Service Design : a conceptualization of an emerging practice

Abstract: Service design is an emerging design practice with an interdisciplinary heritage. Most previousresearch has been based on what service designers do; with the increased academic interestin service design over the past decade, the time has come to conceptualize the underlyingdiscourses. The main purpose of this thesis is to contribute knowledge to the emerging servicedesign discourse through conceptual comparisons of key concepts in the design and servicemanagement literatures.This theoretical licentiate thesis consists of a main body text, a Kappa, situating two previouslypublished papers in the research context. The conceptual framework encompasses areas ofdesign research, including design thinking, service design and design management. These areasare related to management research, with a specific focus on service marketing/management,including Service-Dominant logic and service innovation.The thesis includes an interdisciplinary literature review with a specific focus on how userinvolvement is conceptualized in service design and service management respectively, and developsa conceptual framework of service design based in descriptions of service design practicein the literature. The framework presents service design through five characteristics, as an 1) interdisciplinarypractice, using 2) visualization & prototyping, and 3) participation as means fordeveloping the design object, seen as 4) transformation, and 5) value creation. This frameworkleads to an understanding of service design practice as a continuously repositioning activity.The thesis argues that the relation between service marketing/management and service designis complementary, particularly in tools and methods for user involvement and co-creation,and therefore the relation is mutually productive. It further argues that design practice can helprealize Service Dominant logic, and a service perspective can help open up new positions fordesign practice.In sum, this thesis contributes knowledge that enriches the understanding and relevance ofservice marketing/management for the design discourse and vice versa.

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