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The Service Ecomomy

             Bank of America appears to be on the cutting edge of service provision. In the attached article from the Harvard Business Review, Stefan Thomke points to BOA's refreshing approach towards service innovation. After reading the article, summarize their approach and develop two suggestions pertaining to how the hospitality industry could apply some of these same principles. .
             People rely on service yet there is no innovation process to improve these services. To produce a breakthrough service many companies put no effort into it and rely on trial and error. The Bank of America however has invented a way to improve services through research and development (R&D). .
             They executed several experiments in 20 of their banks in the Atlanta area. But before just simply trying new procedures they assembled as Innovation and Development (I&D) Team, which was an innovation in itself. The group came up with more than 200 ideas on how to improve the banks, and 40 of those ideas were tested. But before they tested them in a real bank, they made a prototype bank at their Charlotte headquarters and the team exercised their ideas in different situations. They worked out the few bugs that they had and were ready to implement them into a real bank setting with real customers.
             The Innovation and Development Team followed a 5-step process to select and execute the experiments in bank branches. The five steps included evaluating ideas, planning and designing, implementing ideas, testing the new ideas, and recommending the successful ideas. .
             They then selected 20 banks from the wealthier areas of Atlanta they reconfigured them into 3 different presentations. Five of the branches as "empress centers", which consisted of modern architecture and used for simple transactions such as deposits and withdrawals. Five were deemed "financial centers", a more relaxed environment and customers had access to a specialized staff and more sophisticated technology.

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