What is Service Design

What are services, to start with?

A fundamental characteristic of services is that they create value only when we use them.

–Service Design: From Insight to Implementation



People are at the heart of services; they enter into a relationship with professionals and service providers, and their interactions are an act of co-producing the service experience.


So what is Service Design?

It’s designing for relationships and experiences that evolve and change over time, rather than just in terms of short moments of consumption or usage.

–Service Design: From Insight to Implementation


Service design differentiates itself from other ways of working because:

  1. It parts from the needs of the end user.
  2. It is co-created and tested “with” all the stakeholders instead of “for them”.
  3. It has a holistic and strategic point of view, looking for long term sustainability and adapting to change.
  4. It works for big organizations as well as for small initiatives or collectives, because it adapts to the context and it’s people-centric.

In simple words

When you have 2 coffee shops right next to each other, that each sell the exact same coffee at the exact same price; service design is what makes you walk into the one and not the other, come back often and tell your friends about it.

–Marc Fonteijn

Here’s a  short video explaining how far the design of a service could go.

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