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Service Design for Effective Servitization and New Service Implementation



In this paper we attempt to contribute to this research gap by proposing design professionals as enablers of the servitization transition, and the design approach to service innovation as a set of tools and practices that product-centric organizations can use for service innovation and effective implementation.
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The role of service design practices in enabling
and embedding the servitization transition
CALABRETTA Giuliaa*; DE LILLE Christinea and BECK Carolineb
a Delft University of Technology
b Livework
* Corresponding author e-mail:
paper number: 140
An increasing number of companies are embracing the transition from a
product focus to a service focus in their offering in order to face the
challenges of the experience economy. However such transition (i.e.,
servitization) is challenging, since it requires companies to change both their
processes and their mindset. In this paper we propose service design
practices as an effective approach for overcoming the challenges of
servitization and for achieving such a multi-layered transformation. By
means of expert interviews, ethnography and multiple case studies, we
empirically show how service design professionals guide companies towards
a sustainable adoption of service orientation and successful implementation
of service innovations. Specifically, we describe and exemplify a set of
practices through which service design professionals establish a service-
oriented mindset, introduce a service-specific development process, and a
create widespread commitment to the servitization transition.
keywords: service design practices, servitization, organizational change
Several manufacturing firms are currently focusing on servitization to differentiate
themselves from competitors, to increase their revenues and to enhance customer
experience (Josephson et al. 2016; Oliva and Kallenberg 2003). Servitization is defined as
“the increased offering of fuller market packages or ‘bundles’ of customer focused
combinations of goods, services, support, self-service and knowledge in order to add value
to core product offerings” (Vandermerwe and Rada 1988, p. 314). Servitization is a key
strategic choice for organizations to adapt to a new kind of economy where services play a
key role in value propositions (Ostrom et al. 2015).
While there has been considerable research advancements in identifying the resources
and capabilities that enable manufacturing firms to successfully develop new services
(e.g., Raddats et al. 2015; Ulaga and Reinartz 2011), transforming a product-led business
(i.e., the organization and the culture) to service-led remains a challenge for many
companies (Kowlakowski et al. 2015; Ostrom et al. 2015; Raddats et al. 2015; Ulaga and
Loveland 2014). More research is needed on enabling the process of organizational
adaptation (i.e., the necessary changes in organizational structures and processes) and
embedding a service-oriented mindset (Ostrom et al. 2015). Integrating and transforming
the different (and sometimes conflicting) objectives and processes of product-led and
service-led strategies are not easy. On the one hand, manufacturing companies must
establish and reinforce a customer-centric mindset and service-led frame of reference for
organizational activities; on the other hand, they must attempt to leverage on existing
resources, capabilities and practices in order to contain the risks and sustain financial
performance (Kowlakowski et al. 2015). Thus, adaptation must not come at the expense of
performance (Eggert et al. 2014).
This article explores a possible new perspective for enabling and embedding the
servitization transition and, in particular, the required mindset and process adaptation:
service design and its strategic practices. Service design is a human-centred, co-creative,
iterative approach to the creation of new services (Blomkvist, Holmlid, and Segelström
2010). Researchers and practitioners are increasingly acknowledging service design as a
strategic driver of service innovation (Kimbell 2011; Patrício et al. 2011; Zomerdijk and
Voss 2009). Furthermore, as service design embraces holistic and system thinking (Brown
2008; Patricio et al. 2011), it supports innovating organizations to not only focus on the
development of a new service per se, but also to explore and understand cross-
departmental implications and the relational and softer aspects of innovation (Sangiorgi
2012). Thus, service design can help companies reframe their businesses and processes
around customer- and service-centric mindsets and practices, and become drivers of
organizational transformation (Andreassen et al. 2016; Sangiorgi and Prendiville 2014).
Despite its transformational potential, to our knowledge, no researcher has previously
empirically investigated the role of service design in the servitization transition. We
attempt to address this voidand simultaneously advance knowledge in the servitization
literatureby addressing the follow research question: how can service design support
and embed the servitization transition in manufacturing companies? To address the above
research question, we combined different qualitative methodologies (in-depth interviews,
ethnography, multiple case studies) to study how a service design consultancy uses its
service design practices to support manufacturing clients in their servitization transition.
The remainder of the paper is organized as follows. First, we briefly review relevant
literature on servitization and its challenges, and on the role of service design in service
innovation. Then, we describe our empirical investigation by explaining our research
design, its rationale and its execution. A presentation of our findings on the role of service
design in servitization transition follows, with a subsequent discussion of the findings to
draw conclusions on the role that service design can play in servitization and to position
our study within existing literature. Finally, we comment on the practical implications,
limitations and directions for further research.
Literature review
Servitization: A Challenging Transition
The transition of manufacturing firms from a product-led to a service-led strategy and the
progressive addition of service components to their product offerings have emerged as
crucial managerial practices and, subsequently, research topics. According to Kowalkowski
et al. (2015), the complexity of the servitization transition is due to transformation
encompassing three dimensions: from a product focus to a service delivery focus; from
standardization to customization; and from a transactional to a relational interaction with
customers. Pursuing all three dimensions implies increased complexity, coordination costs
and operational risk (Nordin et al. 2011).
According to Oliva and Kallenberg (2003), such complexity can stifle servitization efforts in
different ways. First, companies might lose confidence in the economic potential of
services, thus requiring significant additional effort to make the servitization transition
credible across different departments. Second, even when companies realize the market
potential of services, they might lack the necessary company capabilities and resources to
develop them (e.g., coordinating skills, customer centricity, flexibility). Finally, a company
might decide to undertake servitization but fail in implementing its servitization strategy
successfully given cultural barriers and lack of commitment. A service-oriented culture is
specific and profoundly different from a traditional product-centric culture in terms of
stronger customer centricity, flexibility and openness to collaboration (Mathieu 2001).
Changing such a culture requires substantial time and resource investments
(Vandermerwe and Rada 1988). Particularly, even if there is company commitment to the
change, its implementation is likely to meet resistance from parts of the organisation not
understanding the service strategy or simply fearing the implications of cultural change
(Mathieu 2001). Creating a service-oriented environment and mindset throughout the
company, and finding the right people for championing and implementing the servitization
transition are key (Homburg et al. 2003). Manufacturing companies that neglect to invest
resources in managing such transition risk long-term market competitiveness (Parida et al.
The importance of developing certain firm’s capabilities, processes, and mindset, and of
responding to their required cultural and corporate changes is well stated in the
servitization literature (Vandermerwe and Rada 1988; Oliva and Kallenberg 2003; Brax
2005; Slack 2005). However, how to actually enable and embed the servitization transition
(e.g., which tools and processes) has received limited attention (Ostrom et al. 2015; Ulaga
and Reinartz 2011).
In this paper, we argue that the principles and practices associated with service design
(and described below) can potentially provide important resources for facilitating the
organizational and cultural changes required by the servitization transition.
Service Design and Servitization Challenges
Service research has developed a substantial interest in service design, as proven by the
increasing number of articles on the subject (e.g., Andreassen et al. 2016; Patrício et al.
