Strategic planning and design in the service sector
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This paper reports on findings from a research project entitled "Identifying Best Practice Integrated Design and Management Accounting Processes" sponsored by the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants and the Design Council. The objective of the paper was to review the benefits of design and determine if there were specific service related strategies that could account for accelerated growth in some medium-sized service sector enterprises. Analysis of design benefits and strategic planning suggests that there is no one 'secret of success' but rather a number of factors contributing to high performance. Amongst the high-growth service sector medium-sized enterprises reported in this paper the main success factors include: recognition that innovation can provide competitive advantage, design can add value, that employees contribute to an organisation; and that the needs of customers must be understood. The findings provide insight into the particular benefits of design in the service sector and how they might be realised. They also shed light on how service design strategies can be responsible for improvements in organisational performance. The findings have informed subsequent research in this area and the delivery of a number of successful consultancy projects with commercial partners.
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