Editorial piece
written by
Marc Stickdorn
May 2022

Smaply's vision, mission, values

At Smaply, we do not only follow our own vision and mission, but we also set values we want to follow when working together as a team, and with our partners.

Our vision

We believe that service design (or however you call what we’re doing) can positively impact people’s experiences (users, customers, employees, stakeholders, citizens – depending on the project or organization). Service design can change people’s experiences, their everyday lives, and our society as a whole. We believe that service design is more than an innovation approach; it can be a management approach rooted in human-centred design, co-creation, and sustainability. This should become the default method of how private and public organizations are built and run.

We stand for service design and strive to bring this way of working into as many organizations as possible. We believe that software can be an enabler to motivate people and organizations into this way of working, to question traditional organizational structures and processes, to change hierarchies and cultures.

Our mission

We build and sell software

We believe that software can be a great way to bring service design into organizations and spread it around the globe in an unobtrusive way. The software we build should always motivate people into starting a human-centred, co-creative, and sustainable way of working. Our software should be at the core of their operation. It should become the go-to management tool to design, build, and run all services of a company, no matter if internal or external. It should be used both on the operational as well as on a strategic level, and cater for the needs of both parties. We aim for a software that works perfect in both, the startup and the corporate world.

We train people

We believe that people need to learn how to use our software as well as the underlying service design approach for all tools and methods we offer in our software. We want that our users get the most out of it and we help them on their journey to internal capacity building. We aim to be their coaches. We shouldn’t do their work but rather teach them how to do it themselves. So also in our teaching practice we aim for sustainable knowledge over quick wins. We want to be trusted partners that our customers consult when they are stuck and need advice.

We spread the word of service design

We believe in service design and strive to raise awareness for service design around the globe. We focus beyond our core community to educate people from diverse backgrounds in what is a good practise of service design. We use different events and channels to reach a diversity of people. While the co-founders are already renowned as thought leaders in the field of service design, we want this to become true for the company as a whole. Every service design project is a change process at heart. By spreading the word we want to raise the awareness for the need to change and inspire them with methods of how this change can be accomplished.

We practise service design

We believe that we cannot change the world if we are not able to change ourselves. We practise what we preach and try to embed service design on various levels in our organization: internally and with our users and partners. We understand ourselves as a vivid part of the global service design community. We share what we learn: what works, but also what does not.

We do NOT conduct projects for clients

We are no agency or consultancy. We believe in internal capacity building and sustainable business relationships in the service design ecosystem. When our users ask us for help with a project, we help them by finding the right partner to support them with a project.

We do NOT do everything

We focus on what we’re good at and we are not the experts for everything. Whenever we do not have the expertise or experience for something, we communicate this and pass on to experts – internally and externally.

Our values

We keep on learning

We believe in lifelong learning and learn from colleagues, friends, families, communities of practise, academic research, partners, users, customers, and more. We try new things and learn from experiments, from failures, from experience. We constantly question our approach and aim to become better, while also seeing feedback as a valuable and important source for learning.

We try experiments

We value a shitty first draft that we can experiment with higher than any shiny concept. We believe in doing not talking as everything is possible in PowerPoint-land.

We are honest and transparent

Not just don’t lie but also be honest about your abilities and knowledge. We want transparent decisions, structures, and processes.

We are respectful

We want to respect each other as well as our users and partners regarding their individual way of living, behavior, values, budgets, and time. We do not accept any kind of behaviour like harassment, active or passive aggression, narcissism, power games, and the like.

We act responsibly

We take responsibility for our actions. We value self-determined ways of working and learning instead of micro-management, over-organization, or shifting tasks to higher hierarchies. Take ownership of projects and issues – saying “not my department” is not acceptable.

We welcome diversity

We welcome diversity not only to foster creativity, we also feel compelled to condemn injustice and discrimination and to reaffirm our commitment to constantly question our biases and becoming aware of our own privileges. We are committed to cultivate a workplace that makes equality, diversity and openness priorities—a workplace where no one feels discriminated based on their color, sexuality, gender, age, and any other attribute that makes us feel different. People’s background should not impact how we treat them, how we value their opinions or respect their decisions, nor their salaries.

We consider sustainability

Being sustainable and returning something back to the society and environment is important to us. Therefore we are part of the UN Global Compact Network and continuously check operations, behavior and decisions regarding economic, ecological, and social sustainability. We know that we are not perfect, but we strive to iteratively improve on all dimensions of the triple bottom line.

We are humble

We strive to surprise during the process instead of making bold statements upfront. We know that raising expectations that cannot be fulfilled is very disappointing – for colleagues as well as for our users, customers, partners, and stakeholders.

We take one for the team

We believe in the saying “Sometimes the Yak has to be shaved”. We know that not all tasks are awesome or part of a job description, but we help each other to progress as a team.

We're not too serious

We take our customers, users, and partners seriously, but do not take ourselves too seriously. After all, it’s not about life and death and we love a good laugh.

Written by
Marc Stickdorn

Marc is co-founder and CEO of Smaply, as well as co-author of the award-winning books 'This is Service Design Thinking' and 'This is Service Design Doing'. He gives talks and workshops on service design and innovation all over the world, teaches at various business and design schools.