2011; Zomerdijk and Voss 2009). Service design is deeply rooted in design principles
(Karpen, Gemser, and Calabretta, 2017; Sangiorgi and Prendiville 2014), and can be
defined as a human-centred, co-creative and iterative approach to the development of
new services (Blomkvist, Holmlid, and Segelström 2010). These defining characteristics of
service design make it potentially valuable for addressing some challenges of the
servitization transition. First, a key feature of the service logic is a strong customer
centricity. Service design professionals (and design professionals in general) have a strong
background in deeply understanding human needs and behaviours, co-creating value with
customers and generating solutions that are clear, meaningful and effective for users
(Brown 2008; Stickdorn and Schneider 2010; Stigliani and Fayard 2010). As manufacturing
companies transitioning towards service-led strategies face the challenge to better
understand the processes and context that affect the customer’s experience, service
design surges as a valuable approach to tackle this challenge of the servitization transition
(Andreassen et al. 2016).
The development and implementation of new services is a very complex task and
establishing the organizational resources, processes and capabilities for supporting service
development and implementation is a major challenge in the servitization transition (Oliva
and Kallenberg 2003; Ostrom et al. 2015; Ulaga and Reinartz 2011). Given service design’s
affinity with complexity (Sanders and Stappers 2014; Stigliani and Fayard 2010) and design
professionals’ intrinsic preference for holistic thinking (Michlewski 2008), the service
design approach appears adequate in dealing with the challenges of service
implementation and also in the context of manufacturing companies experiencing service
innovation for the first time (Andreassen et al. 2016; Patricio et al. 2011).
Finally, developing and managing new services require a co-creation effort between firms,
different department employees, customers and other external stakeholders (Ordanini
and Parasuraman 2010). The concept of co-creation is central to service design (Lehrer et
al. 2012), since collaborative efforts with customers or other actors are at the core of one
fundamental design principle; namely, the co-design of ideas and concepts to better
understand user needs and deliver value to them (Sanders and Stappers 2014). By
engaging different actors with the creation of user values and with a service mindset,
service design can help companies in initiating and embedding the organizational and
cultural changes that are required to support the servitization transition (Andreassen et al.
Despite the potential of service design, only limited research shows how integrating
service design principles, tools and practices can support transformative processes like the
servitization transition. We aim to generate knowledge on this topic by using empirical
data from a service design consultancy and its practices in employing service design to
support clients’ servitization.
We used an exploratory, qualitative methodology to investigate how service design
supports manufacturing companies in their servitization transition. Exploratory
approaches are appropriate when there is limited theoretical knowledge on the
phenomenon under study (Eisenhardt 1989; Yin 2003). Particularly, we derived our
findings by combining data from preliminary in-depth interviews, one ethnographic study
and four case studies.
Preliminary interviews
We started with 26 preliminary in-depth interviews with experts in service innovation,
servitization and/or service design (design professionals, innovation managers,
academics). These interviews helped us gain a general understanding of the role of service
design in supporting the servitization transition. Each interview lasted approximately one
hour, and was based on a semi-structured interview guide covering the interviewee’s
experience in service innovation, servitization and service design, and his/her perceptions
on success factors and challenges for servitization.
Ethnography at ServiceDesign
The third author conducted the ethnographic study at ServiceDesign, a Dutch service
design consultancy specializing in helping companies create and implement new services.
At the time of the data collection, the third author had limited knowledge of servitization,
service design and service innovation literature, which allowed her to approach the
investigation with reduced observer bias (Eisenhardt 1989). ServiceDesign’s way of
working aligns with the key service design practices for facilitating servitization. In line
with the theoretical sampling strategy recommended for qualitative research (Eisenhardt
1989), these features make our setting an “extreme case”an ideal setting in which the
phenomenon of interest is “transparently observable” (Pettigrew 1990, p. 275). In order to
improve its effectiveness in helping clients in the servitization transition, ServiceDesign
recently started an internal project to redesign their consultancy service with a stronger
focus on the implementation and the embedding of the service concept in the client
organizations. The third author observed and participated in this project for six months,
collecting data on ServiceDesign’s strengths in supporting its clients’ servitization and
helping ServiceDesign develop a toolkit for servitization projects. Data collection followed
the general recommendations of ethnographic research (van Maanen 2011; Visconti
2010), and included participatory observation, formal semi-structured interviews, informal
conversations and analysis of archival data.
Multiple case studies of servitization projects
To further distil how service design contributes to servitization, we retrospectively
investigated four projects committed to ServiceDesign by product-oriented companies
wishing to develop service-oriented value propositions. We theoretically sampled the case
studies with the aim of investigating different theoretical categories (Eisenhardt 1989);
that is, different servitization patterns according to Raddats and Easingwood (2010).
Table 1 - Case studies’ description
(50250 employees)
(>250 employees)
Medical supplies
Power grid
Current value
Selling high
vehicles and
Selling medical
supplies to public
and private
healthcare providers
Installing and
maintaining the
power grid
Initial degree
services to its
product value
Project with
of a new
service for
Development of a
new service for the
sales department to
offer better
customer support
Development of a
value proposition
for a service for
domestic energy
Project leader,
manager, ICT
Design professionals
(3), Project leaders
(2), Marketing
managers (2), Sales
professionals (2),
Project leader,
Upper manager
For data collection, we used a dyadic approach and, for a total of 20 sessions, interviewed
both design professionals from ServiceDesign and key informants from the servitizing
companies (e.g., project leaders, business stakeholders, internal designers). The interviews
were retrospective, semi-structured and focused on the following topics: (1) project’s
content (objectives, stakeholders and main implementation steps); (2) critical moments;
and (3) the results and evaluations of the projects.
Data analysis
The analysis followed several steps, according to he guidelines of case study and
qualitative data analysis methodology (Eisenhardt, 1989; Miles and Huberman, 1994).
First, in line with our research questions, the first author analysed each case separately
and selected quotes exemplifying key aspects of service implementation and critical
moments in service implementation. Based on the selected quotes the first author
completed an initial list of the main themes, constructs and insights for each case. This
resulted in a first coding scheme for further refined. Subsequently, for increasing the
reliability of within-case analysis and for conducting cross-case analysis, each author
coded one case (using the provided coding scheme as a guideline), and the results were
compared and combined during three collective sessions (Eisenhardt, 1989; Yin, 2003).
The cross case-analysis refined the list of codes, by adding new entries or by collapsing
existent entries into others. From the emerging codes we established tentative
relationships between constructs. We then refined these initial relationships through
replication logic, regularly re-examining each case to contrast and validate the occurrence
of certain constructs. We also compared relationships and constructs with extant
literature to emphasize similarities and differences, increase the internal validity of the
results, and refine recurring themes and constructs. The iteration between data, literature
and analysis was repeated several times. The results of this iterative process are presented
and discussed in the following paragraphs.
According to our data analysis, ServiceDesign enacted the servitization transition of their
clients by introducing a customer-centred mindset and a service-driven innovation
process. This suggests that service design can support manufacturing companies in their
servitization transitioning both at a cultural and process level. Furthermore, ServiceDesign
embedded the new mindset and process by recurring to a set of design-driven practices
that created organizational commitment to the servitization transition. In the following
paragraphs, we first describe the customer-centred mindset and the service-driven
innovation process introduced by ServiceDesign. Then, we illustrate the design-driven
embedding practices.
