Learnings and tools for customer experience design
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Service design education

23. June 2014

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Service design education

by Marc Stickdorn

I am teaching service design at many different universities – both in business and design schools. I have the feeling that education in service design is often too much focusing on tools (such as personas, stakeholder maps, customer journey maps, etc.). Of course, these tools are important, but their purpose is to visualise the context of an experience or service ecosystem. They should serve as a basis for discussion, as a boundary object, but they should not be the final delivery. Service design shouldn’t end with nice concepts, but with implemented products, services, processes, etc. – whatever makes a difference in the experiences customers (or employees) have!

Therefore, I argue that we need to teach it the same way. Rather focus on getting stuff done than only talk about tools and thereby remaining on the concept level only. Students need to put prototypes in front of customers. Learn from feedback and iterate. At the end of the day, the best way to learn process and methods of design research, facilitating co-creative workshops, all the tools we use in service design, prototyping new ideas in reality, etc. is by doing it.

As my service design course at the MCI management center Innsbruck ended, I wanted to share with you some of the projects the students worked on during the last weeks. They had to improve the tourist experience in Innsbruck/Austria.

I asked students to create Facebook pages for their projects. Have a look at their amazing work and see how much they focused on prototyping in context (and keep in mind that they are management students with no design background…):

Scoot InnToiLuxeInns’SportPowerDock, Connecting You, MyDealify, Meet the local, World Wide Menu, Scan & Ski, myBuddy (in random order)

Marc is co-founder of More than Metrics, and editor and co-author of the award-winning books This is Service Design Thinking and This is Service Design Doing. He regularly gives talks and workshops on service design and innovation, and teaches at various business and design schools.
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