Building a community of interest & practice in Service Design.

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Date: Thursday 23rd July 6:00pm – 7:00pm
Remote event via Zoom, link upon registration

WorkSafe Victoria is on a journey to become more prevention-led, empathetic and intentional in its approach to innovation. Andrew Barrie (Innovation Lead) will discuss the hits, misses and things we have learnt while establishing a small, but impactful, design practice inside our state’s Health and Safety regulator.

Don’t forget to book your spot through Eventbrite.


Don Norman explains why he doesn’t believe empathy is enough and explores its practical and moral limitations.

From the archive and highly relevant today, Eric Meyers provides guidance and insight into designing for crisis.

Design for the new abnormal by avoiding the nostalgia trap and explore new strategies, abstract methods, portals and magic in Philip McKenzie’s great article.

Read about the power of embracing constraints and designing for complexity with great case studies and insights from Craig Walker’s Marty Brown.

This is Doing:

New online courses are now available covering the many areas of design, from digital journey mapping, pitching and HCD, to more business focused topics such as product management and how to lead conversations.

SDM members can use code Q5AT763EEMZ6 for a tidy 15% off.

CX Collective (NZ):

On July 28th New Zealand’s CX Collective is running an online course to explore gamifying the customer experience as part of their resilience series.


While there are no specialised University degrees teaching Service Design in Australia, the institutions listed below offer education in relevant skills or postgraduate opportunities in the area. If you’re an educator teaching Service Design please get in touch and we can add you to this list.

RMIT University

The Master of Design Futures is an accelerated post-professional program for experienced designers wanting to apply their skills to strategic and leadership roles. You will develop strategic skills and practices that equip you for leadership roles in traditional design businesses as well as organisations using design as their key strategic means of encouraging innovation. This is a graduate education program for working professionals who want to learn about meaningful, potent and valuable domains for design practice, and to develop the capacity to articulate, frame and deliver the value that design brings to broader contexts of business, government and society.

Master of Design Futures (Program)
Service Design for Communication Designers (Postgraduate Course)

Swinburne University

The Master of Design Strategy and Innovation combines study in design thinking, design management and strategy, systems and complexity thinking, innovation processes, futures forecasting, leadership and advanced sustainability practice. The course is suitable for designers and non-designers who wish to complement their existing skills with the frameworks, strategies, techniques and tools to solve complex problems. Students learn how to integrate design-led strategies into existing practice in business, government agencies, social enterprise and communities. The course prepares students to create, lead and manage new products, systems and services that have a sustainable impact on the economy, society and the environment. They may also undertake study in related areas such as marketing, entrepreneurship and innovation, media and management. Students have the option to participate in study tours and projects with Design Factory Melbourne.

Master of Design Strategy and Innovation (Program)
Graduate Diploma of Design Strategy and Innovation (Program)
Graduate Certificate of Design Strategy and Innovation (Program)


The consultancies below offer short introductory courses in Service Design run by their practitioners. Check their websites for upcoming dates.


Thriving organisations are redefining themselves and identifying new opportunities for meaningful value exchange with their customers. To do this, they are envisioning the future using fundamentally different thinking and being. This requires people who are agile, empathic, and lead with purpose to put customers at the heart of their organisation. They achieve this by embracing a fundamental mindset shift to a human-centred, positive and generative mindset. To do different things, you must think differently. To think differently, you must be different. Huddle Academy supports people adopting a different mindset so you can lead the charge for large organisations by enabling them to be different. Huddle Academy supports this shift in being. We are human beings after all, not human doings.


Meld Studios

Meld Studios is an award winning design studio with offices in Sydney and Melbourne. We seek to improve the everyday lives of people as they interact with the world around them. We work with organisations such as Telstra, Qantas, Westpac, AMP, The State Library of Victoria, the NSW Department of Justice, Digital Transformation Agency and the NSW Department of Education and Communities to do just that.

Our hands-on workshops provide a mix of theory and practical activities. The workshops are ideal for anyone charged with helping their organisation become more customer-centred.

Meld Studios

Short Courses

The private training providers below offer short introductory courses in Service Design. As these are private providers and these are not accredited courses we recommend researching the background of course tutors before enrolling. Check their websites for upcoming dates.

Academy Xi

Our expert-led courses and workshops are designed to help you learn, practice and embed new knowledge, preparing you to shape your career and change the world.

