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2 Locating, Collecting, and Managing Knowledge
Kizashi Method – Grasping the Change of Future User’s Values
Sales Offices Can Promote the Value of Proposed
Products Using Kizashi
Locations where sales are conducted usually promote the benefits of purchasing a
particular product to address the needs of the customer; however, the benefits of
such products anticipated at the time of purchase have not been realized in recent
years because of the extreme changes in society, which have led to unintended
inconvenience for customers. In this regard, proposals with little medium-term risk
can be developed by analyzing the trends in customer sales based on the business
specialty. However, it is very hard to investigate such a phenomenon based on an
understanding of the reasons why a product sells. Enumerating the future social
issues for the field in which product is sold, in accordance with “Kizashi,” fosters an
opportunity for a company to proactively create a story that asserts the long-term
benefits of purchase to the client.
5 Conclusion and Further Discussion
In this paper we have described the features of the Kizashi method as an intermediate output for compiling analysis of users’ values, and compared it to previous
forecasting methods. We have also examined the five-step process on the method
and its applications. Kizashi method can be applied flexibly and dynamically
multiple times in relation to multiple themes to create multiple future scenarios.
Benefits of Analyzing the Change of User Values
Kizashi method collects a number of factors from various aspects of society, and
integrates them into abstract concepts from a perspective of users. This method
allows widely varying interpretations among readers, therefore encourages a lot of
unique hypothetical scenarios to be developed.
Moreover, a feature of the Kizashi method is its insight into changes in users’
values and the use of this insight as an output. Kizashi shows both original insight
and its output, so readers can feel connected to either the output (i.e. visions that we
designed) or the insight (i.e. user values on which the vision is based). By sharing
the process of analysis on user value changes, we have successfully encouraged
customers to build strong and long-lasting relationships with us.
T. Akashi and Y. Maruyama
Improving the Handling of Kizashi Method
On the other hand, some people may feel it difficult to understand the causal
structure of Kizashi, because it is described in a narrative way. For discovering
new Kizashi or applying Kizashi that fits a particular situation more efficiently, the
handling of Kizashi should be improved so that workshop facilitators and participants use the Kizashi method and contents more effectively. Hitachi Design
Division intends to improve the handling of Kizashi to increase more Kizashi
user experts, as well as to develop a method for describing the structure of Kizashi
contents in a logical manner.
1. Washida Y, Mitsuishi S, Horii H (2009) A future scenario generation experiment in sociotechnological problems using scanning method. Sociotechnica 6:1–15 (in Japanese)
2. Strategic Business Insights (SBI) http://www.strategicbusinessinsights.com/scan/
3. Schwartz P (1991) The art of the long view: planning for the future in an uncertain world.
Currency-Doubleday, New York
4. 25 Future Signs for 2025. http://www.hitachi.com/rd/design/25future/index.html. [Beyond
Green] of Sign 3 is a registered trademark of UGL Services Pty Ltd
Service Practices as Organizational
Abstract Understanding services as organizational phenomena is explored from
the actors’ point of view, following ethnomethodology’s program. Services are
conceptualized as organizational constructs and examined how these are experienced by members engaged in practical actions from within services. Using the case
of business service in Japan’s public libraries, the study’s findings demonstrate how
a service can be presented as an organized solution by an organization. The study
also shows how actors involved in service practices can experience these as
constituting different kinds of environments.
Keywords Service innovation and design • Public service • Service practices •
Public library • Ethnomethodology
Frameworks for Understanding Services
Creating a new service involves not just coming up with great ideas but also
interweaving ideas with existing values and services. A new service can be seen
as a solution provided by an organization to achieve its objectives at a point in time.
It may be the result of a series of developments over time in the organization, and
related developments may be on-going .
It has been some time since the need for a different framework for understanding
services was first examined. For example, Vargo et al. proposed a shift from
product-dominant to service-dominant logic . Another framework presented by
Normann and Ramirez was a shift from “value chain” to “value constellation” .
The offering is the physical and ‘in-person(s)’ embodiment of assets made up of knowledge
and experience, in themselves the result of myriad activities performed by many people
dispersed in time and space [3:49–50].
N. Ikeya (*)
Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, Keio University, 2-15-45 Mita, Minatoku,
Tokyo 108-8345, Japan
© Springer Japan 2016
T. Maeno et al. (eds.), Serviceology for Designing the Future,
The offering, as Normann and Ramirez explain, is the result of activities carried
out by different stakeholders and will produce value when it is put into action. As
their explanation implies, what is difficult about understanding a service is that it is
usually not designed in a vacuum but rather in an organizational context. This
means that, first, the design is not completed at once. Instead, service ideas may be
developed over time by different people, interacting with each other in a variety of
circumstances. Thus, the offering is “the result of myriad activities performed by
many people dispersed in time and space.” Given this plurality of people involved
in creating value—interacting with each other in different spaces and times—these
authors propose the notion of “value constellation” to replace “value chain”
because, in the latter, value is added in a linear way.
