The Concept of Value in the Design Practice BY: Katarina Wetter Edman

Summary: The ways in which designers think about their design or service has moved into thinking about is as ‘value-in-use,’ which is a more complex way of holistically looking at a service and understanding it through ‘contextualization and emotions.’ There is a trend growing for designers to focus on experience to create more success with business. Everything within the business world can be seen as a service, and service design is becoming more about the ‘value-in-use’ and even ‘value-in-social-context,’ but it is hard to evaluate any measurement to these new values.  As this becomes more important, service designers need to understand what exactly is ‘value’ to be able to work with it. This article explains what value could mean through the eyes of the customer and service designers.

Value is no longer looked at in a monetary way, but towards value as a concept, such as when the product is actually used, it holds value. The concept of value has been derived into “principles of the situated, individual and conceived” with in the context of the design for the customer. The value of the product to the customer is often encompassed in emotions that are hard to measure, but more research is being done on how to breakdown emotion into an understandable form, so their input can be helpful to describing the value of a service.

The next part is how service designers think about their designs in relation to value and emotion. When service designers were interviewed, three themes emerged for WHY they design, “1) Doing good, 2) Bringing value through emotions, 3) Insights as contextual understanding of customer and firm.” But what is found out is that service designers don’t talk about value when thinking about design, but they talk about emotions, people, and personal experience. They designed through focusing on emotions to design around, and so by doing this they create value for a design.



Reflection: It is interesting to think about how value in being broken down into ‘value-in-use’ and ‘value-in-social-context’ which would be interesting to think about designing a product through these as a ‘lens.’ The business world is turning more to understanding what good design is, and they still try to measure it, like how they are trying to measure emotions. I find this very much in contrast with how designers think, and this is apparent in this essay. Designers think about emotions abstractly, and fully, but are able to create concrete design and structure around real people and things. This is what gives value to a design that is created for people, even if that is hard to measure. How the design is used and how it makes social clout is where the design is not being measured and through this is creating the value.



Designing for Service, Multidisciplinary Perspective BY L. Kimbell & V.P. Seidel

Summary: This article starts with comparing the differences in perspective that manufacturing firms and service firms take when thinking about design. Manufacturing firms thought more about creativity and saw that designers had a role throughout the process, while business and financial firms said design had a very little role played. This leads to barriers within these fields because there are no clear results, and this leads to many people in these fields working in ‘silent design,’ where they are using design thinking and now knowing it. Manufacturing has learned to use design because it adds value to a product where it may have otherwise lost to competition because of this lack of something special.

The second half of the article describes peoples journey through understanding the perspectives on design. Over time design methods have developed from being a broad sense of what people do while they design to a series of tools. Then the article goes on the explain the different views on ‘artefact design’ and ‘service design’ through the perspective of what design methods are used. Mostly they have been artefact driven, but now, after much debate and study, service design tools may be a methods of working with people and a human centered design.


Reflection: This article is good at describing the two very different perspectives on design. I’ve learned why design has been more focused within the manufacturing field, and it is because you get a more tangible result that adds value and attracts customers on a production and consumption level. The second half describes in a bit more of a person opinion, where design has come from. I really liked when the author says that design is “anything one does while designing…” because it really shows how far the study of design thinking has come, it started as something so not understood and vague to something that is full of methods and tools for designing around people.


The Object of Service Design BY: Secomandi & Snelders

The Object of Service Design

Summary: This describes how service design has been used in many fields, from economics, management, and engineering and studies what exactly is the common role of this type of design. One thing that has emerged from service design has been ‘touchpoints’ and it is clear that this term and idea has come directly from what service design is at its core. The article then goes onto describe a service as something that you cannot tangibly have, that it is the in between spaces of the physical aspects of a product or system. Another way to look at service design is that it is the perceived value that the customer gives the product or system. Service design is also the developed and organized activities that a customer goes through within a service. Lastly, a service is that multiple intangible factors that connect the customer to the product and business. It Is all the aspects between what the product is and how people interact with it.  


Reflection: I think the author here states some very simplistic ideas in an overly complicated way. Service design is all the things that she says, and it mostly lies within the intangible region of a product or business and how people interact with those things. The object of service design really to me is to make these spaces have meaning to the creator and consumer.


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.”