Illustration of a man looking at mails. He stands by a mail box in front of a house.

Design is trending in business. Business gurus are writing about design and the value it offers to more traditional business practice to enable innovation, collaboration, and creativity. Forrester Research describes service design as “the most important design discipline.” Businesses like Apple, Dyson, and Philips have raised the awareness of the value of design to business. Other major businesses are bringing design capabilities in-house. IBM is building its Design Studio. Capital One Bank acquired leading design agency Adaptive Path. Mayo Clinic has its own design practice. The U.K. government is hiring designers in areas including tax and revenue and justice. Leading management consultancies are recognizing the value of design, too. McKinsey has bought design studio Lunar. Accenture acquired Fjord in the digital design space.

In light of these developments, we want to help business and government organizations understand what design can do for services—but what is service design? Service design is the design of services. When we started Livework in 2001, we wanted to have a positive impact on the way people live and work. Service design is helping us make that impact—it improves and innovates the services we use day to day. Banking and insurance, health care, transportation, business services, and a wealth of government activities are all services.

Organizations ...

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