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 "American Express" | View all papers
The Industrialization of Service
Harvard Business Review, 1976
Theodore Levitt
From the article: "The introduction of hard, soft, or hybrid technologies into service areas is the beginning of the industrialization of service. The key point is to increase the volume of service to a magnitude sufficient to achieve efficiency and to employ systems and technologies which produce reliable, rapid, and low-cost service results. Various cases illustrate problems of paperwork, service repairs, selling, and specialization, when implementing this management rationality. Service industrialization requires a set of processes and management that is much different from that used in the functional production of goods."

Examples: Supermarkets, Fast Food, American Express, H&R Block, The Damon Corporation, Health Mainenance Organizations, Ambulatory Surgical Facility, Transamerica Title Insurance Company, Shoe Repair

Compare with:
Will You Survive the Services Revolution?
Five Imperatives for Improving Service Quality
Sloan Management Review, 1990
Leonard Berry
From the article: "It is time for U.S. companies to raise their service aspirations significantly and for U.S. executives to declare war on mediocre service and set their sights on consistently excellent service, say the authors. This goal is within reach if managers will provide the necessary leadership, remember that the sole judge of service quality is the customer, and implement what the authors call the "five service imperatives."

Examples: Deluxe Corporation, Southwest Airlines, Sewell Village Cadillac, Palais Royal Apparel, Nordstroms, Wal-Mart, McDonalds, Century 21, Walt Disney World, Friendly Bank, PHH FleetAmerica, Aid Association for Lutherans, Preston Trucking Company, Books and Co., Florida Power & Light, British Airways, Wachovia Bank & Trust, First Bank System, American Express

Compare with:
SERVQUAL: A Multiple-Item Scale for Measuring Consumer Perceptions of Service Quality
Clueing in Customers
R&D Comes to Services: Bank of America's Pathbreaking Experiments
Harvard Business Review, 2003
Stefan Thomke
From the article: "In this article, Harvard Business School professor Stefan Thomke points out the challenges of applying the discipline of formal R&D processes to services: Because a service often exists only in the moment of its delivery to a customer, it is difficult to isolate in a traditional laboratory. And since many services are tailored to individual buyers at the point of purchase, they can't be tested through large samples. As a result, experiments with new services are most useful when they are conducted live--with real customers engaged in real transactions. But live tests magnify the cost of failure; an experiment that doesn't work may harm customer relationships and even the brand. Given such challenges, it's no surprise that most service companies have not established rigorous, ongoing R&D processes, Thomke says. Here the author provides an in-depth look at a five-step process that Bank of America has used to create new service concepts for retail banking."

Example: Bank of America

Compare with:
The Lean Service Machine