Academy Xi Melbourne Courses

General Assembly

At General Assembly, we are creating a global community of individuals empowered to pursue work they love, by offering full-time immersive programs, long-form courses, and classes and workshops on the most relevant skills of the 21st century – from web development and user experience design, to business fundamentals, to data science, to product management and digital marketing.

General Assembly Melbourne Courses

Service Design Books

Know of any great books about Service Design, Customer Experience or Social Innovation? Let us know and we’ll add them to this list.

Designing for Service: Key issues and new direction

Edited by Daniella Sangiorgi & Alison Prendiville

Service design is the activity of planning and organizing people, infrastructure, communication and material components of a service in order to improve its quality and the interaction between service provider and customers. It is now a growing field of both practice and academic research. Designing for Service brings together a wide range of international contributors to map the field of service design and identify key issues for practitioners and researchers such as identity, ethics and accountability. Designing for Service aims to problematize the field in order to inform a more critical debate within service design, thereby supporting its development beyond the pure methodological discussions that currently dominate the field. The contributors to this innovative volume consider the practice of service design, ethical challenges designers may encounter, and the new spaces opened up by the advent of modern digital technologies. 


Design for Services

Edited by Anna Meroni & Daniella Sangiorgi

Design For Services
In Design for Services, Anna Meroni and Daniela Sangiorgi articulate what Design is doing and can do for services, and how this connects to existing fields of knowledge and practice. Designers previously saw their task as the conceptualisation, development and production of tangible objects. In the twenty-first century, a designer rarely ‘designs something’ but rather ‘designs for something’: in the case of this publication, for change, better experiences and better services. 

The authors reflect on this recent transformation in the practice, role and skills of designers, by organising their book into three main sections. The first section links Design for Services to existing models and studies on services and service innovation. Section two presents multiple service design projects to illustrate and clarify the issues, practices and theories that characterise the discipline today; using these case studies the authors propose a conceptual framework that maps and describes the role of designers in the service economy. The final section projects the discipline into the emerging paradigms of a new economy to initiate a reflection on its future development.

Gower publishing

Related: Watch Anna Meroni’s talk for Service Design Melbourne and DESIS-Lab Melbourne.

The Design of Business

By Roger Martin

The Design of Business
Most companies today have innovation envy. They yearn to come up with a game-changing innovation like Apple’s iPod, or create an entirely new category like Facebook. Many make genuine efforts to be innovative-they spend on R&D, bring in creative designers, hire innovation consultants. But they get disappointing results. Why? In The Design of Business, Roger Martin offers a compelling and provocative answer: we rely far too exclusively on analytical thinking, which merely refines current knowledge, producing small improvements to the status quo.

Harvard Business School Press

The Field Guide to Human-Centered Design


The Field Guide to Human-Centered Design
At, part of our mission is to spread human-centered design to social sector practitioners around the world. The Field Guide to Human-Centered Design reveals our process with the key mindsets that underpin how and why we think about design for the social sector, 57 clear-to-use design methods for new and experienced practitioners, and from-the-field case studies of human-centered design in action. The Field Guide has everything you need to understand the people you’re designing for, to have more effective brainstorms, to prototype your ideas, and to ultimately arrive at more creative solutions.

Interviewing Users

By Steve Portigal

Interviewing Users
Interviewing is a foundational user research tool that people assume they already possess. Everyone can ask questions, right? Unfortunately, that’s not the case. Interviewing Users provides invaluable interviewing techniques and tools that enable you to conduct informative interviews with anyone. You’ll move from simply gathering data to uncovering powerful insights about people.

Rosenfeld Media

Related: Watch Steve Portigal’s talk for Service Design Melbourne and DESIS-Lab Melbourne

Routledge Companion to Digital Ethnography

Edited by Larissa Hjorth, Heather Horst, Anne Galloway and Genevieve Bell

With the increase of digital and networked media in everyday life, researchers have increasingly turned their gaze to the symbolic and cultural elements of technologies. From studying online game communities, locative and social media to YouTube and mobile media, ethnographic approaches to digital and networked media have helped to elucidate the dynamic cultural and social dimensions of media practice. The Routledge Companion to Digital Ethnography provides an authoritative, up-to-date, intellectually broad, and conceptually cutting-edge guide to this emergent and diverse area.


