zilver. Marit and Merel have scouted the streets for the public opinion on Dutch Design, Dutch inventiveness and the Dutch creative mentality. Our insights from these street-interviews will form the basis for a very exciting project we’re currently working on. Meanwhile, Erik presented his thoughts on Future Design Strategies at the CLICKNL event.Oh, and obviously we didn’t let this opportunity pass to walk around the venues and breathe the air of meaningful inventiveness and aesthetic creativity. What an overload of inspiration and design initiatives!||
More and more, Zilver is being asked to host design-thinking training sessions. Last week we introduced a group of trainees into the world of creativity, coping with uncertainty and human-centredness, in a full-day workshop at the National Trainee-event of Berenschot. In a series of exercises we simulated a full design process, passing through stages such as empathic research, problem reframing, idea generation, creative iterating and concept pitching. We’re planning on sharing our knowledge on design thinking more often in the near future with more enthusiastic professionals. For now, we’d like to share with you what we believe design thinking is all about.
Will you help us grow our team?
Zilver innovation is looking for a service design consultant:
5+ years experience | design thinker | people’s person | commercial instinct | guide in transition
We’re looking forward to welcome a new, full time (32hrs minimum) team member to our Rotterdam based consulting practice, where we combine service design, customer insight research, brand development and innovation strategy. Join us in our relentless efforts to deliver value to international clients like: Océ, Virgin, Ebay, Europcar, Rabobank, Schiphol and DeltaLloyd.
- have a relevant track record of around 5+ years in service design or customer experience innovation, combine design thinking skills with a clear analytical mind, combine some business sensitivity with love for people,
- have an Industrial Design Engineering Delft Background or comparable academic education, speak Dutch and English fluently,
- and have a bit of corporate experience
…then we are really looking forward to meet you.
For more information contact Fred Montijn, firstname.lastname@example.org
Or send him your resume, portfolio and motivation directly, before 2nd November 2015.
From 15-17 October, 9 speakers and 6 UX workshops will be hosted at the UX Conference in Bucharest, Romania. Check out the conference website!
Is my organization keeping an eye on the big picture while building a product? Have we identified a problem worth solving and are we actually delivering on that? Is there a right balance between the rate at which new features are developed and the focus on the best user experience?
These are all questions that should be on our mind when trying to create products that people will love. This workshop can help uncover great insights about how customers use your product and how you can address their needs. Building customer journeys is a great method to bring the team on the same page about what problems you are trying to solve for your customers and how to build a great user experience.
IN THIS WORKSHOP YOU WILL:
- Understand what customer journey maps
- Understand how to create a customer journey map and what information is needed for building it
- Find out how to use the output as a guiding tool for building the small pits and pieces without losing the big picture
- Learn how to prioritise user experience over adding more features into the product
WHO IS IT FOR?
This workshop is ideal for product managers, researchers, designers, marketers and developers alike, as you’ll learn how to build a common reference point for the entire team, to prioritise, communicate and build the right thing for the customer.Read more
More and more we are asked by our clients to teach them what we do. There seems to be a growing need for the internalization of capabilities related to design thinking, service design, insight research and customer experience innovation. At Zilver we applaud this development: as more companies embrace these approaches, business becomes a bit more human, creative, relevant and sustainable.
We’ve always tried to take our clients along in what we do and how we do it: in all our projects we involve them in our work and open up our factory to them, in order to help them apply our methods, also when we’ve moved on to different projects. But now we feel it’s time to actively start working on a Zilver training proposition that will specifically focus on capability development for our clients. With the right mix of theory and cases, cutting edge methodologies and hands on tools, innovative paradigm shifts as well as short term actionability.
For this purpose we’ve asked help from someone who is equally at home in the world of strategic design thinking and the world of education and didactics. Meet our new intern Merel Verwaal, who will be working on our training proposition the coming months. Stay tuned for more news, we hope to go live in October.
Translating customer insights into relevant new value propositions: it’s the core of our business. Erik and Marit get the chance to host two workshops on exactly this, at the Productized Conference in Lissabon. We looking forward to sharing our experience with other industry professionals on the 8th of October!
Session 1: 8th October, 2:30 – 4:15
Session 2: 8th October, 5:00 – 6:30Read more
Curiosity is in Zilver’s genes. Deep contextual user research forms the foundation of many of our innovation and design projects. We’ve been told we are able to unlock customer insights that actually drive strategy and lead to meaningful innovations. But, curious as we are, that made us wonder: how do we do it exactly? What kind of insights fuel customer experience innovation? What makes our clients jump up and get to work to serve their customers better? Feeling the need for some self-reflection, we decided to get some help. From a psychology student no less.
