7 Service Design books worth reading

In Strategic Design Lab we are constant learners. We love to be updated about new trends in the domain of design (strategic, UX, UI, graphic, products…) Since we are practitioners, we have observed a growing demand in the market of service design, one of the booming fields within design in the last years.

All started with “design thinking”, which is already a buzz word in the corporate environment. Now, service design is taking over as the new “infallible” tool to innovate, improve customer experience and bring business value to companies. Although service design was originated in Europe, nowadays it is a booming field in USA, Asia and Oceania. Basically it is being applied all around the world, and this is already a great achievement.

I would define service design as “a holistic user centered discipline that analyze the context of the user and the provider throughout the service experience in order to minimize pain or add greater value in the combination of touchpoints during the service”. This discipline is able to zoom in and out in the user experience, being capable to understand the big picture but also to change small details in certain touchpoints e.g. “from stakeholder mapping to swipe left feature in an app”

We have learnt for some years about service design and we still are, mainly practising and reading. Moreover, I have the priviledge to be a member of “Service design drinks Madrid”, a growing open community of almost 1000 curious practitioners who share the lastest trends in the industry. There, someone threw this question some time ago: Do you have any recommendation of service design books? So, to answer it, here you have a selection of my favourite service design books:

1.Service design: From insight to implementation. Definitely one of the references in the field. I read it some years ago and it explains the discipline and its tools in an easy and clear way. It helped me to convince a big corporate to apply service design internally, so I guess it is worth reading. Written by Livework’s founders, pioneers in service design.

2. This is service design thinking. One of the best sellers and a well known book in the field. It presents case studies with practical advice on the application of service design. Easy to read with relevant content. “This is service design doing” the new book of these authors was released in August 2017.

3. The Service Start Up. Tenhy Pinheiro is a well known author and an experienced service design practitioner. In this book he brings together the philosophy of Lean Start up and service design creating a fresh and practical tool for service designers willing to add agility to their process.

4. Service design in business. This book touches the basics of service design, the different parts of the process and its practical implementation within corporations. The business context has vital importance in Livework’s approach ans this fact can be seen in the book bridging design and business smoothly and focusing on creating user centered organizations.

5. Convivial Toolbox. Since research is an essential part of service design, I could not skip this book. Design research in the fuzzy front end is a complex field, however this book makes it so easy to understand (kind of “for dummies” style) that represent a workable tool to use in a daily basis. The book provides from general recommendations to small practical tips that help designers a lot through the research process. It is the perfect professional guide for design research.

6. The service innovation handbook. This book provides an useful set of methods and illustrative case studies that explain the connection between design and business. It is a great resource for design professionals who want to expand their personal toolkit.

7. Mapping experiences. This book cannot get more practical. It presents several mapping techniques and how to apply them in the context of customer experience but also taking into account business requirements. Good read to learn concrete techniques and the connection of those to strategic and business decisions.

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