Enacting the Servitization Transition
Introducing a customer-centred mindset. As indicated by the interviews, the
manufacturing companies in our sample tended to rely on quality improvements and
technological breakthroughs as main drivers of their decision making in service innovation
projects, thus reflecting a product-driven mentality and simply transferring their product-
driven approach to the service context. Design professionals in our sample actively
introduced a customer-centred focus in the product-focused mindset of their clients, so
that the customer’s needs, perspectives and behaviours become the unifying drivers of
innovation decision making and practices. A top manager at Truck&Co uses the following
words to recognize such an important role of ServiceDesign:
“I think in organizations such as ours, products important. But when we start developing
services, keeping the product in the middle and everything else around it (…) will not reach
the full potential of the service. You have to blend the product with everything else, and put
the customer in the middle, listen to what he really wants, and find out their needs. And
that is the reason why we hired [ServiceDesign].”
Despite some clients already used to taking customer needs into account in their
innovation practices, ServiceDesign helped them develop a deeper and more authentic
understanding of customer needs and satisfiers by leveraging the human centeredness of
their methods. As a manager from NetPower indicates:
“At a certain point, [the design professional] added an extra customer analysis step that
was really based on discovering what is behind the things that people say, and how people
experience the issue of energy. That was an important action, because it gave a building
block in terms of not only quantitative market and technical research, but also in what are
the customer’s motives and how you can connect with him through your proposition,
design and service.”
Some of the companies indicated that they missed the capability of translating a
customer-centred vision (NetPower) or customer needs (Truck&Co) into concrete service
value propositions. Relatedly, the design professionals in this study not only provided a
deeper understanding of the customer perspective, but also supported their clients in
translating the customer perspective into service value propositions fitting this
perspective. As the project leader of Truck&Co recalls, the design professionals made the
team so genuinely engaged with customer needs that it became very easy and
straightforward to develop a driving service accordingly, with no disagreement on its
feasibility and market potential.
Furthermore, in some cases, the customer-centred mindset became ingrained not only in
the innovation teams directly involved with the design professionals, but also in the entire
organization. For instance, in the MedSupply case, the customer perspective was
progressively understood and embraced by the entire company for driving their overall
innovation portfolio decision making (e.g., what are the next most appropriate innovation
projects?). In the QualyCare case, the design professionals helped the client organization
to embed the customer perspective in their company vision, as a starting point for shaping
the organization and its core processes accordingly.
Introducing a service-oriented innovation process. In addition to instilling a customer-
centred mindset, design professionals in our study supported the servitization transition
at the process level by introducing a service-oriented innovation process that also revolves
around customer centricity. The process involved two sequential phases (“Discover” and
“Create”) and two integrated, concurrent and iterative phases (“Develop” and
“Implement”). For each phase, the design professionals in our study used a set of human-
centred design tools and methods to support the effective execution of the process. Our
case studies show that the design professionals actively supported companies in adopting
such service-oriented innovation process. As the project leader at NetPower indicates:
“[The design professionals] brought along a refined service design approach.
Previously, our approach was defined in broad terms, there’s a building-the-team
phase, the analysis phase and then we'll think of developing things, and writing
up a business case. But [the service design approach from ServiceDesign] clearly
has further refined our approach towards a more user-centred one, and thus a
more service-oriented one.”
All companies confirmed that the lack of a structured process for developing new services
might have hindered the servitization transition. The service design process introduced by
the design professionals appeared to be more structured than the clients’ original way of
developing new services for their servitization transition. For example, the marketing
manager of MedSupply explains that one of the reasons why they hired the design
professionals to support their servitization transition was the structured design-driven
process that they proposed, and the detailed plan on “how we are going to come in a
number of steps to a business case for the new service proposition”. At the same time, the
structure of the service design process is perceived as simple enough to be quickly
By introducing a clear, simple structure in their clients’ service development process, the
design professionals seemed able to blend the benefits of the customer-centred and
iterative service design approaches with the benefits of the linear and rational approach
commonly used in managerial problem solving. The design professionals in our study also
achieved such balance through a clear specification of the tools to be used in each phase,
of the tangible deliverables to be expected, and of the roles within the team. As the design
professional in the NetPower project recalls, having tangible deliverables (like the
customer journey) really helped the company not only to empathize with the customers,
but also to get a feeling of moving to a goal and being on track in the development of the
new service. According to the Marketing Manager of the MedSupply project, having such
clear deliverables and a set of specific tools also created a common language across
different stakeholders, with positive consequences for generating commitment and
project ownership.
Embedding the Servitization Transition
Gaining and maintaining top management support. Our data shows that design
professionals dedicated substantial effort in gaining and maintaining top management
support, since this represents a fundamental condition for the servitization transition to
occur and persists over time. Design professionals in our sample spent time in explaining
and discussing their customer-driven service innovation process with top management to
make them aware of what is expected from them in terms of participation and supporting
resources, and ultimately to get their commitment. The Marketing Manager at MedSupply
provides an example:
“Organizing a crash course in service design for the higher management to teach them
more about the process and what to expect was a great way of providing them with the
knowledge they needed to support this project, and later on enable its progressive
Providing clear knowledge about the service innovation process (and its outcomes)
reduced managers’ perceived uncertainty of transforming a manufacturing company into
a service-oriented one, thus removing resistance towards the servitization transition.
Design professionals in our sample also leveraged effective communication to achieve this
objective; namely, by communicating in ways that fit top management language, interests
and frames of reference. For instance, in the MedSupply project design, professionals
combined their design tools (e.g., the customer journey map) with typical business tools
(e.g., the service blueprint and the business model canvas) in order to translate the same
information in different languages to engage top management and a broad array of
According to our interviews, top management support should not be limited to the initial
commitment, but should be renewed and maintained throughout the entire project,
especially in those critical moments in which organizational and structural changes
emerge as necessary for service implementation. According to our data, the design
professionals used frequent and clear communication and a co-creative way of working to
maintain top management involvement, especially in critical decision-making moments.
As a design professional explains with reference to the QualyCare project:
“We did it really together. We involved [the top management] in every step. Then it’s also
theirs. It’s also their own baby. ... When we present several alternative solutions in a
project we usually don’t have our favourite. The client has to decide. We discuss with them
and then we get to the favourite solution together.”
Co-creation encouraged top management (and other stakeholders) to consciously devote
cognitive effort to the co-creative tasks, thus ensuring that they developed ownership of
the customer-centric process itselfand of its outcomesand subsequent support for the
servitization transition.
Creating bottom-up acceptance. Design professionals in our sample complemented top
management support with a bottom-up approach for creating diffused acceptance of the
servitization transition. A reasonable explanation could be that implementing a service
development process and a service for the first time has so many organizational and
structural implications that more operational parts within a manufacturing company could
be involved from the early stages to prevent structural resistance to change. In line with
that, design professionals in our sample first introduced the service-driven innovation
process in innovation teams close to the market, and then progressively gained upstream
organizational commitment. As the design professional working for MedSupply recalls:
“It became an escalating story. It started as a kick-start course on service design
for a group of four people in a [business unit] ... and when they were doing that
for a little while, [the company] decided we needed to scale this up to the entire
organization. At that moment it became a really big project.”
According to our empirical investigation, the bottom-up approach was also driven by the
fact that innovation teams closer to the market can better capture the user perspective
that is at the core of the design-driven service innovation process. Thus, ideas were
generated from innovation teams close to the market, and then promoted through
different company levels until reaching top management. For instance, in the QualyCare
case, whilst servitization began as a top-management initiative, the design professionals
introduced a more bottom-up approach for executing the process transition. Thus, the
value proposition for developing the new service was not defined by top management and
then passed down for its execution, but rather derived by the innovation teams through
the combination of different ideas and user insights under the guidance of the designers.