Concerning the plurality of actors involved in a service’s development,
researchers who propose to study strategy from a practice-based approach also
point out a similar issue . Johnson et al. argue that strategy development is not so
much dependent on individuals or even small groups but on people at different
levels in the organization, as well as people from outside the organization (e.g.,
consultants and bankers). Since service design can be regarded as a kind of strategy
development, their approach can be applied to research on services.
What Johnson et al. also point out, similarly to Normann and Ramirez’s findings,
is that strategy practices include a wide range of activities, including strategy
planning, development, and enactment . Based on this framework, they argue
that research foci need to be varied.
In addition, these authors clearly recognize that strategy practices are grounded
in organizations. For example, they argue that “strategy practices such as strategic
planning, strategy workshops or consultancy practices need to be understood as
institutional phenomena that influence what organizational actors do and in turn
how strategies develop in organizations” [4:13]. How individuals behave in organizations can be, therefore, another area on which to focus. These researchers also
share their interest in “understanding what people do both within and as an
influence on institutional and organizational contexts” [4:13].
Services as Practical Constructs
The stance taken in this paper is similar to the above point made by Johnson et al.,
which recognizes that strategy practices are grounded in organizational contexts.
This paper takes this point extremely seriously: People involved in a service are
always acting in an organizational context throughout planning, development, and
enactment, with “no time out,” to use Garfinkel’s phrase .
Consequently, the focus of this paper will be on how constructs of services may
appear and are then handled as part of organizational members’ practical actions. In
other words, understanding services as practical constructs will be the focus of this
paper, instead of services as theoretical constructs, following Garfinkel’s
ethnomethodological studies of work programs . This is a reasonable choice as
services are actually applied as practical constructs before being theorized.
Service Practices as Organizational Phenomena
As an attempt to understand services as practical constructs, this paper will seek
to take the actors’ points of view seriously. It also means that the resulting
understanding will be defined in relation to activities. This is significant in the
sense that the understanding will not be decontextualized from the actual activities,
and services can be taken both as results of and as parts of various activities
involving various actors.
The business support service—a new service in Japan’s public libraries—will be
examined. Through analysis, the practical reasoning will be shown as it operates
through the various activities related to this service, alongside some organizing
principles. In addition, this analytical examination will reveal what is new and
innovative about the service in the actual environment where it has been developed
2 Approach and Methods
Ethnomethodological Studies of Work
The ethnomethodological study of work is an approach originated in sociology, that
examines exactly how people manage to accomplish tasks. Using this method, what
participants know—and how they know it—is studied, alongside their practical
reasoning while they work. The word “member” is used to mean any participant
with competency in and knowledge about accomplishing tasks .
In his study of projects, Sharrock takes Garfinkel’s advice on researching
organizational practice, treating organizational constructs as entirely practical
. He then examines projects as constructs within organizations, in relation to
different junctures of service tasks. Instead of using theory to define the concept of
service and global criteria for its assessment, services as practical constructs are
treated as a part of members’ carrying out service tasks, which range from planning
and developing services to providing them.
Services as organizational constructs can appear when members explain how the
services are designed to meet organizational objectives. How do services as organizational constructs appear and how are they handled when members of two
organizations seek to collaborate as part of the services’ development? How do
services as organizational constructs appear to members who seek to use the
services and how do these members handle these constructs? In other words, how
organizational constructs appear and how they are treated differently by different
actors, depending on circumstances, is this study’s research question.
Business Support Service in Japan’s Public Libraries
The business support service is library services with the additional function of
supporting businesses, including start-up businesses. Support is provided by using
accumulated library resources and digital information available on the Internet and
databases, while training librarians to manage this information .
Takeuchi specifies that this service is provided by librarians who are trained to
search and manage library information resources available to the public. The
objective of this service, defined as “supporting business,” implies a radical transformation in Japan’s public libraries for two reasons. First, it adopts a view of
organizing services in which public libraries support citizens’ problem-solving
activities. This perspective often contrasts with the idea that book circulation
services should be the core of public library services—a debate with which this
paper is not concerned. Second, the business support service implies openness in
the ways the service is designed.
It is important to note that “information service” is not included in the literal
translation of the service name, i.e., ‘business support service’. The terminology
and the stated goal do not define the library’s role or means of providing the service.
It does not say, for example, that the library’s role is to provide information. The
intent of the service’s name when it was created and introduced to stakeholders is
something that needs further investigation. However, different independent organizations were given major roles in creating the service with the library, and the
diversity of the service has been noteworthy. In this sense, it is fair to say that
business support is an example of ‘open innovation’ in Japan’s public libraries.
