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 "GE Healthcare" | View all papers
The Core Competence of the Corporation
Harvard Business Review, 1990
C. K. Prahalad
From the article: "A company's competitiveness derives from its core competencies and core products. Core competence is the collective learning in the organization, especially the capacity to coordinate diverse production skills and integrate streams of technologies. First companies must identify core competencies, which provide potential access to a wide variety of markets, make a contribution to the customer benefits of the product, and are difficult for competitors to imitate. Next companies must reorganize to learn from alliances and focus on internal development."

Examples: Citibank, NEC, GTE, Canon, Honda, 3M, GE, Philips, JVC, Kodak, Xerox

Compare with:
Putting the Service-Profit Chain to Work
Creating Growth with Services
Sloan Management Review, 2004
Mohanbir Sawhney
From the article: "In a world of commoditized products, companies are turning to service offerings for growth. The key to success involves redefining markets in terms of customer activities and outcomes, not products and services."

Examples: Kodak, Ofoto, Noble House Custom Tailors, Batesville Casket Co., Florists, Bernina Sewing, McAfee, General Motors, OnStar,, Costco Wholesale, eBay Inc., Elance Inc., United Parcel Service, Nike, DuPont,, Pizza, John Deere and Co., Smith Cogeneration Management, Gevalia Kaffe

Four Strategies for the Age of Smart Services
Harvard Business Review, 2005
Glen Allmendinger
From the article: "Most industrial manufacturers realize that the real money isn't in products but in services. Companies such as General Electric and IBM have famously made the transition: A large proportion of their revenues and margins come from providing value-added services to customers. It is not enough, the authors say, just to provide services. Businesses must now provide "smart services"--building intelligence (awareness and connectivity) into the products themselves. Four business models will emerge in this new, networked world. Embedded innovator, solutionist, aggregator and synergist. Woe to the company that takes none of these paths; it'll soon find its former customers locked in--and happily--to other smart service providers."

Examples: Heidelberger Druckmaschinen, Air Products and Chemicals, Air Liquide, GE Healthcare, GE Industrial Capital Equipment, Hewlett-Packard, Kodak, Honeywell, Eaton Electrical, Gardner Denver, Electrolux, Rockwell Automation, Philips

Compare with:
Creating Growth with Services
The Four Things a Service Business Must Get Right
Harvard Business Review, 2008
Frances Frei
From the article: "Extensive study of the world's best service companies reveals the principles on which they're built."

Examples: Walmart, Starbucks, Commerce Bank, Progressive, Intuit, Airlines, Nestlé, Zipcar, Cleveland Clinic, Shouldice Hospital, Yum Brands, Omnicom, GE, Walmart, Starbucks, Commerce Bank, Progressive, Intuit, Airlines, Nestlé, Zipcar, Cleveland Clinic, Shouldice Hospital, Yum Brands, Omnicom, GE