Service Design: A framework for continuous improvement and innovation

Service Design became more and more popular over the last decade as an approach to continuously improve existing offerings as well as innovating completely new ones. It refers to innovating both tangible products and services. Nowadays service design is used to connect people and technologies across multiple channels.

Service Design is based on an iterative process including people from various backgrounds and departments to co-create together with front-line employees and customers.

In its nature, it includes a variety of activities such as qualitative research methods to understand employees and customer experiences in context, co-creative and human-centered ideation methods, and service prototyping methods to quickly and cheaply test new ideas before investing big bucks in development.

The iterative process of Service Design

Imagine the process of designing a better workplace service. That process might start with research to discover what kind of workplace service potential customers would prefer. Based on these explorations, designers start creating ideas and the first design concept is born. Prototypes are built and tested in terms of usability, functionality, cost, market response and so on. Only if these tests remain positive, the new service will be implemented.

For companies a well-documented process ensures higher market resonance, lowering risk of reputational damage as well as minimizing new service launch mistakes. Nevertheless, it makes sure to only deliver services where we can create the highest emotional value for the user and save costs at places where our emotional impact is minimal.

And even though there’s a common basic idea of the process, it shouldn’t be considered as a how-to guide. Rather the very first step of implementing a service design process should be to design the process itself.


About Author:  Marc Stickdorn

Marc helps organizations to embed service design in their organizational structures and processes. Together with Jakob Schneider, he published the award-winning book “This is Service Design Thinking” in 2010. Marc is Co-founder and CEO of "More than Metrics", a company creating software for service design, such as Smaply, a web-based software to visualize customer experiences, and ExperienceFellow, a combination of mobile apps and web-based software to research customer experience through mobile ethnography. Besides, he regularly speaks at conferences on service design and startups, teaches service design at various universities. If he’s not working, Marc loves travelling, sailing, and his motorcycle.