This list represents a summary of the past forty years of service design literature. The citations were compiled from the Emergence conference at Carnegie Mellon University as well as the Designing for Services project in the UK, service design syllabi at CMU and independent research. I've included the abstracts and introductions to the papers and cross-referenced examples and concepts so that it's easy to follow the development of ideas such as "service blueprinting" across multiple papers.

Select any underlined term to filter the list, showing only papers that share that particular concept, example, author, journal or decade. If you'd like to help fill in the gaps by suggesting other canonical papers, e-mail the citations to service at Thanks!

Filter: Papers that mention "Environment" | View all papers
Silent Design
Design Studies, 1987
Peter Gorb
From the article: "This paper describes the outcomes of a one-year pilot research study and outlines the routes for the two-year wider study to follow. The research was prompted by the growing interest in the UK in design and its contribution to business performance, and the need to replace anecdote about 'best practice' in organizing and utilizing design with information about more 'general' practice. After defining design as 'a course of action for the development of an artefact' and suggesting that design activity pervades organizations, the paper describes the methodology used to examine how design is organized. Using matrices to explore the interaction of design with other business functions the report suggests that 'silent design' (that is design by people who are not designers and are not aware that they are participating in design activity) goes on in all the organizations examined, even those which have formal design policies and open design activities. It is the scope and nature of 'silent design', and its conflict and/or cooperation with formal design activity, which will form the basis for the hypothesis on which the wider investigation will be built."

Examples: London Business School, Design Council

Compare with:
Why Design is Difficult to Manage: A Survey of Attitudes and Practices in British Industry
Servicescapes: The Impact of Physical Surroundings on Customers and Employees
Journal of Marketing, 1992
Mary Jo Bitner
From the article: "A typology of service organizations is presented and a conceptual framework is advanced for exploring the impact of physical surroundings on the behaviors of both customers and employees. The ability of the physical surroundings to faciliate achievement of organizational as well as marketing goals is explored. Literature from diverse disciplines provides theoretical grounding for the framework, which services as a base for focused propositions. By examining the multiple strategic roles that physical surroundings can exert in service organizations, the author highlights key managerial and research implications."

Examples: Hotels, Restaurants, Professional Offices, Banks, Retail Stores, Hospitals, Ticketron, Federal Express, Supermarket, 7-11, Cinnamon Roll Bakeries, Airports, Club Med, Benihana, Scandinavian Airline Systems, Fast Food Chain, Supermarkets, Department Stores, ATMs, Miniature Golf

Compare with:
Clueing in Customers
Clueing in Customers
Harvard Business Review, 2003
Leonard Berry
From the article: "When customers lack the expertise to judge a company's offerings, they naturally turn detective, scrutinizing people, facilities, and processes for evidence of quality. The Mayo Clinic understands this and carefully manages that evidence to convey a simple, consistent message: The needs of the patient come first. From the way it hires and trains employees to the way it designs its facilities and approaches its care, the Mayo Clinic provides patients and their families concrete evidence of its strengths and values--an approach that has allowed it to build what is arguably the most powerful brand in health care. Marketing professors Leonard Berry and Neeli Bendapudi conducted a five-month study of evidence management at the Mayo Clinic. Their experiences led them to identify best practices applicable to just about any company, in particular those that sell intangible or technically complex products."

Examples: Mayo Clinic, Ritz Carlton

Compare with:
Servicescapes: The Impact of Physical Surroundings on Customers and Employees
Service Behaviors that Lead to Satisfied Customers
Putting the Service-Profit Chain to Work