Delivering Experiences, Not Services with Shelley Kimball

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With the Russian invasion of the Ukraine, there has been a lot of discussion of the military in the news recently. As we see images on television of these conflicts, the service of those in the military comes into clearer focus. There are those who are giving their years, themselves, and even their lives. Even in 'peace time,' military members can go on long deployments not take them away from their homes and their families. While we often are reminded of the sacrifices of those in uniform, it can be easy to forget the sacrifices of those family members who also are affected.

On this episode of Experience by Design, we talk to Dr. Shelley Kimball, formerly of the Military Family Advisory Network. Shelley was the Vice President of Research and Program Evaluation at the MFAN, and is now Senior Lecturer and Program Coordinator at the Johns Hopkins University. In her role at MFAN, it was her job with her team to not just count how many services were delivered, but how many positive experiences were created.

In our conversation, we talk about how she and her team use experience design principles in the evaluation of services and programs provided by MFAN. Central to their work is to treat everyone with dignity and that they are a customer. They use qualitative measurement approaches to understand the meaning behind the experiences they provide. Their goal is to make sense of everything from the point of view of those who are their target audiences. As Shelley notes, while AI and ML can perhaps get you 80% of the way in your analysis, you can’t yet replace the human brain. Also, you can't just deliver services and count that as success. You need to see the meanings that are created for those you are serving.

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