Service design has a big role to play in transforming people’s lives in terms of how they use and interact with technologies and processes.
It keenly considers the demand and changing needs of the end-user. Dr. Ravi Mahamuni, Principal Scientist at TCS Research, draws his inspiration from this fundamental belief.
Service design as a domain involves planning a comprehensive strategy throughout the lifecycle of a service, using a human-centered approach, to deliver services that are efficient and effective. Applications of service design can be experienced in our daily lives. For example, the check-in process at an airline, placing a food order at a restaurant, or a doctor managing their daily patient scheduling roster.
Dr. Mahamuni believes in increasing the overall adoptability of a product or service through human-centered and user experience design, based on the needs and usage patterns of the consumer. His work in the area of service design and understanding has helped TCS develop successful solutions. For instance, TCS MasterCraftTM, a digital platforms suite. His contribution to this involves integrating individual service side design and development tools into the platform.
MasterCraftTM automates and manages IT processes with 360-degree insights into applications, optimizing IT service delivery management.
“The confidence that service design can solve problems in a holistic and human-centered way, is what keeps me going,” says Dr. Mahamuni.
He joined TCS in 1997 as a trainee, and started learning about model-driven development, object-oriented technologies, and user-driven development in those early years.
His growing expertise in experience design started with his stint in product research and design development. This phase helped him understand how to apply human-centric design principles to solve critical customer problems.
In addition to his expertise in design research, Dr. Mahamuni has taken on responsibilities within software research, and has gone on to become a solutions architect, and a client relationship manager. His understanding of the client environment and that of solving the “human problem” comes from these experiences across different roles at TCS.
Mastering the journey
“Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works,” Apple founder Steve Jobs had once said. Dr. Mahamuni seconds this and reinforces this principle in his work.
“I imbibed this philosophy back in 2000, while working on TCS MasterCraftTM. It was my first encounter with experience design, focusing more on the user experience along with algorithms and back-end code. My research interests have since evolved to include design for change, service design for scale, and how service designers can facilitate the change that people and communities desire,” Dr. Mahamuni says.
Another achievement he takes pride in is the development of CraftChange, a recognized service design framework that uses a simple, pragmatic, and integrated structure to combine service design with behavioral change.
Over the years, his interactions in the social sector have helped him approach service design with a wider perspective. “While initiating research, it is important to first identify the research gap, followed by a thorough literature review. The solution can then be hypothesized and validated,” he elucidates.
Dr. Ravi Mahamuni at an interaction in 2019, where he is seen explaining service design with reference to employee integration.
Dr. Mahamuni’s ‘research through design’ approach to solve problems, embraces a plan that includes acting, observing, reflecting, and refining.
His most recent inventive piece of work involves using service design to streamline and reimagine the employee grievance redressal process. The basis for the project was to build a trust in TCS’ conflict-resolution mechanisms and improve overall employee experience.
“The best part of being in TCS Research is the continual encouragement you get to enhance and sharpen your skills.
The work environment enables employees to learn more,” Dr. Mahamuni says. It was while working at TCS that he completed an MBA and a PhD. While completing the latter, in 2018, he looked for opportunities to enable scalable and impactful change in the Indian social sector.
Calling attention to TCS’ proficiency in service design, Politecnico di Milano – a design school in Italy – extended Dr. Mahamuni an invitation as a visiting research scholar. "During my three months at Politecnico in 2018, I had the opportunity to interact with service design pioneers and add value to both sides—TCS Research and Politecnico di Milano,” he shares.
Knowledge sharing with the larger scientific community
As the convenor of a professional body, ‘Service Design for Society’ (SDS) India, he has helped create a platform for students and professionals to learn and apply service design methodologies to real-life problems at a community level.
He is also a member of the inaugural advisory board of the Social Design Institute (SDI) at the University of Arts London.
"I believe in technology as (being) an enabler while humanizing services,” Dr. Mahamuni rounds off, as he explains the larger purpose for his scientific endeavors in the world of service design.