Subsequently, the proposition was improved and consolidated by integrating the creative
inputs from different company levels till top management approval.
Training approach. The service design consultancy in our sample invested significant time
at the beginning and during each project in training the client team in using service design
tools so that they could execute the customer-centric service innovation process with the
design professionals and develop ownership to it and its outcomes. These practices
engaged the organizations with the transition on a deeper level by creating a profound,
shared understanding of the servitization transition, and by letting the organization,
especially the employees, experience the service design process. As a manager from
MedSupply recalls, the training sessions on human-centred research and customer
journey mapping helped in creating awareness about the different innovation approach,
keeping the team committed to a paced and effective execution, and ultimately
facilitating organizational learning.
The training approach also helped embed the customer-centred mindset described
before. By training clients in using customer-centred methods for understanding the
market(s) and developing fitting offerings, and by engaging them directly with such
customer-centred activities (and with the customers themselves), ServiceDesign
encouraged cognitive and emotional connections between clients and their users. As the
NetPower case illustrates, using contextmapping
for gaining customer insights on what
power energy really means for people helped the client organization experience the
customer perspective, and subsequently embed it into their service offering and way of
Facilitating approach. In addition to and in parallel with training clients in the service-
driven innovation process, the design professionals involved in this study facilitated its
execution by helping clients go through all the steps and related methodologies. One
design professional explained that in some cases, and given the novelty of the process and
the required degree of change, training might be insufficient. The innovation team and
involved stakeholders might regress to their previous practices as soon as the training was
concluded. To prevent this rejection, the design professionals learnt to act as facilitators
and sparring partners for client organizations throughout the project execution. The
facilitator role was played by supporting both the management and the content of the
project. In terms of project management, design professionals supported the
manufacturing organizations in maintaining the project’s pace and the focus on the
servitization objectives. In the words of the Marketing Manager at MedSupply:
“The design professionals put quite some pressure on [project management], that you
really have to do things to get results and deliver the new services. (...) For the first time in
years the structure of the yearly business planning has not changed. So we kept the same
structure and the same focus on developing new services. And that has absolutely been the
designers’ work by looking at it in a different manner.”
Contextmapping is a qualitative design research method to uncover deep insights into how
individuals experience a product or a service in their context of use. For a full description of the
methodology, please look at Sleeswijk Visser, Stappers, Van der Lugt, and Sanders (2005).
In terms of content facilitation, the design professionals acted as sparring partners in the
enactment of design tools that allowed the execution of the projects. Particularly, they
facilitated by asking the right questions, providing valuable inputs, helping summarizing
and indicating core issues. As the project leaders at both MedSupply and QualyCare
indicate, such roles went beyond the conclusion of the specific project they were involved
with. The designers kept visiting the companies monthly to consult and spar on the
implementation of the new service and its further embedding within the client
Using visualizations and materializations. The design professionals in our cases used a
variety of visualization tools for reducing the perceived intangibility of the service, and
thus the perceive uncertainty of the servitization transition. The frequent use of
visualizations and materializations of the emerging new service (or parts of it) (e.g., the
blueprint, customer journey map, storyboards) made the service innovation outcomes
more tangible and easier to communicate to different stakeholders. In the words of the
Project Leader for the MedSupply project:
“For instance, [the design professionals] used the business canvas model. This is
the translation of the service concept into strategic decisions and what needs to
be done. That is needed, of course, to get [the service concept] into the business
The use of compelling images and a narrative style made the objective of communication
stick in the minds of stakeholders for longer. According to the Project leader at QualyCare:
“In the beginning of the project, the service blueprint, but also to the personas, [...] bring a
lot of information to you, and to a point that it stays in your head for a significant amount
of time.”
By leveraging on their creative and emotionally engaging tools, design professionals in our
sample helped organizations to think differently, thus creating the proper ground for
departing from their traditional product perspective to adopt a service perspective (i.e., a
customer-centred mindset). As the project leader at QualyCare observes:
“My first impression is that they were very creative. And I appreciate that, just to have a
different way of thinking. And by means of their drawings, the customer journey and all the
tools, they encouraged us to think different as well. That was actually my main reason to
collaborate with ServiceDesign rather than with other kinds of consultancies.”
Additionally, clear, tangible visualizations were used for stimulating business stakeholders
to incorporate the customer-centred mindset in their decision making, to act consistently
with it, and to eventually embed the customer-driven process and its outcomes into the
rest of the organization. As the design professional in the NetPower project indicates:
“There were documents, so we had a service blueprint, and we had a couple of personas,
and we had insights, infographics of users, and we had done desk research. [The
innovation team] presented all these tools in the shape they were, and consolidated
everything in a business case on which the Board of Directors can make a decision. That
was still quite a lot of work.”
Conclusive remarks
In this study, we have investigated service design as an important mechanism to trigger
and maintain the servitization transition of different product-centric companies. In
particular, our findings show how the principles and practices of service design can help
override organizational resistance and embrace the mindset and process change required
by the servitization transition.
Our findings suggest that service design helps manufacturing companies develop
customer centricity, which is a key element of a service-focused mindset. While several
studies have attempted to explain what customer centricity implies and requires in
servitization (e.g., Kowalkowski et al. 2015; Ulaga and Reinartz 2011), there is limited
research on how to develop and strengthen it. Service design consultants, whose practices
and tools are by definition customer-centric, use a training and facilitating approach to let
manufacturing organizations experience customer centeredness and to connect
emotionally and rationally with customers and their needs. Thus, through repeated and
extended exposure to customers, service design can embed its central role in the
development and success of new services in the mindset of manufacturing companies.
Furthermore, our data show that service designers not only create sensitivity for and
understanding of customer needs, but also an ability to translate customer-driven insights
into customer-driven value propositions. Thus, the customer-centricity enabled by service
design resembles the more complex and relevant service-related data processing and
interpretation capability identified by Ulaga and Reinartz (2011) as a more complicated
conceptualization of customer centricity, but also more appropriate for product-service
system offerings.
Similarly, service design enables manufacturing companies to transition to a service-
oriented process, which is customer-centric, iterative and characterized by overlapping
stages with an early start for the implementation. Such a process is comparable to the
service development process for manufacturing firms proposed by Kindström and
Kowalkowski (2014). The role of design lies in enabling the actual reconfiguration of
manufacturing companies’ activities through training at all levels of the company (from
top management to front-end employees), and through structure and simplification. The
choice of looking at service design consultants (external players) builds on the work of
Agarwal and Selen (2009), who provide empirical evidence that the process of building
service innovation capabilities is collaborative. According to our findings, service design
helps in triggering, enabling and maintaining commitment to the actual reconfiguration of
manufacturing companies’ activities through training at all levels of the company (from
top management to front-end employees) and through structure and simplification.
