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Design for Services

Services, like contemporary artifacts, are impossible to control in all their aspects because of their heterogeneity and high degree of human intensity. Principles of ‘weak thinking’ (Vattimo and Rovatti, 1998) may apply; accepting the fundamental inability of design to completely plan and regulate services, while considering its capacity to create conditions for certain forms of interactions and relationships to happen.

The principal sources of innovation in the service industries are employees and customers (Miles 2001), replacing competitors (Tekes, 2007. A Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation study). New ideas are generated through user interactions, i.e. user-driven innovations. The Oslo Manual (OECD Eurostat 2005) has been updated to include product and process innovations, marketing and organisational innovations, and considers non-R&D sources of innovation as strategic for the development of the service industry.


Figure 1. Innovation in the value network. Representation of the main areas of and sources for service innovation

IHIP Services Framework

Four characteristics (or shortcomings, compared to products):

1.       Intangibility, escape our physical human touch; performances rather than objects; distinction between physical intangibility and mental intangibility

2.       Heterogeneity, quality of service varies over time

3.       Inseparability of production and consumption, requires the presence of the customer from the service to exist; most are highly interactive, dependent on person-to-person interaction

4.       Perishability, cannot be stored, so just-in-time delivery

Human-centered Design

User-centered design has been the main framework into experiences and interactions. With growing complexity, there is a shifting emphasis toward human centered design.



Design makes the difference

Design can be thought of as both as a process and as an outcome. Also, as an experimental mind-set.  Apple’s design and development process can be broken down into three elements—beauty, ingenuity, and charisma.

Motorola for their LUNAR had a research team examine global consumer lifestyles and preferences. A set of design principles resulted, for four consumer segments of interest. This is an essential element of a design team’s job, to strategize with companies about their current concepts and future products before starting product design, in a design studio. A suite of conceptual designs are the outcome, that are early prototypes that are used as inspirations by a design team to create products in harmony with the four design languages. Motorola’s culture dictated that engineering decision take top priority, at times at the expense of wowing customers.

Apple’s designs by contrast, have a deep and uncompromising aesthetic. While Motorola retains the ability to make a last-minute mashup of a product; weighed down by the four C’s—cost, competition, customers, and capability.

In Apple’s view, while most companies chase market share, Apple takes a top-line approach.

Engineering invention and ingenuity have driven Motorola success since it was founded in 1928 as Galvin Manufacturing Corporation.

Design is systems thinking

Product and context are one.

Experience design

Seeks to develop the experience of a product, service, or event along any or all of the following dimensions:


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