It is interesting to note that the service movement itself was initiated by a mix of
people who were not necessarily direct stakeholders in the public library: journalists, academics, and government officials. This is quite unique, as library services
have typically been viewed as, and have actually been, designed solely by librarians. However, this does not imply that librarians were forced to provide the service
by external parties. In actuality, a number of librarians shared the view that services
needed to be reorganized so that the public library was not just a place to find good
books to read but also a place to search for information to solve life’s problems.
Some librarians were aware that the quantity of male users in their fifties to
seventies had increased, and some reference questions clearly had to do with
solving work-related problems [9, 10].
In addition, public library budgets have been decreasing in most parts of Japan
due to local governments’ economic difficulties. Increasingly, librarians recognized
the need for libraries to contribute directly to solutions for problems that people in
the local community face in their everyday lives . They decided one way to
reorganize library services to be more useful would be to create services supporting
local area businesses, thus enabling libraries to contribute to the local economy .
Consequently, the business support service is specifically designed to support
problem solving in business or work-related contexts by utilizing library information resources and librarians’ research and information management skills, and by
Service Practices as Organizational Phenomena
taking advantage of the library as a place open to all citizens. Organizing a library
service based on this problem-solving model is clearly innovative for Japan’s public
libraries, where a strong emphasis has long been placed on book circulation
services. Advocates of this service also generally agree that the mission of public
libraries is to deliver this kind of support by facilitating information seeking and
usage . The issue of how to design and provide actual services still remains, but
this is up to each library to decide.
Materials and data used for the analysis presented in this paper comes from research
that goes back to 2005. After having conducted a survey of libraries in nationwide,
and visited libraries that had started the business support service, the research team
eventually focused on four libraries that were actively providing business support
services, a new emerging service in Japan’s public libraries. Interviews were
conducted with librarians and users at the four libraries throughout 2006–2007
and again, in 2008–2009, at two of the four libraries but with members of other
organizations in addition to librarians and library users [13, 14]. Various related
documents were collected from the libraries, as well as from organizations that
were involved in developing the service. Interviews were audio recorded, photographs were taken at the service settings, and observations of users and services
were conducted. Observations were made whenever possible by attending seminars
held by the library, by attending service consultation sessions whenever permitted,
and by walking around in the libraries attending to how people use collections and
other information resources. Interviewers asked the following questions:
Interviews with users
What was the last use you made of the public library business support service?
What was the goal of your use?
What process led to the generation of your goal?
What use was made of other resources to meet your goal?
Can you give a detailed description of your use of the business support service
for your goal?
6. How would you evaluate the service?
Interviews with librarians
1. What kind of business support service is currently provided in your library?
2. What kind of users do you expect and encounter in reality?
3. What kind of uses or values do you think users get from the service?
Interviews with members from specialized institutions
1. How did your organization come to work with the library?
2. What did the collaboration involve?
3. How did your organization and its members deal with the collaboration?
4. What do you think about the collaboration?
5. How do you normally use the library, if you do: as part of your work or private
Tape-recorded interviews were transcribed and analyzed to identify how the new
set of services was designed and implemented in collaboration with different
organizations. Some results have been reported elsewhere [e.g., 13, 14].
In this paper, ethnomethodology’s approach was adopted in the analysis ;
and more specifically, the focus was on identifying the practical reasoning or
understanding commonly held by different types of stakeholders when engaging
in the new service. In so doing, the author examined ways in which services as
organizational constructs are handled, specifically as a part of activities.
3 Services as Solutions
Services as Solutions Provided by Organizations
The business support service can be defined as a solution provided by public
libraries. When treated as a solution, it is as a new way of meeting the main
objective of public libraries: “linking knowledge and people.” However, as the
service is based on existent public library services, members involved in the
program do not treat it as an alternative to existing services.
As a solution, it consists of three methods of meeting the goal of “linking
knowledge and people.” While these methods have long been available as a
traditional part of libraries’ methods, the ways in which they are actually
implemented may be different from the past as it can be seen in the below. The
business support service is seen as comprised of the three adjusted methods
(1) Locating, collecting, and managing knowledge
(2) Curating knowledge
(3) Helping users navigate through the library system
Locating, Collecting, and Managing Knowledge
Creating a Special Section for Business
In creating the business support service, the libraries typically create a section
dedicated to this subject area, where books, journals, pamphlets, magazines, and
often databases are brought together. These can otherwise be scattered in different
parts of the library. This can be understood as ‘curating knowledge,’ through the
selection and presentation of reference material.