Service Design: From Insight to Implementation

by Andy Polaine, Ben Reason & Lavrans Løvlie

Service Design: From Insight to Implementation
Service Design is an eminently practical guide to designing services that work for people. It offers powerful insights, methods, and case studies to help you design, implement, and measure multichannel service experiences with greater impact for customers, businesses, and society.

Rosenfeld Media

Related: Watch Andy Polaine’s talk for Service Design Melbourne and DESIS-Lab Melbourne

Book review: Read its book review in Design and Culture: The Journal of Design Studies Forum by Dr Yoko Akama


Service Innovation Handbook: Action-oriented Creative Thinking Toolkit for Service Organizations

by Lucy Kimbell

The Service Innovation Handbook
The Service Innovation Handbook provides a language and practical concepts to understand what is involved in designing innovative services; 15 practical tools to stimulate creative approaches at the early stages of designing innovative services; and 16 cases of how different kinds of organization have designed services. The book is aimed at people studying or working in organizational contexts trying to tackle complex challenges through service innovation, who might come from design, user research, IT, management, policy or entrepreneurship.

BIS Publishers

This is Service Design Doing

by Marc Stickdorn, Marcus Edgar Hormess, Adam Lawrence, Jakob Schneider

This is Service Design Doing

To be published April 2016

How can you establish a customer-centric culture in an organization? This is the first comprehensive book on how to actually do service design to improve the quality and the interaction between service providers and customers. You’ll learn specific facilitation guidelines on how to run workshops, perform all of the main service design methods, implement concepts in reality, and embed service design successfully in an organisation. Service design requires a common language across disciplines to break down silos within an organization. This book provides a consistent model for accomplishing this and offers hands-on descriptions of every single step, tool, and method used. You’ll be able to focus on your customers and iteratively improve their experience. Move from theory to practice and build sustainable business success.

O’Reilly Media

This is Service Design Thinking

by Marc Stickdorn & Jakob Schneider

This is Service Design Thinking
This is Service Design Thinking introduces an inter-disciplinary approach to designing services. Service design is a bit of a buzzword these days and has gained a lot of interest from various fields. This book, assembled to describe and illustrate the emerging field of service design, was brought together using exactly the same co-creative and user-centred approaches you can read and learn about inside. The boundaries between products and services are blurring and it is time for a different way of thinking: this is service design thinking.

BIS Publishers

Related: Watch Mark Stickdorn’s talk for Service Design Melbourne and DESIS-Lab Melbourne.

Wicked Problems: Problems Worth Solving

by Jon Kolko

It feels like our world is spinning out of control. We see poverty, disease, and destruction all around us, and as we search for ways to make sense of the chaos, we’re turning to new disciplines for answers and solutions. New, creative innovations are needed, and these new approaches demand different methods and different theories. This book is presented as a handbook for teaching and learning how to design for impact. In it, you’ll learn how to apply the process of design to large, wicked problems, and how to gain control over complexity by acting as a social entrepreneur. You’ll learn an argument for why design is a powerful agent of change, and you’ll read practical methods for engaging with large-scale social problems.


Service Design Toolkits

We’re building a list of toolkits and resources relevant to Service Designers, Experience Designers, Social Innovators and Human-centered Designers in general. If you’d know of something that could be added please get in touch.

AC4D Design Library

A library of practical resources to support the process of design. Austin Center for Design is an educational institution in Austin, Texas, teaching Interaction Design and Social Entrepreneurship.

Business Model Canvas / Value Proposition Canvas

A couple of resources from Strategizer, who also publish books on the subject:

The Business Model Canvas, is a strategic management and entrepreneurial tool. It allows you to describe, design, challenge, invent, and pivot your business model. The Value Proposition Canvas makes explicit how you are creating value for your customers. It helps you to design products and services your customers want.

DIY Toolkit

The DIY Toolkit has been especially designed for development practitioners to invent, adopt or adapt ideas that can deliver better results:

This is a toolkit on how to invent, adopt or adapt ideas that can deliver better results. It’s quick to use, simple to apply, and designed to help busy people working in development.

The tools are not coming out of thin air. It draws on a study of many hundreds of tools currently being used – here we have included only the ones which practitioners found most useful. Many of them are well documented and have been widely used in other sectors. In that sense this toolkit is standing on the shoulders of giants, and we are happy to acknowledge that. All the tool descriptions include a key reference, so it is easy to trace back their origins and dive deeper into other publications about their application.

Hyper Island Toolbox

This is a toolbox for anyone who wants to do things more creatively and collaboratively in their team or organization. It’s a collection of methods and activities, based on Hyper Island’s methodology, that you can start using today.