This study has a few main limitations with implications for further research. First, the
study is based on a small sample (one service design consultancy and four case studies
from the same consultancy). Thus, despite this not being the aim of the method, the
generalizability of our findings cannot be assessed. Future research could improve our
findings through insights from additional case studies (for instance, involving different
service design consultancies, or smaller companies embracing the servitization transition)
and quantitative data corroborating the impact of service design practices on the
servitization transition’s performance measures. In addition, the study is limited by the
Western European geographical focus (ServiceDesign is a Dutch consultancy and the
clients from the case studies are companies operating prevalently in the European
market). Applying our findings to other regions could further enhance the transferability
and generalizability of our contribution. Furthermore, based on how ServiceDesign
manages the servitization projects of its clients, we suggest certain service design
practices that seem to be specific for enabling the servitization transition. However, given
our limited sample, such specificity to the servitization context needs to be further
validatedperhaps through a comparative research design where the practices and
effects of service design in servitization cases is compared with non-servitization cases
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About the Authors:
Giulia Calabretta is Assistant Professor at Delft University of
Technology. Her research focuses on how strategic design can
effectively guide businesses towards becoming more
innovative in nature and structure. Her research has been
published in several academic journals. Recently she has co-
edited and co-written the book “Strategic design: Eight
essential practices every strategic designer must master’.
Christine De Lille is an Assistant Professor at Delft University
of Technology. She investigates ‘Designing User-
Centered Organizations’ with a focus on the practice of small
to medium-sized enterprises as well as of the aviation
industry. Main areas of her work include service design and
user-centred design, and how a user-centered perspective
impacts and transforms organizations.
Caroline Beck is a service design consultant at Livework. She
works on projects with a strategic focus and where the design
approach has an impact on organizations’ processes and
performance. In her job as a service designer she combines
her curiosity for understanding people and businesses with
her passion for design and innovation.
... The role that design can play in such a transition in technology-dominant development and organisations has been discussed both in general (e.g. Verganti, 2009) and for a service context specifically (Candi, 2007;Sangiorgi et al., 2012;Calabretta et al., 2016). However, the focus in these works is on the design phase of service development projects. ...
... When it comes to the contribution of design with regard to implementing services as part of the transition to a service orientation, the complexity of this issue is discussed (e.g. Lin, et al., 2011, Calabretta et al., 2016Overkamp and Holmlid, 2016) but there is still much room for research (Teso and Walters, 2016). ...
... However, there has been limited discussion so far regarding benefits that service design can have towards realisation of servitization (e.g. Calabretta et al., 2016) and somewhat more developed discussions regarding implementation of (singular) services (Christiansen, 2015;Holmlid, Wetter-Edman, & Edvardsson, 2017;Lin, et al., 2011;Lønvik, Pettersen, & Verhulst, 2016;Yu, 2015;2016). ...
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Design has been mentioned as potential support in the shift from a value-in-exchange to a value-in-use perspective that is part of servitization. However, these discussions pay little attention to the role of design(ers) for implementing 1) the change in perspective of the organisation and 2) specific (product) service systems, which are both required for successful servitization. We argue that implementation as a concept needs to be part of service design processes in order to timely articulate how to implement new services, and what resources need to be shaped in service system(s) involved for successful value co-creation. We analyse a workshop in a technology-dominant service development project and show that using a service (process) perspective and concrete cases could be a way to integrate conversations about implementation in the design phase of PSS and service development. For technology-dominant services specifically, this can uncover factors for successful integration of technology and service.
... However, the scope of Service Design is not just limited to improving customer experience; it also has potential to bring about strategic and organisational change (Mager, 2009). Service Design can help companies to identify new business opportunities (Reason, Løvlie and Brand Flu, 2015) and support cultural and organisational transformation (Calabretta, De Lille and Beck, 2016). Therefore, besides the literature thus far, which mainly focuses on improving customer experience, more studies are needed in order to determine the transformative potential of Service Design in companies facing disruptive change. ...
... Consequently, today, Service Design is considered to be a core discipline for service companies seeking excellence in customer experience (Andreassen et al., 2016;Zomerdijk and Voss, 2010). Moreover, Service Design has gained importance for manufacturers immersed in servitization processes (Calabretta et al., 2016;Iriarte et al., 2016;Sangiorgi et al., 2012;Teso and Walters, 2016) and it is frequently mentioned as a high research priority by service researchers (Ostrom et al., 2015). ...
... Interestingly, owing to the increasing interest of manufacturers in service innovation and servitization (Martín-Peña and Ziaee Bigdeli, 2016), in which disruptive organisational transformation is seen as inevitable, an emerging research community has started to study the contribution of Service Design to organisational and cultural change in product-oriented organisations. For example, Calabretta, De Lille and Beck (2016) underscore the important role of Design professionals in creating more service-oriented mind-sets and promoting service-oriented, bottom-up innovation processes within organisations. Additionally, Iriarte et al. (2016) indicate that, when supported by top management, Service Design works to facilitate cultural and organisational transformations towards more customer-oriented services. ...
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Insurance companies are in the midst of massive disruptive change occurring as a result of new consumption models and technologies. Companies unable to keep up with the rapid pace of change run the risk of disappearing. Service Design has become an essential practice for firms competing in experience-centred sectors. However, Service Design is not only limited to improving customer experience: it has also been proposed as an enabler for strategic and organisational change. This paper presents a case study in which Service Design was applied to foster transformative strategy and processes in an insurance company. The experiment has shown that Service Design can help companies to identify new business opportunities, as well as assisting organisational transformations. The findings in this paper show that by adopting Design-led approaches, firms can achieve faster and more flexible New Service Development processes able to significantly reduce time to market.
... In this future scenario, argue, technological developments will play a key role in shaping design education. This transformation, however, might be hard to implement, as it not only confronts universities with the challenge of changing their processes but their mindsets (Norman, 2011;Calabretta, De Lille & Beck, 2016). Moreover, these institutions might lack the competencies to see these changes through (Oliva & Kallenberg, 2003), while organizational culture and employee behavior can undermine the effort to launch and develop these transformational processes (Calabretta et al., 2016). ...
... This transformation, however, might be hard to implement, as it not only confronts universities with the challenge of changing their processes but their mindsets (Norman, 2011;Calabretta, De Lille & Beck, 2016). Moreover, these institutions might lack the competencies to see these changes through (Oliva & Kallenberg, 2003), while organizational culture and employee behavior can undermine the effort to launch and develop these transformational processes (Calabretta et al., 2016). While these and other issues might hinder curriculum changes, how can universities create efforts to prepare students to understand how Service Design is realized in different circumstances while bringing them closer to the industry where they will develop? ...
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Proceedings of the DRS LEARN X DESIGN 2021: 6th International Conference for Design Education Researchers Engaging with Challenges in Design Education: 10th Anniversary of the International Conference for Design Education Researchers Editors: Erik Bohemia; Liv Merete Nielsen; Lusheng Pan; Naz A.G.Z. Börekçi & Yang Zhang Section Editors: Úrsula Bravo; Catalina Cortés; Jeannette LaFors; Fabio Andres Telle; Natalia Allende; Eva Lutnæs; Karen Brænne; Siri Homlong; Hanna Hofverberg; Ingvill Gjerdrum
... To date, more research on service value propositions and service design visualization tools has been conducted in non-manufacturing sectors (Stacey & Tether, 2015;Yu & Sangiorgi, 2017) than in manufacturing sectors (Bhamra, Moultrie, & Thurston, 2014). Nevertheless, various researchers have explored servitization in the manufacturing context (e.g., Calabretta, De Lille, Beck, & Tanghe, 2016;Costa, Patrício, Morelli, & Magee, 2017;Iriarte, Justel, Alberdi, Val, & Gonzalez, 2016;Sangiorgi et al., 2012;Thurston, 2013). These researchers have examined the possible benefits from the use of service design visualization tools by manufacturers. ...
