Hello There! Preface

Where we come from: This book’s predecessor

Back in 2010, our book This is Service Design Thinking captured the state of the art. Marc was looking for a comprehensive resource to teach service design to his students, but could only give them URLs and articles spread around the web. So he teamed up with Jakob to create the resource himself. At the very start, it wasn’t even clear that the result would become a book, but it was clear that the project should be based on a real service design process – we wanted to practice what we preached.

So, we invited 23 co-authors and over 150 online contributors to create the most complete collection of basics, tools, and case studies possible. It soon became clear that only printed matter could inspire the perception of a standard reference. Even more importantly, it would be a snapshot, as we openly acknowledged that service design was and is an evolving field.

No one expected the book to become a best seller, but to our surprise it went on to be translated into multiple languages and even won several design awards. From the moment the book was printed, we received thousands of comments. The community responded to the book in an overwhelmingly positive way, but of course had plenty of fair criticism. To sum it up in three points: too fragmented, too academic, too theoretical.

Why this book is necessary

We heard you. It took us some years out in the field to finally produce the book’s sequel. More importantly, we were lucky enough to expand the team with two exceptional service design doers: Adam and Markus. So here we are with the logical sequel of thinking → doing.

One of the reasons why we called our first book Service Design Thinking was to trigger a discussion in the community on whether what we do is service design or design thinking or something else – trying to go beyond labels. This didn’t really work out as we hoped, and now there are agencies and design departments that call what they do service design thinking. Yes, we are flattered, and we still make jokes about it.

Service design (or design thinking, experience design, UX, CX, or whatever you might call what we’re doing) is not just about thinking. Design in general is an act of doing. The feedback we received for #TiSDT often emphasized that the best part of the book was its second part: the service design toolbox. This book now takes that idea of a toolbox further.

This is Service Design Doing is a handbook of service design – a toolbox, a description of methods, a facilitation guide, packed with cases and examples – giving a clear picture of how you can put all those pieces together. It is a book for “doers,” for people who want to improve customer experience as well as employee experience and the systems that connect all these stakeholders in an organization.

It is also a book that helps you pave the way to doing with both business and design audiences. It gives you enough theory and examples to explain why this approach actually works and how you can tie it into your organization.

The book you have in your hand concentrates on the bigger picture of setting up and running a service design initiative, and the details of facilitating both the project and the room. Many of the individual methods and tools involved – from visualization tools to specific research, ideation, or prototyping methods – are well known or already described in many other books and online resources. Instead of charging you for these “commodities,” we have made the best descriptions we can, added plenty of expert tips, and put them online for free. If you need them, download them from www.thisisservicedesigndoing.com 1 and share the worksheets with your colleagues.

We may call it service design, but many organizations we work with call it something else. This book is not about labels, but about how to get stuff done. How to have an impact on employees, customers, citizens, all of us.

Who should read this book

This book is for everyone interested in customer experience, innovation, and collaborative creation. Put another way, if you have picked up this book, it is probably for you. Perhaps you work in an organization which is trying to better help its customers (or citizens, or employees), and you want to create better or even new offerings that people will love to use and talk about. Perhaps your organization wants new ways to connect operational silos and work together more painlessly, using a “language” and toolset that everyone in the organization – and your stakeholders outside – can understand.

It might be that you want to run, lead, or participate in co-creative group sessions where people work together more effectively and enjoyably.

Maybe you have heard the term “service design thinking,” or something like it, and want to understand more about it and why it works. Or you have already learned something about it and need to “connect the dots,” moving from simple tool use to successful projects and strategy. You might even be a professional designer or consultant, looking to add to your knowledge or find material to use in your projects and sessions.

Who we are

We (Marc and Jakob) are the editors of This is Service Design Thinking, and we’ve been exploring this field since 2008, doing design work, design consultancy, teaching, and speaking. After working together for many years, we finally built two startups around service design: Smaply and ExperienceFellow. We couldn’t be happier to team up with service design consultants and trainers Adam Lawrence and Markus Hormess from WorkPlayExperience – widely known as instigators of the Global Service Jam with its famous motto of “Doing, not talking.”

