Service Positioning Through Structural Change by G.Lynn Shostack

Summary: This article gives tools and guides for how to break down services in a more structural way to understand them better. As a whole, people do not realize what services are included in what they already have, such as an airport. Shostack talks about structural analysis of the service using tools such as a ‘complexity and divergence’ matrix, and breaking the service down into blueprints. The matrix shows how complicated a service can be in comparison to how many ways it offers it. Blueprint maps show all the details about a service so you can more easily see the inter-relations of the people working and the customers so they you can better understand and improve upon it.


Reflection: Shostacks’ article was written at the beginning of service design and offers simple ideas in a complex way. This “high complexity” article outlines some basic tools and ways of thinking that I find are the basis of what service design is today. Analysing a service in a complexity x divergent matrix is something that I had not thought of, but find most useful when envisioning a new service.



Service Design as an Emerging Field by: Birgit Mager

“Service Design addresses the functionality and form of services from the perspective of the user. It aims to ensure that service interfaces are useful, usable, and desirable from the clients point of view and effective, efficient, and distinctive from the suppliers point of view.” 


Summary: The article starts with the idea that “producer” means moving forward, but “services” means runner. Now service design and research is catching up with such companies as IBM. Service design deals a lot of customer satisfaction, and based on a study a customer, even if they are perfectly satisfied, they will switch if they have a more meaningful experience at another company. Now, a design education can no longer just be about technical skills, but need to incorporate how to think about design and ask the big questions. Studying service design as a field has been largely expanded through universities, agencies and conferences. As a service designer you are designing an experience while bridging business and technology.  What is needed now in this field is a complete universal understanding of the terms and methods so that as a whole it can expand and continue to be studied.

Reflection: I think that this article is the most concise look at how service design came to be, where it is now and where it is going. Considering we are taking a masters level class in this, the field has continued to grow and be studied. I agree that now service design has a baseline vernacular and definitions, that more people can more universally understand and use all the tools.

Tips for doing your laundry? Why, when you don’t have to!

Tips for doing your laundry? Why, when you don’t have to!

Here is a good example of how much effort it is to share laundry with people in an apartment complex say it’s in the basement. You always have to put some effort into it, whether its cleaning the machine extra or checking for bleach. This is good content for why people don’t want to do their laundry and inspiration for how to market to people and want people want.

Thinking and Doing Ethnography in Service Design BY: Segelström, Raijmakers, Holmlid

Summary: This article starts out by saying that ethnography has been used in design, but the people who use it say that it is impossible to go through the entire methods of ethnography because it takes too long and is too rigorous. Here the author states through two case studies that it is possible to conduct proper ethnography in the design world. Service design is new as a whole, but its methods of research that are centered around people are ethnographic methods. Ethnography has evolved from ‘participant observation’ where a person immerses themselves in a social group and these methods have spread through many social science disciplines.

These methods of ethnography can sit well in any place in the design process from the start of creating concepts to user testing. The author, however, thinks when designers change the methods or use a short time frame that this causes tension with the research and does not create a good ethnography environment. In the end, service designers benefit from the use of ethnographic methods, even if they just ‘shape research or strategy,’ but it is clear that service designers learn a lot from ‘empathic methods’ to learn about the emotional level of the customer. Over time, service design methods in ethnography will be shaped and merged as more studies go on, and will have less friction points than traditional ethnography.


Reflection: I think the strongest skills that I have learned through design innovation have come from doing ethnographic research. As a graphic designer I never much had to consider the user, but going on the two research trips that I have been on this year has been incredibly eye opening, and I don’t think I could ever create a project where I did not do some sort of ethnographic research methods. I think the author wants people to stick a bit too strictly to the exact research methods when as a designer I understand the time constraints and need to appropriate some of the methods.


“By being involved already from the first design iterations, or even before, ethnographic approaches can be applied during most stages of the design process, from exploration of the context of future users to testing of experience prototypes in situ.“

“Service design aims to make empathic connections with future users of a service, and tries to step into their shoes as a starting point for speculation about new service concepts.”