The Master in Service Design allows future service designers to learn about different conceptual perspectives when designing a service. It is an opportunity for students to gain theoretical insight and to practice using specific methods and tools for each approach. Students are tasked with team projects and challenged with the entire process of creating a new service or transforming an existing one – from research and conception to prototyping and preparing pilot interventions.
Services are all around us. We may not realize it, but we use dozens of them every day. We get around on public transport or in shared vehicles, we read the news on our smartphones, we pay for our shopping, we go to lessons, we throw waste in the bin and we go to the doctor.
The truth is that, regardless of what we perceive, the figures show a rising trend in services worldwide. According to the World Bank, services already account for 65% of global GDP – 69.5% in high-income areas and 53.7% in medium or low-income countries.
This has triggered a growing demand for professionals who specialize in this sector, including designers, which is why the Master in Service Design was created. The service sector is a fascinating field to study in today’s world, where technological phenomena such as artificial intelligence, robotics and the Internet of things are driving deep, dizzying transformations in the way we pay for, provide and use services.
The concept of Service Design refers to innovation in services from a human and systemic perspective by leveraging creativity and iterative processes. So, what exactly does a service designer do? These are some of their possible functions, depending on their professional background and the context they work in:
- Orchestrating the various stages of service to ensure a pleasant, seamless experience.
- Detecting opportunities for new services and conceptualizing systems that allow to co-create added value with users or even among multiple organizations.
- Enabling various players to take an active part in defining new practices and narratives about value, both inside and outside organizations.
- To grasp the various conceptual perspectives of service design and be able to choose which one is most suitable for each design intervention.
- To test specific approaches, methods, and tools while developing projects related to creating new services, evaluating and transforming existing services or implementing operational changes at the supplier level.
- To encourage an experimental attitude, efficient self-management and the ability to work on multi- and inter-disciplinary teams, as well as collaborating with users and other stakeholders.
- To foster sensitivity and a critical mind regarding the latest breakthroughs in service design and other social-technical developments affecting the service economy.
The learning experience in this course consists in:
- Undertaking the practical and experimental development of real projects for companies selected by IED Masters.
- Understanding the theoretical framework and fundamentals of service design as a basis for decision‑making.
- Hearing about first‑hand experiences shared by teachers and guest speakers.
The course tackles service design from three different perspectives in three-team projects. Each project in the course goes through every stage in the design process: gathering information, synthesizing and defining the approach, iterative development and preparing for implementation. Nevertheless, students are expected to tackle every project from a new standpoint. The reason is to make students feel more and more comfortable with the design process. It also ensures they are prepared to take on increasingly challenging tasks.
- Professionals and graduates in product design, digital design, graphic design, and interior design wishing to specialize in services.
- User experience experts looking to play a more strategic role.
- Professionals who work in marketing, communication, sociology, anthropology and market research and are interested in pursuing a career in service innovation and customer experience.
Depending on the student’s profile and experience, they will be qualified to work for public organizations, private firms or NGOs, either in-house or externally as a:
- Service designer
- Strategic designer
- UX researcher
- Design researcher
- UX strategist
- Design thinker or design thinking consultant
- Customer experience designer
Service designer and co-founder of We Question Our Project, a service design studio based in Barcelona. She works for businesses and public organizations at a local and a European level in areas such as health and aging, education, local development, customer service and business collaboration within service ecosystems. Her previous background lies in user experience research and content design.
She studied a degree in Philosophy, and a degree in Translation and Interpreting, a postgraduate degree in Design Thinking and Innovation in Elisava, and she is currently studying an MBA in Service Innovation and Design in Laurea Polytechnical University in Finland.
She is also a regular lecturer or visiting lecturer on service design, service prototyping and co-creation in several design schools, universities like Barcelona University or Pompeu Fabra University, business schools like IESE and in-house training services in government.
About the School
The IED Barcelona is a workshop for conducting analysis and research applied to material culture, a focus it is destined to develop increasingly in the future.