In 2013, Marc, Adam, and Markus created an executive school called – surprise – This is Service Design Doing. Since then, hundreds of participants from all over the world and from a wide range of organizations have taken part, and the conversations with (future) service designers influenced much of what is contained in this book. The schools generated a co-created script that inspired us to write a sequel to #TiSDT.

Who is allowed to write this kind of book?

When we were discussing our plans to write a sequel to #TiSDT in 2014, we asked ourselves again: Who has the authority to write such a book? Who can decide which tools and methods should (or should not) be in the book? We came to the same conclusion as in 2009, when we wrote #TiSDT: it shouldn’t be us, it should be the global service design community. We can only suggest, write drafts, promote, get a diverse group of people to review and to write parts of the book; it should be the community that actually decides what should be included and what shouldn’t be. So as with #TiSDT, we decided to co-create #TiSDD with the community. Thankfully we found a publisher that supported us in this idea of co-creating a book together with a community: O’Reilly.

We were able to include the service design community in the shape of 200+ reviewers, cases from design agencies and in-house design departments, and as comments from both renowned service design experts and people from outside the community.

How to co-create a book

The content of this book has been through many iterations of writing, feedback, and rewriting. It started with the co-created handout from our This is Service Design Doing Executive Schools. More than 200 participants reviewed and added to our co-created script over 3 years, refining and reality-proofing it in real-world projects, creating the sh!tty first draft of what would turn into this book.

Based on this initial draft, we sketched out the content of this book and devised a co-creation strategy that led to a series of calls for contribution and co-creation. We invited leading service design practitioners from various fields and countries to submit case studies showing how specific tools and methods are applied in context. We asked the wider service design community for contributions through an open call on our temporary website, tisdd.rocks. Within an hour, 200 people had volunteered to review our drafts for the 12 chapters. We had intensive discussions and changes, and iterated our way forward.

Our publisher, O’Reilly, offered a pre-release version of this book as an ebook. Selected chapters were available for download from early 2016 on and we received feedback through the O’Reilly website, by email, and later also through tisdd.rocks. Our final draft was then sent out to invited experts from the service design community and beyond. They gave feedback on selected chapters and were invited to write comments, tips, or counter opinions, many of which are published under their own names next to the text. Finally, we invited 10 reviewers to read the whole manuscript end to end to review how the different parts fit together.

Overall, we tried to practice what we preach and used an iterative, co-creative, and “reader”-centered design approach to create this book. As you can imagine, such a process is time consuming and hard to plan. We missed many deadlines and had to postpone the publishing date several times. Luckily, we have a publisher who believed in these ideas and supported us all the way. And even now, this book is not “finished.” It is just the beginning. It is a slightly less sh!tty first draft …

– Your authors, Marc & Adam & Markus & Jakob



Adam Cochrane, Adriana Ojeda, Agnieszka Mróz, Ahmad Heshmat, Aimee Tasker, Alexander Staufer, Amy Barron, Ana Kyra Bekš, Ana Luis, Ana Osredkar, André Diniz de Moraes, Andreas Conradi, Andreas Kupfer, Anna Pfeifer, Anne Sofie Laursen, Ariane Fricke, Arthur Yeh, Barbara Niederschick, Beatriz Ricci, Belinda Garfath, Bengi Turgan, Brandon Ward, Bree Miller, Brian Clark, Camilla Bengtsson, Carlos Martinez, Carola Verschoor, Carolina López Tomás, Caroline Gagnon, Charles Woolnough, Chris Ferguson, Chris Roth, Christian Bessembinders, Christof Zürn, Claudia Brückner, Claudio Stivala, Clizia Welker, Daragh Henchy, Dariusz Paczewski, David Hernandez, Dennis Flood, Diego Passos, Diogo Rebelo, Dmitry Zenin, Do Hyeung Kim, Eerikki Mikkola, Elena Bernia, Elena Klepikova, Elizabeth Kimball, Eric Horster, Erik Flowers, Fabián Longhitano, Fabian Segelström, Felipe Montegu, Ferdinand Grah, Filipa Silva, Florian Egger, Francis Szilard Szakacs, Frank Danzinger, Fred Zimny, Frederic Dimanche, Gabriel Jiménez Andreu, Gerry Scullion, Graham Hill, Grete Haukelid, Guillaume Py, Hadas Arazi, Hajj Flemings, Henriette Søgaard Clausen, Ieva Prodniece, Ileana Manera, Ingrid Burkett, Irena Korcz, Iryna Prus, Ivan Boscariol, Izabela Piotrowska, Jaap Daalhuizen, Jane Vita, Jason Grant, Jens Wiemann, Jia Liang Wong, Jody Parra, Josef Winkler, Joseph McCarthy, Joumana Mattar, Juan David Martin, Juan Gasca, Juha Kronqvist, Julio Boaventura Jr, Kaja Misvær Kistorp, Karin Lycke, Katharina Ehrenmüller, Katharina Rainer, Kathryn Grace, Katrin Mathis, Kelsea Ballantyne, Kitjakaan Chuaychoowong, Kristin Low, Laura Mata García, Lennard Hulsbos, Leon Jacobs, Leonides Delgado, Lina Arias, Lindsay Tingström, Linus Schaaf, Lisa Gately, Lucas Freed, Luis Francisco López, Luis Miguel Garrigós Escobar, Lukasz Foks, Luke McKinney, Lysa Morrison, Mai Saito, Manuel Grassler, Manuela Boaventura, Manuela Procopio, Marcin Nieweglowski, Marco Di Norcia, Marianne Brierley, Mariusz Muraszko, Mark Cameron, Mark Goddard, Marlies Deforche, Marta Grochowska, Martha Valenta, Martin Heider, Martin Hrdlicka, Masaaki Nagao, Massimo Curatella, Matt Edgar, Maurice Vroman, Mauricio Manhaes, Mauro Rego, Max Niederschick, Megan Miller, Michael Darius, Michael Kacprzak, Mikael Seppälä, Mike Laurie, Mikkel Hansen, Mikko Väätäinen, Monica Puoli, Monica Ray Scott, Morten Skovvang, Natasche Padialli, Nathan Lucy, Nicola Giacchè, Nicolaas Bijvoet, Niels Corsten, Niels Verhart, Nurit Millo, Owen Hodda, Pablo Álvarez, Patricia Stark, Patti Hunt, Paul Flood, Pedro Moreira da Silva, Peesasadech Pechnoi, Peter Jaensch, Peter Jordan, Phillippa Rose, Primoz Mahne, Rafael Poiate, Ren Chang Soo, Ricardo Stucchi, Riccardo Ghignoni, Richard McMurray, Richard Tom, Richard Turner, Ron Bronson, Ross Robinson, Rui Quinta, Rupert Tebb, Seong-Eun Lee, Shahla Khan, Shaun Rolls, Simon Roberts, Sophie Buergin, Stefan Holmlid, Stefan Moritz, Stephan Pühler, Tadjine Nadim, Tenna Doktor Olsen Tvedebrink, Tero Marin, Tero Väänänen, Teun den Dekker, Thomas Sprangers, Tiago Nunes, Tiina Maria Honkanen, Tim Smith, Tiziano Luccarelli, Tomas Vergara, Trevor Jurgens, Tuan Huynh, Ulf Hücker, Valeria Adani, Valeria Grauso, Veronica Fossa, Vicky Tiegelkamp, Wilbert Baan, William Bakker, William Green, William Spiga, Yolanda Ladia, Yosef Shuman, Zuzanna Ostafin



  • Inline I think SD rocks. I love doing SD projects, the process of gaining insights, the conversations along the way and the results you can achieve.

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  • Inline Because the book: “This is SD Thinking” is so great, and yesterday I listened to a UX podcast “Breaking down digital media silos!” with Donald Norman, where he talked also about “SD doing.”

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  • Inline Soy apasionado por el diseño de servicios. Estoy interesado que más personas tengan acceso a metodologías y herramientas de diseño de servicios.

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1 Or simply www.tisdd.com.

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