Service Practices as Organizational Phenomena
At the time this research started in 2005, the business support service was still
relatively new and unusual in Japan’s public libraries, in the sense that the service
had narrowed its subject area to “business.” The act of providing a service under a
particular topic was unusual at that time, while later, other services on specific
topics—such as law and health—followed suit.
The majority of the special section is mainly books and journals. Librarians collect
them as a source of knowledge people might find useful in solving their problems.
Librarians also collect various pamphlets and brochures on relevant information,
including business fairs, seminars on starting businesses, financial advice, and other
related events and resources. The libraries obtained these information pamphlets
mainly through the network the libraries created with business-related
Locating knowledge is another thing librarians engaged with this service often
pursue. Creating a web link collection for a specific subject area is one way of
locating knowledge. The collection can include specialist organizations, as well as
pathfinders available at the National Diet Library.
As a part of developing this service, librarians contact business-related organizations. Some librarians find it critical to connect with the business network. For
some, getting to know people in specialist organizations is another way of locating
knowledge in the local area. They can take advantage of these connections to help
users solve their problems.
As part of creating and maintaining the special business section, some libraries ask
for specialists’ help. The specialists decide whether key books for one area are
included in collections. As some information needs to be quickly kept up-to-date,
books need to be reviewed and updated regularly. In addition to making sure that
updated and reliable information is available in the library collections, specialists
can also contribute to selecting books. Librarians may ask for specialists’ opinions
when purchasing expensive books (i.e., which one to choose from amongst candidate books).
While librarians do most of the management of library collections and other
information resources, they sometimes ask specialists to help, to make sure that
their collections are appropriate. Since specialists may also refer their visitors to the
libraries’ collections, and they themselves may use these resources, it can be critical
that librarians manage collections in collaboration with specialists.
Maintaining a network with specialists in the local area may be another aspect of
knowledge management if the librarians consider specialists as additional important resources for their libraries. Traditionally, networking was not usually considered part of their work, but it has become a key part for some of the librarians who
are engaged in the business support service.
Organizing Seminars and Lectures
In addition to setting up a special section, the librarians typically organize seminars
and lectures on business-related topics. The topics can range from how to start a
new business to intellectual property, information resources, and methods of market
analysis. Lecturers are those with specialized knowledge in the local business
community. The events are organized by the libraries or by other groups or
organizations, with the libraries hosting the events as a co-sponsor.
Holding seminars and lectures is a way of ‘curating knowledge,’ in the sense that
the libraries select people with specific knowledge, often from the local business
community. Seminars and lectures may attract people interested in immediate
problem solving or exposure to something of potential interest now or in the future.
In this sense, these events can attract people who have different reasons for
obtaining specific knowledge, who may or may not be ‘library users.’
As part of the business support service, the libraries organize different displays.
Book displays on current topics are typically organized in or near the related
section. In addition to book displays, libraries organize displays of industrial
products related to the local area, such as a display of furniture made from local
cedar trees or products from local companies that have won a national prize. They
create these displays in collaboration with local industry promotion centers. Thus,
creating a display is another way of ‘curating knowledge’ about a business subject
in books and the local business community.
Service Practices as Organizational Phenomena
Helping Users Navigate Through the Library System
Navigation Through Mechanisms
Libraries have traditionally provided users with navigational mechanisms for
searching collections and other information resources so that they can access
knowledge on their own. Arranging bookshelves with signs is one way of helping
users navigate. However, inevitably, books and magazines on one subject may not
always be together, or books classified under “commerce” (380 in the Dewy
Decimal Classification) are shelved some distance from books under “business
enterprise” (338.7). Creating a special section for business is one new way of
helping users who are specifically interested in searching the collection and other
information resources within this subject area.
While librarians expect people to find relevant information using the libraries’
standard navigation tools, they traditionally also provide opportunities for personal
navigation through, for example, reference services. In addition, libraries also
provide business consultation services. They usually collaborate with government
organizations as well as nongovernmental groups—such as the Chamber of Commerce and Industry or other specialist groups to set up this consultation service.
These specialist groups or organizations generally regard libraries as having access
to people who may feel reluctant to visit their specialist organizations unless they
have a specific purpose or developed plan.
4 Services as Organized Environments
The Service as an Environment Organized Under
an Organizational Scheme
As part of developing business support services in libraries, librarians strive to
make their capabilities and their library collection more visible to the public by
referring to the business support service as an organized environment developed
under an organizational scheme.
By creating a special section dedicated to this subject area, which contains
books, journals, pamphlets, magazines, and often databases that can be otherwise
scattered in different parts of the library, the collection is certainly made more
visible. Librarians also promote their capabilities by placing signs next to the
business collection, with a message that users can ask for help at the counter.
Further, by holding seminars and lectures on business-related topics in the libraries,