... Several researchers agree that service design can support the servitization concept because of its customer-and service-centered focus (e.g., Calabretta et al., 2016;Costa et al., 2017;Iriarte et al., 2016;Sangiorgi et al., 2012;Thurston, 2013). Other researchers point to the principal contribution of service design: a series of easy-to-use visualization tools for the co-creation, representation, and prototype construction of customer-centered service (e.g., Blomkvist, 2014;Segelström, 2013;Stickdorn & Schneider, 2010;Viladás, 2011;Yu & Sangiorgi, 2017;Zomerdijk & Voss, 2010). ...
... literature also provides support for developing PSS business models (Barquet et al., 2015;Lee et al., 2011). Other researchers in the PSS field deal with supply chain management (Meier & Völker, 2008) or with stakeholder analysis (Vezzoli et al., 2015). Schenkl (2014) investigates employees, their knowledge, and the prevention of product imitation.Calabretta et al. (2016)focuses on organizational aspects, e.g. the organizational challenges for servitization. The company itself is not a topic of this work. Another relevant field of PSS research is the PSS design and development; there are many approaches to dealing with design supports, e.g. modeling PSS (Bochnig et al., 2013;Morelli, 2006;Weber et al., 2 ...
... The planning phase ends with a PSS concept (output) including product and service elements that is the starting point for embodied design. Organizational aspects that are relevant for the PSS transition are not discussed in this work (Calabretta et al., 2016). The fourth research question focuses on a process model for planning PSS.Those research questions set the boundaries and define the orientation of this work; however, the questions neglect to define the focus on industry branches or on kinds of customers or products. ...
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Certain aspects of customer acceptance affect the purchase decisions of customers. The approach of Product-Service Systems (PSS) is capable of influencing those aspects of customer acceptance. This work provides three tools to enable companies to plan PSS to increase customer acceptance: the model of customer acceptance describes and presents aspects of customer acceptance, the decision-making process includes and structures the activities and decisions of the PSS planning phase, and the service catalogue supports PSS planners to easily identify suitable services.
... Moving towards a digital paradigm is often facilitated through the proliferation of digital development practices and cultural aspects found in the context of software development and service design (Calabretta et al., 2016;Kettunen & Laanti, 2017). These digital practices are commonly derived from the field of human-computer interaction (HCI) and characterized by ideals of democratic and user-centric rationales and a high focus on user experience. ...
Conference Paper
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The contemporary insurance ecosystem is digitally transforming to meet a myriad of emergent conditions pressured by an increase in available data. A paradigm shift necessitates new business models, digital practices, and customer relationships. To begin to understand the attitudes of customers within the digital transformation context, we conducted a large survey of Finnish insurance organization customers (N = 452). The survey gathered customer attitudes towards three factors of digital transformation: Participation in service development, visions and values of the service provider, and health data sharing. The results of the study offer a descriptive statistical snapshot of the attitudes of insurance customers in the Finnish case context relating to these topics; finding a lack of knowledge about the company digital strategy, a low perceived possibility to participate in the creation of services, a high level of trust, and a reluctance to share health data.
... The authors recognized the trend as being virtually relevant to any industry, being customer-driven and perceived as a competitive advantage. Since then, research has explored the topic extensively, mainly focusing on its relevance (although primarily for manufacturing), but also starting to explore how to implement a servitization transition effectively (Calabretta, et al., 2016a). ...
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The purpose of this study is to contribute to laying the foundations to systematically start investigating service design in an organizational context. The study makes use of an Institutional Logics perspective, aiming at clarifying the elements characterizing the organizational environment within which service design is introduced and the mechanisms for its adoption in such organizational context. Nine large, western organizations operating across eight different sectors are analyzed, who have all opted to introduce service design to tackle a diverse range of pressing business challenges. Findings suggest that service design enters the organization through the emerging customer logic, conceptualized as an organizational logic of competitiveness that reflects a system guiding specific competitive choices. The customer logic is immersed in a constellation of three logics, subject to several constellational forces. The constellation of logics and its constellational forces emerge as determining factors characterizing the environment within which service design is introduced.
... Previous research has indicated a positive contribution of Service Design (SD) towards organizational transformation of the insurance industry [40]. Apart from incorporating the customers' experience, SD can also facilitate culture change in organizations [41] which is an imperative for the adjustment of mindset from reactive to proactive. ...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
This paper aims to identify the challenges of health data in the context of an insurance company that is transforming from a reactive company into a proactive one. Using 23 interviews from a case study of an insurance company in Finland, we revealed 4 key areas of challenges that arise during this transition. The identified areas were found to be the following: Access, Ownership, Sharing, and Use. These findings are then discussed in context of the shift towards a proactive paradigm for organizations. The customer experience is suggested to be pivotal for organizations to create value and for managing the 4 identified health data challenges.
... We focus on semantic boundary objects, which can support knowledge translation between actors who have a different vocabulary, by providing a shared vocabulary (ibid.). In service design, blueprints and journey maps can function as semantic boundary objects to develop a shared understanding of the service and its implementation, for those who use them collaboratively (Bitner, Ostrom, & Morgan, 2008;Calabretta et al., 2016), but since elements of these tools are only partly formalised, there can be ambiguity in elements of the service. The Customer Journey Modelling Language (CJML), on the other hand, has been developed to allow making a detailed specification of the service in a common vocabulary (Halvorsrud, Lee, Haugstveit, & Følstad, 2014). ...
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Service implementation is complex and multifaceted. In this paper, we focus on change of practices for actors in an organisation as one of these facets. Successful value co-creation requires different service actors to work together. Therefore, successful realisation of change of practices requires these actors to have a shared mental model of (consequences of) such change, both for themselves and for the collaboration with other actors. We argue that collaborative development and use of a visual language can function as boundary object that can facilitate conversations and development of shared understanding regarding service implementation as change of practices, if connotative meaning of the words in the language is defined by those who use it. We use data from a workshop in the context of implementing a change of practices to show how this can work and reflect on what role designers can have in the transition towards service implementation.
... Recent studies on servitization show that for large manufacturing companies it is useful to break down the barriers for novel collaborations and to consider value at the centre; to develop a conscious and parallel evolution of the understanding of service, design and users within these firms (Sangiorgi, Lee, Sayar, Allen, & Frank, 2016) . Within manufacturing firms who undertake transition, design professionals are suggested to cover a broader role as strategic partners in the entire servitization transition and in overcoming the key challenges to its effective implementation (Calabretta, De Lille, Beck, & Tanghe, 2016). For companies to understand alternative offerings in PSS, Kim (2016) introduces a framework to classify PSS according to the process and it comprises value, product, service, product-service ratio, customer, business model, actor, touchpoint, context, time, society, and environment. ...