Curious too? Meet our new team member Johanna.Read more
The Brand as driver for good things, like great experiences for people. We like where this is going, and to be part of it in Belgium. Insightful stories will also be shared by Nespresso, Studio 100 and Sharingbox. For more details, check out their website.Read more
Cohesive Enterprise Design: Turning customer insights and business outcomes into viable propositions
We find ourselves in a unique period in history. The business landscape is changing on a daily basis, customer’s expectations are continually evolving and in some cases the customer is one step ahead. The product is no longer the differentiator, the traditional business focus areas are going beyond transactional relationships; but yet how do businesses stay ahead, deliver new things, whilst maintaining their brand identity. Business Architecture has made great strides in supporting the business in defining and implementing its strategy, but where does the customer fit into this. To bridge this gap the discipline of design has brought us closer to the customer, gaining insights into what customers need, but yet, how does the business bring these insights to life, whilst fulfilling the brand’s promise.
We believe whilst the worlds of “inside out” and “outside in” have made great strides a gap still remains. By joining the best of enterprise architecture and service design, Zilver and Cohesion360 developed a holistic business design framework. It not only meets the needs of customers, but also enables businesses to plan and deliver the capabilities needed to honor its brand promise, leading to the creation of truly innovative propositions and disruptive business models.
For more information, check out this presentation as presented at the DMI / Intersection Conference in Berlin last month: Cohesive Enterprise Design.Read more
Anno 2015 the customer experience community can be proud and content: customer centricity is high up on the agenda of corporate leaders. It’s been a long time since I’ve spoken to someone with a leading position in business who does not believe that putting the customer first makes business sense. I’ll be the first to admit that many still have a long way to go in putting these beliefs in practice, but the mentality and the will are here and they’re here to stay.
But aren’t we forgetting something? What fascinates me in this stage of the maturity of customer experience design is this: all our methodologies, tooling, and discourse are aimed at understanding the needs and motivations of customers. So we can design services that help customers reach outcomes that bring them value. Nothing wrong with that. But when we start to design the touchpoints through which to deliver these services, we see employees as just another touchpoint or channel—and yet it’s employee behavior and motivation that can make or break an experience.
When we want to understand how customers behave and what motivates them to do what they do, experience designers embark on contextual design research to uncover deep customer insights. When we design new touchpoints, we co- create them with customers and then prototype and test to get quick customer feedback. In 2014, we started doing the same with frontline employees: we involved frontline staff in the process of designing the touchpoints. And we then involved them in prototyping, testing, and getting customer feedback.
For example, when my friend Damian Kernahan of Proto Partners and my firm Zilver Innovation were asked to improve the call center experience for an Australian telco, we didn’t tell the call center reps how to change their behavior based on customer insights. Instead, we spent a lot of time with the reps finding out what it was they needed to deliver an outstanding experience. We asked them to interpret and apply the customer insights. And then they co-created what it was they needed with their colleagues, their customers, and us. When we worked on the customer experience of a large global car rental company, we involved station staff in the creation, prototyping, and testing of experience improvements. We made it their responsibility to get customer feedback. We asked them what they needed to make life a little better for the customers they served daily.
In short, we no longer see employees as a channel to deliver experiences, but as co-creators of experiences. It’s the combination of customer insights and employee insights that now enables us to really make a difference in the organization and in each customer’s experience. And that’s why I’m planning to do even more of this work with my team and clients in 2015.
Employees want to be involved. It helps them understand how to do what they do best: make customers happy. And it helps them commit to experience innovations because they were there as those initiatives took form, they were listened to, and they were seen as pivotal in improving customer experience.
Employees will resist change when you tell them what to do. But they will embrace it if you ask them what to do.
See published article at Customer Experience Outlook.Read more
As posted on the EURIB blog (Sorry, DUTCH ONLY)
Bij het woord ‘design’ denken sommige mensen nog steeds aan mooie maar dure meubels, consistent vormgegeven huisstijlen en glimmende nieuwe auto’s. Maar steeds vaker kom je design tegen als het gaat om zaken als de beleving van patiënten in ziekenhuizen, het verhogen van de opkomst bij verkiezingen, het verbeteren van persoonlijke hygiëne in sloppenwijken of het personaliseren van leermethodieken op basisscholen.
Voorheen waren deze uitdagingen het domein van business consultants, psychologen, sociologen of verandermanagers. Steeds vaker zien we hier ontwerpers aan het werk. En zie je mensen die juist totaal geen ontwerpachtergrond hebben methodes en tools toepassen die bij designopleidingen en ontwerpstudio’s vandaan komen.
Design Thinking wordt het dan vaak genoemd. En, hoewel aarzelend, is Design Thinking geen taboe meer: het wordt onderwezen aan beroemde MBA’s, toegepast door chique business consultants en hier en daar al toegejuicht in de boardroom.
Wat kan de reden zijn voor de ontwikkeling? Kan design daadwerkelijk bijdragen aan het oplossen van problemen buiten het traditionele ontwerpdomein? Ik denk het wel!
