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 howardesign.com. Thanks!

Filter: Papers published between 1980-1989 | View all papers
How to Design a Service
European Journal of Marketing, 1982
Lynn Shostack
From the article: "Suggests that behavioural hypothesis, which rearranges or alters any element, by design or accident, will change the overall entity, just like changing bonds or atoms in a molecule creates a new substance, and this is known as molecular modelling and this can help the marketer to better understand any market entity. States that the first step towards rational service design is a system for visualizing this phenomenon, enabling services to be given proper position and weight in the market entity context. Proposes that people are essential evidence of a service and how they are dressed or act has a bearing on this. Identifies benefits, standards and tolerances, and discusses modifications using tables and figures for emphasis. Concludes that modelling and blueprinting offer a system for marketers which can lead to the kind of experimentation and management necessary to service innovation and development."

Examples: Amusement Park, Fast Food Chain, Automobile Transportation, Airline Travel, Dry Cleaners, Tax Return Preparation, McDonalds, Corner Shoeshine

Compare with:
Designing product/service systems: A methodological exploration
Service Blueprinting: A Practical Tool for Service Innovation
Blueprinting the Service Company: Managing the Service Processes Efficiently
Designing Services that Deliver
Harvard Business Review, 1984
Lynn Shostack
From the article: "The service sector contributes substantially to the US gross national product, however, little effort has been directed toward applying the rational management techniques so common in the goods-producing sector to the design and operation of services. It has been assumed that good service is a function of the particular style of an entrepreneur or business and that it cannot be quantitatively analyzed. A method is presented to turn the trial-and-error process of service design into a rational, systematic process. In designing a service, the processes constituting the service must be identified, areas of potential service breakdown isolated, the amount of time required for service delivery determined, and a standard of service delivery time must be established to ensure profitability. Alternative methods of delivery should be examined, and means of highlighting tangible evidence of the service for consumers should be identified. The service should make customers feel special, requiring hiring, training, and performance standards which stress courtesy and credibility."

Examples: H&R Block, McDonalds, Walt Disney, Corner Shoeshine, Discount Brokerage

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
SERVQUAL: A Multiple-Item Scale for Measuring Consumer Perceptions of Service Quality
Journal of Retailing, 1988
A. Parasuraman
From the article: "Quality of service is becoming an increasingly important differentiator between competing businesses in the retailing sector. In today's fiercely competitive marketplace, characterized by similarly priced, look-alike product offerings from a variety of retailing firms, clear winners will be the ones that provide excellent service quality. The paper describes the development and potential applications of a multiple-item instrument--called SERVQUAL--for measuring customer perceptions of service quality. "

Examples: Appliance Repair and Maintenance, Banks, Long-distance Telephone, Credit card

Compare with:
The Service Encounter: Diagnosing Favorable and Unfavorable Incidents
Service Behaviors that Lead to Satisfied Customers
An Empirical Investigation of the Impact of Non Verbal Communication on Service Evaluation
Why Design is Difficult to Manage: A Survey of Attitudes and Practices in British Industry
European Management Journal, 1989
Angela Dumas
From the article: "Over the past decade design has emerged as a potent economic force in both the manufacturing and service sectors of Western industry. The notion of technology-led is now being replaced by technology- and design-led. The emergence of design, however, has been problematic for industry. Technological developments are relatively clear-cut: design developments are not. The formulation of effective design policy and the management of design are fraught with difficulties for companies. The research reported in this paper sought to investigate current practice and attitudes towards the management of design in British industry. This involved a survey of senior managers from major companies in Britain. A similar survey has been carried out in the USA which will be reported in a later paper. The main findings to emerge were (a) the existence of four distinct types of company, each with their own approach to design, (b) the pronounced effect a design manager has upon attitudes within a company and (c) the clear distinction between the manufacturing and service sectors. The practical implications of the research are discussed here with reference to the management of design in companies."

Examples: London Business School, Manufacturing Industry, Service Industry

Compare with:
Silent Design