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 published between 2010-2019 | View all papers
Transformative Services and Transformation Design
International Journal of Design, 2011
Daniela Sangiorgi
From the article: "This article reports on the recent evolution of service design toward becoming transformational. Services are less discussed as design objects and more as means for supporting the emergence of a more collaborative, sustainable and creative society and economy. The transformative role of design is combined with the potential transformative role of services. The term “transformation design” as set forth by Burns, Cottam, Vanstone, and Winhall (2006), has been associated with work within communities for socially progressive ends, but also with work within organisations to introduce a human-centred design culture. The intrinsic element of co-production of services in transformation design necessitates the concomitant development of staff, the public and the organisation. In this way, service design is entering the fields of organisational studies and social change with little background knowledge of their respective theories and principles. This article proposes the adoption and adaptation of principles and practices from organisational development and community action research into service design. Additionally, given the huge responsibilities associated with transformative practices, designers are urged to introduce reflexivity into their work to address power and control issues in each design encounter."
Promoting Service Design as a Core Practice in Interaction Design
Carnegie Mellon University, 2013
Jodi Forlizzi
From the article: "With the growth of mobile and social computing, interaction designers are increasingly being asked to design services and systems intended for societal change. In this paper, we argue that current interaction design approaches, inspired by user experience and user-centered design, are insufficient to appropriately take on these new challenges. We propose, instead, that our community considers a service design framing to complement what is already being done in the field. We describe the process of service design, and give examples of service design framings in several projects. We show that a service framing offers a systemic approach that better address the complex stakeholder relationships, yields outcomes in the form of product-service systems, and focuses on how value can be co-produced between customers and stakeholders."

Examples: Starbucks, Flipboard, Etsy, Mechanical Turk, Vine, Instagram, Tiramisu, The Snackbot, Twitter, Instagram, Yelp, Shazam

Service Research Priorities in a Rapidly Changing Context
Journal of Service Research, 2015
Amy Ostrom
From the article: "The context in which service is delivered and experienced has, in many respects, fundamentally changed. For instance, advances in technology, especially information technology, are leading to a proliferation of revolutionary services and changing how customers serve themselves before, during, and after purchase. To understand this changing landscape, the authors engaged in an international and interdisciplinary research effort to identify research priorities that have the potential to advance the service field and benefit customers, organizations, and society. The priority-setting process was informed by roundtable discussions with researchers affiliated with service research centers and networks located around the world and resulted in 12 service research priorities. For each priority, the authors identified important specific service topics and related research questions."

Examples: Rolls-Royce, Experio Lab, Zynga, Zappos, Mamma Mia, Google Wallet, Apple Pay, M-Pesa