Service Design

/ˈsɝː.vɪs dɪˈzaɪn/

The application of design thinking to the improvement or creation of services.

You can find countless definitions of service design. Similar to design thinking and depending on people’s (academic) backgrounds and schools of thought they might define it as a mindset, a process (often the double-diamond), a toolset, a management idea, etc. If you are interested in a more comprehensive overview of these we recommend Mager , Stickdorn & Schneider , and Stickdorn et al. .

For simplicity’s sake, we often like to use this one, which is the result of an expert crowdsourcing project by Megan Miller: “Service design helps organizations see their services from a customer perspective. It is an approach to designing services that balances the needs of the customer with the needs of the business, aiming to create seamless and quality service experiences. Service design is rooted in design thinking, and brings a creative, human-centered process to service improvement and designing new services. Through collaborative methods that engage both customers and service delivery teams, service design helps organizations gain true, end-to-end understanding of their services, enabling holistic and meaningful improvements.”


Stickdorn, M., & Schneider, J. (2011). This is Service Design Thinking: Basics - Tools - Cases (6 edition). BIS Publishers.
Mager, B. (2009). What is Service Design? Touchpoint, 1(1).
Stickdorn, M., Hormess, M., Lawrence, A., & Schneider, J. (2017). This is Service Design Doing: Using Research and Customer Journey Maps to Create Successful Services. O’Reilly UK Ltd.