Service design is a creative, viable and user-centered design process that is used by organisations to create value for their customers/users and a competitive advantage for the service provider.
Service design has evolved from a mix of established design disciplines as well as business strategy, and borrows the best methods and tools from product, interaction and communications design to create a process that works across multiple touchpoints and platforms.
Where does it come from?
Today, we understand service design to be a creative process used by designers, often working within innovative areas of a business. However this is a fairly recent development as the practice began life in the management literature of the late 70’s early 80’s, with examples of common service design tools such as blueprinting being used in the service industry.
It’s only over the past decade that designers have taken these tools as their own, combined them with user-centric design methods developed a new area and market for service deisgn. This mix of disciplines proved powerful for businesses and organisation that operated across multiple platforms and delivered services across many touchpoints.
This new interest in service design may also be explained by the number of new technologies emerging during this period. Meaning that products started to do more, integrate electronics and connect to wireless networks. This convergence between technology and products meant that several product and interaction design agencies found they were talking to their clients more about the service they were offering rather than the individual touchpoint they were designing.
In October 2011 there were over 189 member organisations of the International Service Design Network.
How to find out more
Due to the discipline being relatively new within the design community there is a large amount of debate and discussion, as those working with service design define it fully. Here are three places where you can find out more:
1: A good place to start is This Is Service Design Thinking, a collaboratively written textbook about service design.
2: Then have a look at Service Design Books, a review site for relevant books including comments and reviews from readers.
3: For the latest information, debate and resources on service design follow #servicedesign on twitter.