Service Systems, Happiness, & Uber Rides

I was supposed to do a talk on a new blog series, code-named “Nebulous.” It’s about kicking your OWN butt off the status quo “train,” and falling in love with divergent thinking patterns. I hope you subscribe to this series 4 times over when it comes out December of 2016 (1 subscription for each of those “throw-away” email addresses you’vuber imagee got in your little black book). But although spreading the word on how to use divergent thinking patterns in the technology workplace will make ME happy, it’s not really about my happiness; it’s more about your perceivably new found pattern in divergent thinking, and where it can be applied.

Instead, I’ll mention the person that has arguably done more than anyone I know to deliver that message to hundreds  of students attending her course(s) at Stanford University, Dr. Tina Seelig. She is a lady who I highly respect
and admire.


Tina Seelig is a petite and VERY well-spoken lady, and  is probably best known for her series of podcast hostings at Stanford. In this series, she serves as “Professor of the Practice, Management Science & Engineering.”

She explains in one of her podcasts that convergent thinking is like saying, “What is 5 + 5?” You limit yourself to one answer within a single range. That’s restrictive. Divergent thinking is like saying, “Let’s see how many different ways can we get to 10”


She got me thinking about divergent pattern uses within my profession, like how might Information Technology Service Management (ITSM) work with the “IT” in “ITSM” embedded (as a utility) in the overall service management “economy?” What if disparate, non-traditional service-based economies like “ride-sharing” consumed this model, using their OWN business framework? (e.g. a shared network of otherwise unrelated vehicle maintenance service centers that used proximity, availability, and pricing as semi-autonomous decision support criteria for ANY driver.) The framework would be service management. The platform would be the sharing model.


But wait! Aren’t aspects of the shared economy model already ITSM-aligned?


1.       Having a couple of friends stay over on a weekend is sharing. Handing them a bill as they head off on the rest of their journey makes me an innkeeper.
2.       Giving somebody a ride to the airport is sharing. Charging them for it in yesterday’s economy makes me a taxi. Charging them for it in today’s economy makes me a ride-share driver.  

At a micro-level, in both scenarios, [typical] service delivery is the common denominator. Is it safe to say that, at a macro-level, other models that support ITSM-aligned service delivery are at work (albeit hidden) in the background?


Ironically, none of these scenarios are typical to your large corporations and government entities that are head-first into ITSM and its supporting tools, like ServiceNow. Yet all of these require a level of service management discipline, indicative of the IT Service Management framework.


Are there other opportunities to apply this framework? ServiceNow applies and supports this framework beyond IT and into Facilities Management, Human Resources, and even Security. But, those are  just functions. What about entirely new economies, such as ride-sharing?


This is divergence.

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