Hyper Island is a creative business school which also offers consulting services. Since 1996, Hyper Island has been helping individuals and organizations seize their potential, develop and be leaders in a world of constant change.

IDEO Design Kit

A step-by-step guide to the elements of human-centered design, specifically adapted for NGOs and social enterprises working with low-income communities around the globe. Through a series of methods, activities, and resources, the toolkit can empower individuals and organizations to become designers themselves and enable change in their own communities:

Human-centered design is a creative approach to problem solving and the backbone of our work at It’s a process that starts with the people you’re designing for and ends with new solutions that are tailor made to suit their needs. Human-centered design is all about building a deep empathy with the people you’re designing for; generating tons of ideas; building a bunch of prototypes; sharing what you’ve made with the people you’re designing for; and eventually putting your innovative new solution out in the world.

The Service Design Toolkit

The Service Design Toolkit is an introduction to the methodology of service design. The toolkit is the outcome of a partnership between Namahn and Design Flanders:

This toolkit holds a number of tools which you can use in your own workshop. For each technique you can find material to help you. The workshop materials can be found under downloads. Also included are a series of portraits that can be used throughout the development process.

The Social Design Methods Menu

A Social Design Methods Menu (4.1mb PDF) in “perpetual beta” by Lucy Kimbell and Joe Julier:

This document summarises the main approaches and methods developed over several years through teaching and supporting managers and entrepreneurs. It is something to read and something to use.

It provides an introduction and manual for those looking for a new way to tackle social and policy issues, such as caring for the elderly or reducing worklessness among young people.

What we call this, whether it is “social design”, “service design” or “human-centred design” isn’t that important – the approach and methods are. But, if you want a definition of social design, the one we offer is this: A practical learning journey taken by people including managers and entrepreneurs, to create useful, usable and meaningful ventures, services and products that combine resources efficiently and effectively, to work towards achieving desired outcomes and impacts on society in ways that are open to contestation and dialogue.

Journals on Service Design

We’re building a list of journals related to Service Design, Social Innovation and Customer Experience. If you know of a relevant journal let us know and we’ll add it to this list.


Touchpoint, the Journal of Service Design, was launched in May 2009 and is the first journal on service design worldwide. It is published by Service Design Network three times per year and provides a written record of the ongoing discussions of the service design community. It aims at facilitating a forum to debate, share, advance, and codify the field of service design and its practices. Furthermore it wants to inform and engage clients that can listen in to the discussion, learn about the field, and become involved in the development and implementation of service design for their organisations. Each issue focuses on one topic and features news and trends, interviews, insightful discussions and case studies. All issues of Touchpoint are available on the SDN website as both hard copies and downloadable single articles.

International Journal of Design: Special issue on Designing for Services

Vol. 5(2) August 2011

Design is Invisible

In 1980, Lucius Burkhardt, the German sociologist and design dean in Weimar, published the essay “Design is Invisible” (Burkhardt, 1995). Relating his own research to Christoph Alexander’s Pattern Language, he concluded that the main focus of design should not be materialization but rather the value of solutions. This was one of the first manifestations of a shift in design taking place over the last few decades. As a matter of fact, we can observe two such major shifts in the design world.

In the traditional world of product design, we can observe a shift from design being seen and used as styling via design as a process, towards design as a strategy. Companies have discovered that design is a crucial ingredient for innovation processes and that it needs to be anchored on a strategic business level. Design is invisible. It is about integrating the design approach deeply within organizations. At the same time, we can observe a continuous shift from the design of the tangible world to the world of interactions, moving from interaction to experience and then from experience to services. Our economy and our society have moved from the secondary to the tertiary sector, and design has created conceptual and methodological answers to this fundamental change. Design is now about strategies and structures, processes and interactions – about services.

Read more

Journal of Design, Business & Society


The Journal of Design, Business & Society is a scholarly peer reviewed journal that publishes high-quality academic papers, case studies, and critiques that examine the role of design in business or society, as well as book reviews of relevant literature. We aim to promote cross-disciplinary research, and therefore, in addition to soliciting design papers, we are also interested in receiving manuscripts on research about design that are coming from non-design areas, such as business, marketing, management, health, psychology, social sciences, environmental sciences, and so on. The journal is published twice a year by the international academic publisher – Intellect. The journal also commissions special issues with guest editors.

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