Designing Services with Innovative Methods

Designing Services with Innovative Methods

This weekend I took some time to savor my review copy of Designing Services with Innovative Methods, edited by Satu Miettinen and Mikko Koivisto. I’ve been browsing through the text for a few weeks now but I really wanted to go back through the pages in detail and take some notes. There are valuable insights to follow up in literally every essay.

Lots of books provide tangential insight into service design but until now it’s been tough to extract value on more than a piecemeal basis. I’m pleased to finally add a comprehensive service design title to my library.

While I’m confident recommending this book to service designers and particularly to students I don’t think it’s the best vehicle to evangelize the discipline outside the ranks of the converted. Some of it is painfully academic in tone and it takes some dedication to make it through a few of the essays. Of course it’s difficult to find fault with an academic institution producing an academic text and the book itself is incredibly welcome but we still need a more generally accessible title on the subject.

The book begins with an excellent introduction to service design by Satu Miettinen. It includes a detailed 10-page glossary that really deserves wider circulation.

The balance of the text is divided into three sections. The first expands on the overview and is comprised of five essays: “Service Design as an Emerging Field” by Birgit Mager, “Service Design in the Age of Networks and Sustainability” by Ezio Manzini, “Service Designers’ Methods” by Satu Miettinen (editor), “From Interaction to Service” by Stefan Holmlid and “Developing Service Design Education” by Katri and Jukka Ojasalo.

The next section, on service design practice, also features five essays: “Can Designers Help Deliver Better Services?” by Fran Samalionis of IDEO [PDF 7.6MB], “Frameworks for Structuring Services and Customer Experiences” by Mikko Koivisto (editor), “Designing Public Services” by Paul Thurston of ThinkPublic, “Who Do We Think We Are? by Arne van Oosterom of DesignThinkers, and “Service Design as a Tool for Innovation Leadership” by Kai Hämäläinen and Miia Lammi.

Finally, an interesting collection of case studies rounds out the book: “Service Design Pressure Cookers” by Remko Van Der Lugt, “Service Design for Social Innovation” by Miaosen Gong, “Relational Services and Conviviality” by Carla Cipolla and “Service Design in Tourism” by Marc Stickdorn.

The essays that most resonate with me include the case study regarding convivial services, the practice articles by Paul Thurston and Fran Samalionis and the essay by Stefan Holmlid on the relationship between interaction design and service design which nicely mirrors my own entry into the discipline.

It’s impossible to review this book without mentioning the sumptuous graphic design by Niina Turtola. It’s overflowing with rich color and sprinkled with illustrations and photographs on luscious paper that offset the academic tone. This is one of the most beautiful books on design I’ve ever encountered.

Published by the University of Art and Design in Helsinki in coordination with the Kuopio Academy of Design, you can order a copy through the TaiK Bookshop.


  1. Haha- my order is still on the way :o)

    you know what? we should do a read group on the books we all ready- like the good old days when you sit down with friends, nice tea and cakes, and a good book…

    Q

  2. redjotter

    Qin – you should have come along to my book group at Uni!

    Jeff – did you notice my photographs in Arne’s section? ;) Very pleased with them

  3. Jeff

    Hi Qin, we should figure out some way to do that. The service design reading group over in the Netherlands shouldn’t get to have all the fun.

    And Lauren, congrats on getting published! I did notice the byline. I suppose those four photos go all the way back to when you first started your blog. Nice to see the project in print.




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