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2024/2025  KAN-CDIBV2402U  Service Design and Innovation

English Title
Service Design and Innovation

Course information

Language English
Course ECTS 7.5 ECTS
Type Elective
Level Full Degree Master
Duration One Semester
Start time of the course Autumn
Timetable Course schedule will be posted at calendar.cbs.dk
Max. participants 80
Study board
Master of Science (MSc) in Business Administration and Digital Business
Course coordinator
  • Mads Bødker - Department of Digitalisation (DIGI)
Main academic disciplines
  • Information technology
  • Innovation
  • Experience economy
Teaching methods
  • Blended learning
Last updated on 29-01-2024

Relevant links

Learning objectives
To achieve the grade 12, students should meet the following learning objectives with no or only minor mistakes or errors:
  • Identify, use and compare selected methods and tools from the field of service design
  • Do in-depth analysis and documentation of customer needs and other stakeholder needs and requirements in a service system
  • Reflectively apply findings from empirical work to service innovations
  • Reflect on broader methodological aspects of various methods within the field of service design
  • Develop and present a comprehensively documented and motivated prototype of a service design and use expressive visualizations of a service
  • Actively use prototyping methods and tools to produce and evaluate a service design prototype
Prerequisites for registering for the exam (activities during the teaching period)
Number of compulsory activities which must be approved (see section 13 of the Programme Regulations): 2
Compulsory home assignments
1. Individual assignment: Finding, reading and providing a 1 page summary of 2 peer-reviewed papers on service design, 1 page in total covering both papers. The review must include reviews of a specific/type of method which is of particular importance for the project or a review on how other designers have dealt with a problem or solution similar the project the student is working on.

Oral presentations etc.
2. Group assignment: The students will be participating in design group work (min. 2 people). This is also the exam group. Hand in a 3-page (excluding references) work-in-progress findings of the project, formatted according the description of exam procedure for the report. The document must have a working title, problem formulation along with the context of the project, summary of methods in a table and the design methodology, and the outcomes as insights in the form of illustrations, quotes, and design decisions & dilemmas. The content of the document are presented in the class by the exam groups as part of three different presentations.

Retake of both assignments:
If a student cannot participate in one or two of the compulsory activities due to documented illness, or if a student does not get the activity approved in spite of making a real attempt, then the student will be given an extra attempt before the ordinary exam date. This extra attempt is a 10 page home assignment which will cover the two mandatory activities, as well as reflections on the project domain, theories, methods, and approaches.
Service Design and Innovation:
Exam ECTS 7,5
Examination form Oral exam based on written product

In order to participate in the oral exam, the written product must be handed in before the oral exam; by the set deadline. The grade is based on an overall assessment of the written product and the individual oral performance, see also the rules about examination forms in the programme regulations.
Individual or group exam Oral group exam based on written group product
Number of people in the group 2-5
Size of written product Max. 5 pages
The report must be accompanied by a poster detailing e.g. problem, process, outcomes and findings. The poster must be in print, i.e. similar to a conference presentation poster. The final format and style of the poster is decided by the students.
Assignment type Project
Release of assignment An assigned subject is released in class
Written product to be submitted on specified date and time.
20 min. per student, including examiners' discussion of grade, and informing plus explaining the grade
Grading scale 7-point grading scale
Examiner(s) Internal examiner and second internal examiner
Exam period Winter
Make-up exam/re-exam
Same examination form as the ordinary exam
Description of the exam procedure

The exam will be a group oral examination based on a poster (i.e. a "conference presentation poster") and the written group report.


This entails that student groups must prepare a five-page paper (excluding references, but not exceeding six pages including references) in the ACM "Extended Abstracts" format (download template here: https://chi2018.acm.org/chi-proceedings-format/) as well as an A1-A0 poster presentation that takes its outset in their service design work. 

The poster must be brought to the exam in printed format. 

The short paper report must contain a brief description of the project as well as a theoretical and methodological critique of, and reflections on, the design process and the results obtained.

Course content, structure and pedagogical approach

Service Design (SD) can be described as the activity of orchestrating people, infrastructures, digital- and other components of a service journey to improve its experiential and practical qualities. This is accomplished by engaging with people/users and customer perspectives, imagining, creating and evaluating a variety of artefacts that innovatively support positive service experiences. This course focuses on digital artefacts in a broader service journey, how they can be imagined, created and evaluated from a human-centric perspecive.


Whilst the idea of service design has a particular history, much work in the field today is highly interdisciplinary, and is performed with a high degree of stakeholder engagement as well as a focus on user/customer experiences (UX). It involves both an anthropological curiosity, reflective/creative practices and an ongoing evaluation of various aspects of service quality.


Digital tools and interfaces of many kinds have found their way into the provision of services in both corporate business and public settings (with various levels of success). Human-centered design is increasingly forms the backbone of may organizational innovation processes, and an ongoing, comprehensive focus on experience and service quality is key to the provision of elegant, efficient, effective, and memorable services.