Design helpt natuurlijk om mooie websites, huisstijlen en producten te maken. Maar design is van huis uit vooral goed in het heel erg bruikbaar maken van al dat moois. En daar zit een belangrijke clou. Want om dingen zo te maken dat mensen ze echt willen gebruiken, heb je als ontwerper een paar interessante eigenschappen nodig. Ik noem de drie belangrijkste:
- Empathie. Je moet vanuit die gebruiker kunnen denken. De wereld vanuit zijn of haar ogen zien. Ook als die gebruiker oud is of juist heel jong. Of als die gebruiker zorgen heeft die jij niet kent. Empathie helpt de klant centraal te stellen en zo meerwaarde te creëren, efficiënter te werken en concurrentievoordeel te behalen. In de ‘age of the customer’1 is empathie de motor.
- Omgaan met complexiteit. Er zijn verschillende stakeholders met elk hun eigen eisen, er moeten nieuwe technologieën worden toegepast, het moet passen bij de organisatie en er moet ook nog geld verdiend worden. En om je te onderscheiden op de markt moet je wel echt met iets nieuws komen. In plaats van een probleem helemaal tot het bot te analyseren springen ontwerpers in het diepe en exploreren het probleem al doende: ze maken korte cycli van ideeën, genereren, clusteren en maken keuzes, om zo steeds dichter bij de kern van het probleem te komen. Ook maken ze afwisselend gebruik van hun linker- en rechterhersenhelft, omdat soms intuïtie en emotie tot resultaten leidt en in andere gevallen analyse en ratio. Juist deze eigenschappen zijn van grote waarde buiten het designdomein omdat de problemen die we het hoofd moeten bieden nou eenmaal steeds complexer worden. Zoals Marty Neumeier het zo mooi zegt: “Sommige problemen zijn te complex om je uit te managen, daar kan je je alleen maar uit ontwerpen.”2
- Fouten durven maken. Om tot een bruikbare oplossing te komen die echt werkt, moet je een heleboel oplossingen genereren die niet werken. Fouten maken zit in de methodiek van een designer ingebakken. Elke schets in het begin is fout, maar vertelt de ontwerper wel ongeveer waar de goede oplossing zou kunnen liggen. Dus de volgende is iets beter. Wat niet werkt vertelt je net zo veel als wat wel werkt. En helpt je weer om de volgende stap te maken. Deze manier van werken, waarbij je continue oplossingen aan het testen bent ook al weet je dat ze nog lang niet af zijn, vindt gretig aftrek in veel innovatieprocessen buiten het designdomein. Zelfs nieuwe klantervaringen of business modellen kan je al in een heel vroeg stadium prototypen. De resultaten blijken van grote waarde te zijn voor de efficiëntie van het proces en de effectiviteit van het resultaat.
Empathie, om kunnen gaan met complexiteit, fouten durven maken. Deze drie eigenschappen van ontwerpers en de methodieken die ze versterken vormen de basis van Design Thinking. Eigenlijk is Design Thinking niets anders dan het toepassen van designmethodieken en de mindset van de designer om complexe problemen op te lossen. En steeds vaker blijkt dat deze combinatie van eigenschappen en methodieken oplossingen oplevert voor problemen waar je anders niet uit was gekomen. Waar traditionele, meer lineaire businessprocessen geen uitkomst meer bieden. Customer journey maps, business model canvasses, personas, creatieve sessies, prototyping, scrummen, co-creatie. De buzzwords zijn niet van de lucht. Maar ze laten wel zien dat ontwerpende manieren van werken langzaam gemeengoed gaan worden.Read more
Will you help us grow our team?
We are looking for a senior service design consultant with 8-10 years experience.
We’re looking for a new, full time (32hrs minimum) team member for our Rotterdam based customer
experience consultancy, where we combine expertise in customer insight research, brand development,
innovation strategy and service design.
Check out our full job opening here!
For more information contact Fred Montijn, email@example.com or send him your resume, portfolio
and motivation directly, before 15th may 2015.
The European Institute for Brand Management (EURIB) will host the symposium SHIFT Happens! on 19th May. Topic is the rapidly changing society and how this is fundamentally going to affect businesses and organizations. Erik will be speaking on behalf of Zilver on the value of Design Thinking in Business. For our foreign friends: this one is in Dutch, but do join us in Berlin!Read more
INTERSECTION is one of Europe’s most interesting conferences exploring the crossroads of Strategic Enterprise Design, Design Thinking, and Design Management and we are humbled to take part in it. If you are around please be welcome at the masterclasses Zilver will be hosting on Branded Enterprise Experiences. Or join the discussion on Design Management that Erik is hosting as panel member. The three-day conference is held from 28-30 April in Berlin.Read more
Volkswagen asked us to show them what the current state of Business Model Prototyping is and to help organise a summit about it in their head quarter. We took the invitation and cooked up a plan of theory but mostly action. With a small army of TUDelft students to help us out we travelled to Wolfsburg and submerged employees from all over VW in the world of business models, prototyping, iterations and creativity. Great stuff to see these two worlds work together so well. There is definitely more coming, we’ll keep you posted.
