The evolution of service design in the last few years has shown that services can be shaped to design individual, highly personalized and highly location specific solutions. However the most known studies on service design mostly cover individual cases, in which the main focus is either on user experience or on user co-creation or on technical shaping of the service. An overall view could give the impression that service design is still in a craftsmanship stage, in which the question of implementing services, thus making them reproducible, or translating them from one context to another has hardly been addressed. A recent overview of cases and contributions to service design emphasised the fact that most of the cases in the service design literature are one-off cases, often supported by external funds (research or government funds) and many of those cases did not survive beyond the funding period. In very few cases the emphasis has been put on how to design and implement a solid service process that could ensure the service’ economic sustainability beyond the funding period. The lack of a solid process structure also makes those cases veryhard to reproduce, that means that companies and organizations that design a service for a specific local or logical context will find it very hard to use the same resources (knowledge, infrastructure, personnel) in a different context. In practical terms, what services are missing is something similar to what industrialization generated in product design: a process-focused approach that made it possible to optimize resources in the production of services. The discussion on this approach is very critical, because it introduces the need to ensure services’ economic sustainability while preserving the service quality and the strong focus on user’s need and highly individualized solutions. The question of industrialization of services is therefore introducing an apparent dichotomy: on one hand service design needs to optimize production processes and the use of resources, while on the other hand it should keep its focus on high quality user experience and individual solutions. This dichotomy is becoming more and more evident in the public service sector, where massive cuts are brought about by the global economic crisis and by the crisis of the welfare state. This paper focuses on this dichotomy with the aim to explore its foundation and to investigate possible solutions to it. The paper is grounded on some critical questions: Is this a real dichotomy? Can we find a new perspective to overcome this dichotomy? What can designers do to contribute to this new perspective?
Service Design With Theory: Discussions on Change, Value and Methods, 2013
Service design; Reproducibility of services; Industrialization of services; social innovation; codification of knolwedge