About This Course

Systems and service design are powerful methods for helping a company differentiate itself and evolve. The acknowledgement of a service as something that can be affected through design has grown over the last decade with Mary Jo Bitner’s seminal white paper, “Service Blueprinting: A Practical Technique for Service Innovation”, as a nexus between early academic work and current practice. During this course students will learn how to use service blueprinting to design the overall architecture for their business, product, or service. After learning the method, students will then have a tool for the iterative analysis and design of their offering and the ability to keep it relevant, valuable, and competitive.

There are three sections to this course:

Systems Foundation. We will explore a brief history of systems thinking and systems design. Based on the readings, students will write a position paper comparing traditional systems thinking to contemporary uses of it in design applications.

Service Foundation. We will be introduced to the field of service design and explore its role as an emerging design discipline. Based on the readings, students will write a position paper explaining the evolution, methods, processes, and distinct value of service design and how it differs from other forms of design.

Service Design Application. We will apply the theories of system and service design to the development of a service blueprint. Based on the readings and applications of service design theories, students will create and describe their service design blueprint for their projects on education.

Core Concepts and Ideas

This class emphasizes the following main ideas, themes, and concepts:

  • Diagramming as both a philosophy and method for understanding the complexity of services and for proposing changes to these services
  • Ecosystems and Ecologies as a way of framing large, multi-faceted, and often distributed problems

Reading List

Outcomes and Competencies

The following outcome statements articulate the competencies, abilities, and skills a student will have as a result of completing this class. Students will...

  • Gain an awareness of systems design and service design, understand some core theories, and apply principles and techniques.
  • Use customer journey mapping to frame a design problem.
  • Be able to create a service design blueprint.

Course Schedule

    In Class Readings

Tue, 10/29

Introduction to Service Design

Lecture: Introduction to Service Design

Service Design as an Emerging Field

Thu, 10/31

Introduction to Service Design

Discussion of Readings

Lecture: Science Before Adventure

Thinking in Systems: The Basics

Thinking in Systems: Why Systems Work So Well

Tue, 11/5

Introduction to Service Design

Discussion of Readings

Service Design Chapter 3

Convergence 2.0

Designing for Service: Creating an Experience Advantage

Thu, 11/7

Introduction to Service Design

Discussion of Readings

Interaction Design & Service Design

Designing for Services—A Multidisciplinary Perspective (pp 19, 27, 43, 47)

Tue, 11/12

Channels & Touchpoints

Lecture: Orchestrating Touchpoints

Exercise: Touchpoint Inventory

Service Design Chapter 4

Thu, 11/14

Service Ecologies

Lecture: Understanding Ecosystems

Discussion of Readings

Service Design Chapter 5

Breaking Free From Product Marketing

Tue, 11/19

Service Ecologies

Workshop: Ecosystem Mapping


Thu, 11/21

Mapping Experiences

Lecture: Mapping the Experience


Tue, 11/26

Mapping Experiences

“Discussion on Readings

Workshop: Mapping the Experience”

Towards an understanding of experience (pdf)

Thu, 11/28

No Class



Tue, 12/3

Mapping Experiences

Workshop: Mapping the Experience


Thu, 12/5

Service Blueprinting

Lecture: Service Blueprinting

Discussion of Readings

Service Blueprinting: A Practical Technique for Service Innovation

Service Blueprinting: When Customer Satisfaction Numbers are not Enough

Tue, 12/10

Service Blueprinting

Workshop: Service Blueprinting

Service Design Chapter 6

Thu, 12/12

Service Proposition

Work in Class


Tue, 12/17


Work in Class


Thu, 12/19