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The conference general theme Research Perspectives on Creative Intersections captured the overall conference spirit. It also reflects the conference planning and organisational processes which involved the community of international scholars located in different institutions, faculties, schools and departments. The interdisciplinary nature of the conference enabled active intersections of scholars from the fields of design, social sciences and business studies. The mingling of researchers from diverse disciplines reflects the need for interdisciplinary approaches to research complex issues related to innovation. The intersection between emerging and established researchers was an intended aspect of the conference. The reason was that today’s PhD candidates will drive the future research. The conference succeeded by attracting significant number of PhD candidates who represented a third of the conference delegates. This provides a good indication for the future growth research related to design innovation. Altogether, 295 authors have submitted: 140 full papers and 31 workshop proposals. These numbers indicate that a single authored research is no longer the norm. The intersection which stems from collaboration amongst researchers to undertake and disseminate research is now becoming the established practice within the design innovation research. The 19 conference tracks, for which the papers were submitted, were organised within 7 overarching themes (see Table 1). The track facilitators ultimately shaped the overall conference scope and direction. The tracks’ topics acted as the focal points for the overall Call for Papers. Thus, our thanks you go to all the 69 tracks’ facilitators. It was them who collectively were responsible for the conference programme and we would like to thank them for their valuable services on the International Scientific Programme Committee. Table 1 Conference Tracks Theme 1) New Models of Innovation Track 1a. The Interplay between Science, Technology and Design Track 1b. Interdisciplinary Perspectives and Trends in Open Innovation Track 1c. FROM R&D TO D&R: Challenging the Design Innovation Landscape Track 1d. Design creating value at intersections Track 1e. Design management transforming innovation strategy Theme 2) Product-Service Systems Track 2a. Capturing Value and Scalability in Product-Service System Design Track 2b. Service Design for Business Innovation for Industry 4.0 Theme 3) Policy Making Track 3a. Creative Intersection of Policies and Design Management Theme 4) Intersecting Perspective Track 4a. Changing Design Practices: How We Design, What We Design, and Who Designs? Track 4b. Challenges and Obstacles to the Enactment of an Outside-In Perspective: The Case of Design Track 4c. At the Intersection Social Innovation and Philosophy Theme 5) Methods Track 5a. Design practices of effective strategic design Track 5b. Markets and Design: Vertical and Horizontal Product Differentiation Track 5c. Foresight by Design: Dealing with uncertainty in Design Innovation Track 5d. Contemporary Brand Design Theme 6) Capabilities Track 6a. Building New Capabilities in an Organization: A research methodology perspective Track 6b. Exploring Design Management Learning: Innovate with 'user' oriented design and KM perspectives Track 6c. Design teams in the pursuit of innovation Track 6d. Designing the Designers: Future of Design Education Theme 7) Foundations Track 7a. Pioneering Design Thinkers We would like to also thank the over 150 expert reviewers who provided their valuable time to provide critical peer feedback. Their service on the International Board of Reviewers was invaluable as the good quality peer reviews provided a vital contribution to this international conference. Each reviewer scored papers on a scale of 0 to 10 and provided critical review comments. Most papers were reviewed by two people, though some had three or even four reviewers, and in a very small number of cases only one review was submitted. Total number of submitted full papers was 140. After the blind peer review process 66 papers (47%) were accepted and 49 (35%) papers were provisionally accepted as these needed major revisions, and 25 (19%) papers were rejected. In making the final decisions about papers, the Review Committee first looked at all papers where the difference of opinion between reviewers was 4 points or greater and moderated the scores if necessary. The Review Committee then discussed all papers that were just under the general level of acceptance to determine outcomes, before finally looking at any exceptions. At the end of the review process 103 (73%) paper submissions were accepted for presentations of which 95 (68%) were included in the proceedings and 38 (27%) papers were rejected. Seven accepted papers were presented at the conference as research in progress and they were not included in the proceedings. The workshops provided another intersection on how delegates and workshop facilitators interacted. Altogether, 31 workshop proposals were submitted and 17 (54%) workshops were accepted by the International Workshop Organising Committee. We would like to thank the International Workshop Organising Committee members: Katinka Bergema, Nuša Fain, Oriana Haselwanter, Sylvia Xihui Liu, Ida Telalbasic and Sharon Prendeville for providing their expertise. We would like to thank both keynote speakers, Professor Jeanne Liedtka and Mr Richard Kelly, who generously gave their time to share their insights with the conference delegates. Their generosity allowed us to offer bursaries to five emerging researchers to attend the conference. The bursar recipients were selected from close to 40 applicants. The number of applicants indicates the need to setup funding schemes to allow emerging researchers to attend international events such as this conference. The PhD Seminar event which took place a day prior to the conference was attended by over 100 delegates. The PhD Seminar was chaired by Dr Sylvia Xihui Liu and Professor Jun Cai. Initially 40 submissions were received of which 36 were presented at the event. The event culminated with a debate organised by the PhD students who were inspired by the “Open Letter to the Design Community: Stand Up for Democracy” by Manzini and Margolin (2017). We are grateful to the debate organisers. The location of the conference in the Jockey Club Innovation Tower designed by Zaha Hadid at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University has also provided delegates with visible cultural intersections of a rapidly transitioning major interconnected global city from one political sphere of influence into another. The conference would not have happened without the solid work provided by the local organising team which was led by Professor Cees de Bont and consisted of: Ms Rennie Kan who took up the role of the fixer; Mr Pierre Tam who in his role as the Conference Secretary tirelessly worked on satisfying at many times conflicting requirement; Ms Flora Chang who checked and checked again all delegates registrations; Mr Rio Chan wizard of IT and Mr Jason Liu who provided the visual direction for the conference. The Design Management Academy’s international research conference was organised under the auspices of the Design Society’s Design Management Special Interest Group (DeMSIG) and Design Research Society’s Design Innovation Management Special Interest Group (DIMSIG) in collaboration with: The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Loughborough University, Tsinghua University, University of Strathclyde, Politecnico di Milano and Delft University of Technology. The conference was a culmination of two years of planning and the 2019 conference planning commenced well before the 2017 conference programme schedule was finalised. It is a hope that the conference will act as a platform to build a diverse community of scholars who are interested to explore and discuss design innovation practices. Conference Proceedings of the Design Management Academy 2017 International Conference: Research Perspectives on Creative Intersections 7–9 June 2017, Hong Kong, Volume 4 Editors: Erik Bohemia, Cees de Bont and Lisbeth Svengren Holm This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License. Conference Proceedings of the Design Management Academy ISSN 2514-8419 (Online) Design Management Academy ISBN 978-1-912294-11-4 (Volume 1) ISBN 978-1-912294-12-1 (Volume 2) ISBN 978-1-912294-13-8 (Volume 3) ISBN 978-1-912294-14-5 (Volume 4) ISBN 978-1-912294-15-2 (Volume 5) Published as an imprint of the Design Research Society Loughborough University, London 3 Lesney Avenue, The Broadcast Centre, Here East London, E15 2GZ United Kingdom The Design Society DMEM University of Strathclyde 75 Montrose Street GLASGOW, G1 1XJ United Kingdom DS 90 Design Research Society Secretariat email: website: Founded in 1966 the Design Research Society (DRS) is a learned society committed to promoting and developing design research. It is the longest established, multi-disciplinary worldwide society for the design research community and aims to promote the study of and research into the process of designing in all its many fields. Design Society email: website: The Design Society is an international non-governmental, non-profit making organisation whose members share a common interest in design. It strives to contribute to a broad and established understanding of all aspects of design, and to promote the use of results and knowledge for the good of humanity. The Design Society is a charitable body, registered in Scotland, No: SC031694
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Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to develop a framework for understanding service design and how service design relates to central concepts within service marketing. Design/methodology/approach – For companies, service design is growing in importance and has become a crucial capability to survive in the service-dominant economy. Service design increases the capacity to improve not only service experiences but also organizational design. On this premise, the authors propose a conceptual framework. Findings – By relating service design to research efforts within service marketing, dual value creation can be enhanced. As such, the conceptual framework portrays service design as an enhancer of customer experience and organizational performance. Originality/value – To the authors knowledge, service design has not been discussed in the service marketing literature. Thus, this is the first attempt to see service design in light of well-established service marketing models such as SERVQUAL and an updated version of the Service-profit-chain.
