The profession

What is service design?

Service design is the activity of planning and organising people, infrastructure, communication, media and components of a service in order to improve its quality, the interaction between service provider and customers and the customers’ experience.

Services are becoming a dominant part of our economy, besides being part of our everyday lives. Information technologies increase the possibilities for services to address the basic needs of our lives: nowadays, you don’t need a car if you use a car-sharing service, you don’t need to worry about your lunch if you can order it online, and you can book your flight or pay a bill whenever you want. New concepts such as social networking, crowd sourcing and open platforms are also inspiring innovative solutions and new lifestyles.

In order to play a key role in this promising area, service designers need to have competences in:

  • Information technology, i.e. skills that allow them to understand programming and the organisation of complex IT systems
  • Social and user-related, i.e. competences that allow them to talk with users, understanding their needs, but also involving them in co-design and participatory practices
  • Design-related, i.e. competences that allow them to suggest innovative combinations and solutions
  • Organisation and strategy; i.e. understanding the role of service design and the opportunities this profession discloses.

This master’s programme will give you the technical, conceptual and methodological tools to work in this promising and innovative professional area.

What will you become?

As a service designer, you will become a practitioner who collaborates with public and private companies in designing new services or redesigning existing ones. Your expertise will be required in understanding and addressing user requirements, communicating user experience, promoting users’ participation and supporting the internal organisation of services. Your cross-disciplinary competences, covering IT, design, engineering and management skills will allow you to cover strategic roles in service organisations.

Who needs service designers?

How many times have you been queuing in a bank? How stressful is a travel experience in an airport because of the security requirements? Are you frustrated to wait at the bus stop without knowing when the bus will come? This is the moment in which you realise that those services need to be designed better. However, the companies managing those services are more and more aware that reducing such stress and improving the way you experience the service is a critical competitive factor. For this reason, the demand for service designers is rapidly growing in many areas.

Service design consultants are often required in the sectors of travel, healthcare, information services, bank and financial as well as retail services. For many of those companies, the key to success is in the way services are designed and organised, or the quality of the interaction between users and the service, or the way users experience the service.

In addition, the public sector has recently emphasised the importance of service design in creating new services for citizens and improving the quality of existing public services. Service designers are increasingly requested by public authorities to reorganise healthcare services, tourist services, traffic and parking services and public administration.

focus on the user

"My motivation for studying Service Systems Design is an interest in learning more about the disciplines involved in developing good, effective and well-functioning services. This includes research and identification of user needs, analysis of research, idea generation, concept development, test and implementation.

One interesting aspect of Service Systems Design is that the user is in focus during the entire development process. Also very interesting are areas such as emotion and communication in relation to interaction, people organisation and planning as well as being part of value creation.

The programme is founded in both theory and practice. First, we learn about relevant theories and methods which we subsequently test in our projects. Our class have many different nationalities, so apart from gaining academic value, I also gain experience in teamwork across academic, cultural and linguistic backgrounds. I am sure that this is quite valuable for my future career either in a private company or the public sector."

Lotte Skjødt Hansen, in service systems design