Goals for Service Design include considerations of usefulness, usability, efficiency, effectiveness as well as desirability and satisfaction, mirroring criteria often used in the evaluation of digital interfaces. However, the interdisciplinary nature of services relies on innovative practitice and a design mindset that addresses a more comprehensive landscapes of the user context rather than focusing exclusively on a single perspective or interactions with a single (digital) artefact. 


This course will engage with both practice-oriented literatures as well as the theoretical backdrop that informs SD practices. Students will be equipped with both conceptual as well as creative service design attitudes and sensibilities that can help inform future design processes for service innovation in businesses and organizations. The course will present approaches to human-centric design (the anthropological curiosity) as well as dive into the creative processes that aid the construction of new product-service concepts. Particular attention will be given to the work on creating prototypes and prototyping in the effort to design digital touchpoints embedded within broader service infrastructures.


The key tools on the course will be highly eclectic, but will broadly cover UX-oriented sketching, service design mapping, blueprinting, prototyping, scenario exploration, personas, as well as a variety of tools for data collection and user-centered evaluations.


Students are required to work in groups on a self selected case.

Description of the teaching methods
First and foremost, the course is intended as a practical and industry-relevant design course. Thus, students must, within the first 2 weeks establish contact with company or organization that could be relevant for service design interventions. This can be any company that provide services in any sector; health, education, entertainment, insurance, public- or civil services (e.g. policing, housing, cleaning, care, etc. etc.), HR, information, transport, banking, value-added goods etc.

Alternatively, services can be considered as experiments with extending the activities of more traditional product-oriented companies.

Student activities will mainly be centered on their own case, drawing on the various academic literatures in service design and adjoining fields presented on the course
Feedback during the teaching period
The course provides 3 'design critique' session where students will present their design case and preliminary thoughts on data collection and ideas/solutions. The teacher as well as the student peers will be tasked with giving constructive feedback and critique to the presentations.

The course is run with lectures and exercises/workshops, making sure that approximately half of the activities (= 24 hrs) are 'hands on' design oriented, giving the students a supervised space for homing in on their solution. The teacher will give continous feedback on student activities and give feedback to students after in-class presentations.

Office hours are provided, and can be used by groups for feedback on their progress with their design project.
Student workload
Lectures 24 hours
Preparation for class 100 hours
Workshops 24 hours
Exam and preparation 58 hours
Total 206 hours
Expected literature

Main book:


Sangiorgi & Prendiville (eds.), 2017: Designing for Service; Key Issues and New Directions. Bloomsbury.


Articles (indicative)


Clatworthy, S. (2011). Service Innovation Through Touch-points: Development of an Innovation Toolkit for the First Stages of New Service Development, In International Journal of Design Vol.5 No.2 2011


Dalsgaard, P. (2014). Pragmatism and design thinking. International Journal of Design, 8(1)


Darzentas, J., & Darzentas, J. S. (2014). Systems thinking in design: service design and self-services. FORMakademisk, 7(4).


Elsden, C., Chatting, D., Durrant, A., Garbett, A., Nissen, B., Vines, J., and Kirk, D. (2017). On speculative enactments. Proc. of the 2017 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems.


Hildén, E., Ojala, J., and Väänänen, K. (2016). User Needs and Expectations for Future Traveling Services in Buses. In Proceedings of the 9th Nordic Conference on Human-Computer Interaction (NordiCHI '16)


Holmlid, S., & Evenson, S. (2007). Prototyping and enacting services : Lessons learned from human-centered methods. Proceedings of QUIS, 2007


Keirnan, A., Murphy, A., Pedell, S., and Marcello, F. (2016). Exploring emotions for technology and service design in health care setting waiting rooms. OzCHI '16: Proceedings of the 28th Australian Conference on Computer-Human Interaction


Kolko, J (2010) Abductive Thinking and Sensemaking: The Drivers of Design Synthesis, Design Issues: Volume 26, Number 1 Winter 2010


Lim, Y-K., Stolterman, E., and Tenenberg, J. (2008). The anatomy of prototypes: Prototypes as filters, prototypes as manifestations of design ideas. ACM Trans. Comput.-Hum. Interact. 15, 2, Article 7


Roto, V, Lee J-J, , Law, E. and Zimmerman, J. 2021. The Overlaps and Boundaries Between Service Design and User Experience Design. In Proceedings of the 2021 ACM Designing Interactive Systems Conference (DIS '21)


Stappers, P.J. & Giaccardi, E. (2017). Research through design. In M. Soegaard, R. Friis-Dam (Eds.), The encyclopedia of human-computer interaction, Aarhus, Denmark (2017)


Support writeups and online resources:


Boag, P. (2020) Service Design: What Is It, What Does It Involve and Should You Care? At: https:// boagworld.com/​digital-strategy/​service-design/​


Figma (n.d.). What is rapid prototyping https:/​/​www.figma.com/​resource-library/​what-is-rapid-prototyping/​


Dam, R. F., & Siang, T. Y. (2020). Design Thinking: Get Started with Prototyping. Interaction Design Foundation. https:/​/​www.interaction-design.org/​literature/​article/​design-thinking-get-started-with- prototyping 


Mandatory assignments related to the literature


Find 2 peer reviewed papers

Last updated on 29-01-2024