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This paper considers different ways of approaching service design, exploring what professional designers who say they design services are doing. First it reviews literature in the design and management fields, including marketing and operations. The paper proposes a framework that clarifies key tensions shaping the understanding of service design. It then presents an ethnographic study of three firms of professional service designers and details their work in three case studies. The paper reports four findings. The designers approached services as entities that are both social and material. The designers in the study saw service as relational and temporal and thought of value as created in practice. They approached designing a service through a constructivist enquiry in which they sought to understand the experiences of stakeholders and they tried to involve managers in this activity. The paper proposes describing designing for service as a particular kind of service design. Designing for service is seen as an exploratory process that aims to create new kinds of value relation between diverse actors within a socio-material configuration. This has implications for existing ways of understanding design and for research, practice and teaching.
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According to the service design myth, the field was born when live|work was founded in 2001. However, research on service design had been done since the early 1990s. A fairly small number of researchers conducted research in the field for about fifteen years until the subject gained widespread attention. The newfound traction has lead to a surge of publications on service design. This chapter reflects on the evolution of service design research by dividing the research overview into two parts: one for the early research focused on establishing service design and one for new research focused on expanding the knowledge of service design.
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Both academics and practitioners emphasize the importance for product firms of implementing service-led growth strategies. The service transition concept is well established, namely a unidirectional repositioning along a product-service continuum—from basic, product-oriented services towards more customized, process-oriented ones—ultimately leading to the provision of solutions. We challenge this service transition assumption and develop alternative ones regarding how product firms should pursue service-led growth. Using ‘problematization methodology’, and drawing on findings from thirteen system suppliers, we identify three service-led growth trajectories: (1) becoming an availability provider, which is the focus of most transition literature; (2) becoming a performance provider, which resembles project-based sales and implies an even greater differentiation of what customers are offered; and, (3) becoming an ‘industrializer’, which is about standardizing previously customized solutions to promote repeatability and scalability. Based on our critical inquiry, we develop two alternative assumptions: (a) firms need to constantly balance business expansion and standardization activities; and (b) manage the co-existence of different system supplier roles. Finally, we consider the implications for implementing service-led growth strategies of the alternative assumptions.
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Purpose - To investigate which resources and capabilities are most important to enable large manufacturers undergoing servitization to develop and deliver successful services. Design/methodology/approach - A survey of 155 UK-based manufacturers provided the basis for the study. Data analysis was undertaken using confirmatory factor analysis and multiple regression. Findings - Five constructs (‘resource configurations’) which enable the development and delivery of successful services and a construct to measure services performance (‘Success of Services’) were developed from the literature. A measurement model based on these constructs was empirically tested and verified. Two resource configurations; ‘Leaders and Services Personnel’ and ‘Services Methods and Tools’ were found to make a unique and statistically significant contribution to ‘Success of Services’. Research implications/limitations - The study highlights the importance of corporates leaders and service employees in developing and delivering success. Service-specific methods and tools are important for developing compelling customer offerings. The study demonstrates the utility of a resource-based perspective in terms of understanding the factors that enable successful services, but also exposes the limitations of using such broad measures, with common lower order resources underpinning multiple resource configurations. The study was conducted from the manufacturer’s perspective, and future studies could also include the customer’s perspective. Practical implications - The research identifies important factors in developing a greater service orientation in manufacturing companies. Originality/value - This is one of the first studies to develop and test a model of services success, generalizable to the population of large manufacturers.
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The role of making in the design process has been growing, taking on new forms and involving new players over the past 10 years. Where we once primarily saw designers using making to give shape to the future, today we can see designers and non-designers working together, using making as a way to make sense of the future. In this paper, we describe the landscape of design research and practice at the end of 2013 with special attention to the role of making across these perspectives: approach (cultural probes, generative toolkits and design prototypes), mindset (designing for people and designing with people), focus in time (the world as it is, the near future and the speculative future) as well as variations in design intent (provoking, engaging and serving).
Purpose The purpose of this paper is to advance the current understanding of organisational conditions that facilitate service design. Specifically, the focus is on organisational capabilities, interactive practices and individual abilities as units of analysis across service system levels. Grounded in design principles, the paper conceptualises and delineates illustrative service design conditions and introduces a respective service design capability-practice-ability (CPA) portfolio. In doing so, an emerging microfoundations perspective in the context of service design is advanced. Design/methodology/approach Conceptual paper. Findings This paper identifies and delineates a CPA that contributes to service design and ultimately customer experiences. The service design CPA consists of six illustrative constellations of service design capabilities, practices and abilities, which operate on different organisational levels. The service design CPA builds the foundation for in-depth research implications and future research opportunities. Practical implications The CPA framework suggests that if an organisation seeks to optimise service design and subsequent customer experiences, then individual- and organisational-level (cap)abilities and interactive practices should be optimised and synchronised across specific CPA constellations. Originality/value This paper provides the first microfoundations perspective for service design. It advances marketing theory through multilevel theorising around service design capabilities, practices and abilities and overcomes extant limitations of insular theorising in this context.
- This paper describes the process of inducting theory using case studies from specifying the research questions to reaching closure. Some features of the process, such as problem definition and construct validation, are similar to hypothesis-testing research. Others, such as within-case analysis and replication logic, are unique to the inductive, case-oriented process. Overall, the process described here is highly iterative and tightly linked to data. This research approach is especially appropriate in new topic areas. The resultant theory is often novel, testable, and empirically valid. Finally, framebreaking insights, the tests of good theory (e.g., parsimony, logical coherence), and convincing grounding in the evidence are the key criteria for evaluating this type of research.
This article investigates the impact of service transition (the infusion of services in addition to goods to a manufacturing firm’s offering) on firm-idiosyncratic risk. The authors analyze a unique data set of 168 publicly traded manufacturing firms over a 6-year financial window (2006–2011), with the results showing that service transition produces a substantial increase in idiosyncratic risk. This effect, however, varies depending on critical firm contexts. First, strategic coherence (research and development intensity and service relatedness) mitigates market misgivings and causes idiosyncratic risk to decrease as service becomes more central to the offering. Second, misappropriation of resources (marketing expenses and resource slack) exacerbates the impact, resulting in increased firm risk. In light of the findings, the authors were able to expand the primary theoretical underpinnings concerning service transition by (1) providing a more holistic framework to view the phenomenon (behavioral theory of the firm), (2) demonstrating contextual boundaries around service transition, and (3) providing managers with useful insights to inform strategic firm-level decisions.
The context in which service is delivered and experienced has, in many respects, fundamentally changed. For instance, advances in technology, especially information technology, are leading to a proliferation of revolutionary services and changing how customers serve themselves before, during, and after purchase. To understand this changing landscape, the authors engaged in an international and interdisciplinary research effort to identify research priorities that have the potential to advance the service field and benefit customers, organizations, and society. The priority-setting process was informed by roundtable discussions with researchers affiliated with service research centers and networks located around the world and resulted in the following 12 service research priorities: