Service Design in a Venture-as-as-Service Model

Service Design (SERVD) is about making the service you deliver useful, usable, efficient, effective and desirable. It’s about designing both intangible and tangible elements that make up the way you deliver your service to customers.

Service Design (SERVD) uses a range of established and new design tools that are used to identify, define and optimize processes, interactions, touchpoints, people’s roles and the ecosystems that make up a service.

I was an early adopter and evangelist of Service Design and over the years I have acquired a range of skills and perspectives on how to work with organizations to improve their services and importantly deliver great innovative services that deliver value-in-use coupled with great experiences.

The Services Sector

Let’s take a look back and examine why service design in increasingly being adopted and used to transform the way we deliver services. In the UK there has been a massive shift in economic power from manufacturing to services in the past five decades. In 1948, British industry (including manufacturing, oil and gas extraction as well as utilities) accounted for 41% of the British economy but by 2013, it was just 14%. At the same time the service sector’s share of the economy rose from 46% to 79% today. (Source: The Guardian ).

Compare the UK’s GDP from services to Europe’s where it is 72%, while China has 45%, the USA’s services account for 71% and worldwide it is 65%. (Source: The Economist).

In the Outcome economy there are a new wave of highly successful businesses that are focused on delivering services. Airbnb, Amazon, Spotify, Uber are examples of how companies are disrupting traditional industries by using service-centric thinking. From hospitality and retail to entertainment to transport we are experiencing a revolution. The key to success today and in the next decade is service design.

It’s not just about business. Public services are also transforming. According to the UK’s Design Council for every £1 invested in the design of innovative services, the UK’s public sector clients have achieved more than £26 of returns (in terms of savings and social equity).

Service Design in a Venture-as-a-Model

Service design can help you identify new opportunity areas to expand current service offering, but also define new services offerings by working with customers and stakeholders using service design thinking and its collaborative practices.

Service design is part of a design triangle that works in conjunction with experience design and interaction design.


Increasingly, Service Design is being offered as a means to define and deliver new ventures by the world’s leading business consultancies as they shift from a service-as-a-fee model to venture-as-a-service model.

In the past year 18 months, a number of the world’s leading consultancies have bought creative agencies so that they can offer Service Design (and UX design) as part of a transformation offering. For example, Accenture bought Fjord, Ernst & Young bought Seren, McKinsey bought Lunar and Boston Consulting Group bought S&C among others.


When to use Service Design

Service Design is a process of design that is both customer-centric and systems orientated. It is distinct from user experience design and interaction design but part of a triptych for designing in the outcome economy.

According to the Design Council (UK), Service Design adds significant value when applied in the one or more of the following circumstances:

1. Service design as a methodology with tools to deliver optimized offerings and experiences.

2. Service design as a people-centred process to address specific operational and organisational needs as part of a transformation or new venture.

3. Service design as a collaborative process that requires a co-design and people focused approach.

4. Service design as a methodology to optimize complex systems and interconnected and entangled ecosystems to create disruptive innovation.

For more about Service Design, Experience Design and Digital Design Strategy visit

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