The Helsinki workshop built on a Service Design Network (SDN) Member’s Day breakout session held at Adaptive Path as part of SDN’s 4th Annual Conference in San Francisco in October 2011 and asked the questions:

What Do Tomorrow’s Service Designers Need to Know?

What should a Masters Level Service Design Curriculum look like?  

The workshop didn’t answer the questions – but began conversations around which different masters programmes can debate, define and differentiate themselves.

Key people involved in developing the Helsinki workshop:

Katarina Wetter Edman, Center for Service Research, Karlstad, Sweden, Elena Pacenti Domus Academy, Milano and Professor Birgit Mager, Köln International School of Design, Cologne. We are also very grateful to the thirty five participants from Europe, North America, Asia and Australia who gave their time to pour their knowledge into brown bags.

The drop down menus enable access to the categories and content headers developed during the workshop, which cover aspects of curriculum development from the desirable skills a candidate would bring in to a service design programme, to the skills they should take outto who should be teaching them and what the curriculum should contain.  You can add comments, share links etc. either here on this site or via the wikki – both have particular merits at this stage of the project. We will evaluate which platform has the most value in early 2013 and combine them.

Stefan Holmlid, Linköpings Universitet and Hazel White, University of Dundee, UK.

Service design has been taught in design schools since the early 1990s. New service development has been taught in management schools and in engineering schools service engineering and industrial engineering has touched on topics related to the design of services. As service design masters and bachelors programmes developed globally, in a wide range of Universities, there is a desire to find common framework and to learn from each other.

Workshop at ServDes, Laurea University, Finland 2012.

A sketch outline of current masters courses and research programmes at  KISDDomus AcademyLinköpings UniversitetLaurea, the University of Dundee, SCAD and the Center for Service Research, Karlstad was presented by the workshop leaders:  Elena Pacenti, Birgit Mager, Stefan Holmlid and Hazel White with contributions from Katri Ojasalo.

Quotes had been gathered from service design practitioners and researchers on the three ‘must haves’ for tomorrow’s service designers, to seed discussion:

Lucy Kimbell,  head of social design at the Young Foundation and associate fellow at the Saïd Business School, focused on concepts, contexts, theories and frameworks. Graduates should have:

“have theories, concepts and frameworks of the socio-material worlds within and for which they design.
have theories, concepts and frameworks of the organisations, communities, projects and teams within and for which they design
be able to explain where they themselves are located and accountable in the contexts in which they work”

Rory Hamilton, service designer with Made by many and formerly with  live|work and Orange talked about understanding and communicating whole systems and experiences:

“See the whole service system and explain that to stakeholders
Being able to communicate user experiences
Learning to experience prototype”

Katri Ojasalo, Head of Master’s Degree Programme in Service Innovation and Design at Laurea, focussed on creating value and the ability to visualise:
“Customer/user value formation,
Business value formation,
Visualising processes, concepts & systems”

Fabian Segelström, PhD student in Service Design at Linköping University again taked about visualising and also how to understand the intangible.

“Services are systems rather than non-goods
Suitable ways of visualising services
Prototyping the intangible”

The main part of the session was to work in small groups to develop themes and populate them with content.

Alison Prendiville, Programme Director, M.Des Service innovation, London College of Communication.

“The importance of the observational in understanding the service context
The inter-relationship between the business model and the service system
The relevance of the visual (including prototyping) as an active and social process in defining, developing and desiging the service system”


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