We were asked by Kerry Bodine (author of Outside-In) and Lisa Lindström (CEO of Doberman) to contribute to The 2015 Customer Experience Outlook. We decided to focus our contribution on designing customer experiences with employees, because that’s what we’re heavily engaged in at the moment with several clients.
Other contributors include Joseph Pine & James Gilmore, Brandon Schauer, Fred Leichter, Tenny Pinheiro and Many others.
You can download the free e-book right here:Read more
We’re more than happy to welcome yet another member to our growing Zilver-team: Marit Coehoorn. With a background in user research and customer-centered innovation, she’ll be helping us dive even deeper into the needs and motivations of users. We can’t wait to get started!
After working in the field of brand activation and innovation strategy, Sanne has decided to join our Zilver-team. His passion is designing meaningful customer experiences, which he’ll get to do here at Zilver at full force. We’re very excited to have him here!Read more
Together with DMN, Ralf Beuker, and the Dutch consulate in Düsseldorf we are the initiators and organizers of the DesignXchange business club. The first DesignXchange event was held in Essen and focussed on the topic of how designers initiate and sustain change. Later this year edition II wil be held at SAP in Heidelberg. The events are invitation only. Stay tuned for more!Read more
Most of the time we find ourselves being very busy with various customer experience, customer insight and strategic innovation projects. These projects are great, and we want to share what we do but found that our current website wasn’t up to the task. It screamed for a redesign and we managed, although it took us a bit longer than planned: clients are always more important to us! So behold: our new website: you are looking at it right now! Please let us know what you think and point out those typo’s to us!Read more
In the run up to our Europcar Strategic Session in Paris we flew in our friend and associate, Damian Kernahan from Proto partners, Sydney, to support us in the day and the preparations. It was great working with him again, a true asset to our team and project, just a great guy to have around! We are looking forward to working together more often in the future!Read more
Currently Turkey plans, designs, and works on increasing exports from $162 (2012) to $500 billion in 2023. And design is to be considered key in transforming Turkish SME’s from suppliers to OEM’s. We agree and see that Turkish design leadership has to be developed so we were proud to attend the Turkish Netherlands business forum as keynote speaker. Together with Maarten Jurriaanse (Ping Pong Design) we provided the audience with the latest insights on brand-driven innovation and got them pretty excited!Read more
There are many reasons for companies to innovate, to improve or change the products and services they bring to the market. Branding can inspire innovation in products and services, creating value for organizations and consumers alike. This in turn can lead to a durable relationship between brands and customers. Brand-driven Innovation explores branding as a foundation for innovation, in order to provide participants with a solid understanding of how to use branding in their innovation tasks.
This Master Class trains professional designers and other innovation professionals in our design and innovation method “Brand Driven Innovation” (BDI). In BDI, the brand is considered to a solid foundation for innovation, that combines internal drivers for innovation, like an organization’s vision and mission, with external drivers, like customer insights. In BDI, the brand is constructed as the point where inside out thinking meets outside in thinking.
Thinking about joining one of our master classes in the future? You can find the report of the day here.Read more
Next to pioneering with his own company Sparckl, Fred Montijn managed to find the time to join the Zilver team! And we are very pleased he did! Fred will join us as a senior design researcher and customer experience consultant, specialized in e-learning and customer experience design. Welcome tot the team Fred!Read more
In service innovation projects complexities abound, both within the boundaries of the organization and outside of them: value chains have become value networks, target customers have contextual and situational preferences in their complex experience journeys, and interactions with the organization involve many channels and touch points. Customer centricity is a prerequisite but it requires various cross sections through the organization to cooperate smoothly.Read more
Australia’s number two Telco, asked our partner Damian Kernahan (Proto partners) to develop their customer experience of tomorrow. We were more than glad to be a part of this project, working on customer pathways, personas and channel roles! Australia here we come!Read more
Marktplaats, owned by Ebay, has been one of our most loyal clients the past year. After laying a solid foundation with customer insights, personas, customer journeys and design principles for Marktplaats Core, we are very pleased to now welcome Ebay’s Marktplaats Services, Admarkt and Automotive to our clientele!Read more
After successfully completing his Master’s degree in Strategic Product Design from the TU Delft in 2013, Floris joined the Zilver team as a junior design researcher. He will be focusing on customer experience and service design projects and he will be responsible for building campfire’s whenever necessary. Floris, welcome to the team!Read more