December 19, 2019
A mechanical engineering company that offers its customers predictive maintenance, a manufacturer of 3D printers that builds an online information platform for its products – there is no way around the development of digital services for companies. But for many companies, especially small and medium-sized companies, the development of digital services poses a major challenge. Scientists and practitioners from all over Germany, including a team from Jacobs University Bremen, have now published a process description designed to simplify the development of digital services – DIN SPEC 33453.
The process description comes along with a toolbox filled with methods that support companies from the industrial sector in developing innovative digital services. Up to now, companies have mostly relied on rigid processes coming from the field of product development, which they transferred to digital services. However, the development of digital (smart) services follow a fundamentally different logic than traditional product development approaches – namely, the logic of agile development. Digital services must always be consistently oriented towards customer value. The development process starts with the identification of customer needs and values in order to develop a user-centered service, if possible even by integrating customers in the process. It is therefore not a question of what a supplier has produced so far (e.g. aircraft turbines), but what the customer wants (e.g. guaranteed mileage). With this in mind, a process of rethinking in companies is necessary.
"Many companies don't know how to develop digital services. But they are no sorcery. The DIN SPEC 33453 helps companies as it works like a manual," says Dr. Christoph Lattemann, Professor of Business Administration and Information Management at Jacobs University. Together with his team members Beke Redlich and Simon Fischer, Lattemann participated in the committee consisting of 75 companies and scientific institutions that developed the DIN SPEC 33453. The procedure replaces a predecessor from 1998.
The DIN SPEC project was supported by the Federal Ministry of Research and Education and organized by the DIGIVATION project. The team from Jacobs University contributed to the DIN SPEC with its expertise in Design Thinking. They also conducted workshops on the subject for the committee. Design Thinking is an approach for creative innovation development that focuses on the needs of users. Interdisciplinary teams work together to find solutions that are convincing from the client's point of view. The D-Forge at Jacobs University in Bremen has been home to the first Design Thinking workshop in northwestern Germany since 2012.