Sneak Preview: principles of Service Design Thinking


Service Design forms the sound methodological heart of the Saxion Expedition.

The team is preparing by attending an online Massive Online Open Course (also known as MOOC), about Service Design Thinking. Lots of theory, lots of good grounding.  According to the Trajectory of artificiality by Krippendorf….

Design should address the elements below in an integrated fashion:

  • The product
  • The service it offers
  • The brand and its identity
  • The interface: the way people use it and communicate with it and the network it is a part of
  • The distribution system
  • The meaning and the effects that will occur


The service design process focuses on the service rather than the product. It includes a lot of qualitative research, to get to know as much as possible about the designated end user. The service design process is more or less organic, but always includes the following elements:

  • Problem finding: Observing people and the way they lead their lives. What do they come up against? How can we improve their lives?
  • Problem selecting: selecting projects to focus on. Taking ownership of that which may be improved.
  • Solution finding: brainstorming, ideating solutions–here’s where the creativity comes in
  • Solution selecting: analyzing solutions, assessing them critically, reframing them….

If necessary, you should go back to your end users and observe them again. Do research and come back with new issues, bring in refined solutions…

Here you see a design team at work in the Ideation Process: brainstorming on Ideas in a World Cafe session. Members of the Hospitality Excellence Programme, where teams of Dutch hotel schools design innovations for Koninklijke Horeca Nederland. The team includes Saxion’s Maartje Drijvers, who caught the Service Design “bug” and will join the Expedition in September to further specialize in Service Design.

Maartje at work

design thinking


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