Please note! Course description is confirmed for two academic years, which means that in general, e.g. Learning outcomes, assessment methods and key content stays unchanged. However, via course syllabus, it is possible to specify or change the course execution in each realization of the course, such as how the contact sessions are organized, assessment methods weighted or materials used.


After successfully completing this course, students should be able to

  • Recognise, explain and apply the key principles and concepts in service design practice and research 
  • Apply co-design and service co-creation and differentiate their roles in design process and outcomes
  • Outline networked systems and organizational structures for service design.
  • Create and justify service design proposals that are based on creative collaborative exploration, and reflective evaluation of and with project partners, contexts, methods and frameworks.

Credits: 10

Schedule: 13.09.2021 - 22.10.2021

Teacher in charge (valid for whole curriculum period):

Teacher in charge (applies in this implementation): Tuuli Mattelmäki, Nuria Solsona Caba, Annukka Svanda

Contact information for the course (applies in this implementation):

Contact information for the course (valid 10.08.2021-21.12.2021):

Teaching assistant doctoral student Annukka Svanda (annukka.svanda at

Associate professor Tuuli Mattelmäki (tuuli.mattelmaki at

Adjunct professor in service design Nuria Solsona (nuria.solsona at

CEFR level (valid for whole curriculum period):

Language of instruction and studies (applies in this implementation):

Teaching language: English. Languages of study attainment: English


  • valid for whole curriculum period:

    Designing for services course addresses application of design competence and engagement in the emerging topics of service design. The course typically has a real-world partner and briefs, and the topics typically address transformations in public organizations and the potentials of collaboration and networking. The focus is on holistic, human-centered and co-design approaches, as well as sense making of complexity and relationships. The topic is approached and tackled through academic criticality and creative service design practice.

    The course includes two integrated modes of knowing and making. The knowing mode focuses on the understanding of designing for service through a combination of lectures, literature, presentations and workshops. The design project from the second mode serves as a learning platform for addressing both conceptual and practice related topics. The students participate actively in lectures and workshops.

    The second mode, making, focuses on applying and adjusting concept and frameworks in practice with collaborative partners. This mode focuses on tools and methodologies applied in design for services. Students, divided into groups, aim to tackle given briefs collaboratively, and communicate their learning processes both in teams and individually. The students participate actively in team work assignment, complete individual literature assignments and learning

  • applies in this implementation

    Our partner in this course is City of Espoo. The topical briefs are studied and tackled during the 6 weeks with the partners. 

    Due to the Covid situation, we will follow instructions provided by Aalto University on teaching, and the course will be organised in a hybrid mode. This means some adjustments on practices, without making compromises on the learning outcomes. 

    By the end of the course the students are expected to deliver

    *individual learning portfolio that compiles the learning diaries by the end of the course. The learning diaries report and reflect on literature readings, lectures, workshops and show how the student makes connections to previous knowledge, project work and learning outcomes of the course. 

    *group work outcomes including mid term presentation, final presentation, and a project report. Teamwork includes user studies, collaboration with stakeholders, desk research, co-design facilitation, design interventions, and solution design. 

    More detailed information about the assignments will be shared in the beginning of the course. 

    During the course we will also follow students' individual activity including participation and activeness in lectures and workshops, punctuality of assignments.

Assessment Methods and Criteria
  • valid for whole curriculum period:

    The evaluation addresses:

    In project work process and outcomes, the ability to co-design and justify service design proposals.

    Individual activity (Students must attend at least 80% of the face-to-face sessions including lectures, seminar

  • valid for whole curriculum period:

    270 hours (10 credits) requires full time work during the period.

    Contact hours 60 including lectures, workshops, presentations 54h, and teamwork tutoring sessions 6 hours.

    Individual and group work hours 210 h including

    Independent literature study 60 h

    Personal reflection 30 h

    Learning diary 10 h

    Project team work including contextual studies, team meetings, presentation preparations and reporting 110 h



Study Material
  • valid for whole curriculum period:

    Will be announced in the beginning of the course.

  • applies in this implementation

    The course material includes lectures and literature. Each week the student is expected to read 2 articles that are chosen to fit the topic of the week. In addition, as each team is working on different briefs, the students are expected to follow and learn from diverse briefs and how to approach them.

Substitutes for Courses
SDG: Sustainable Development Goals

    9 Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure

    11 Sustainable Cities and Communities


Further Information
  • valid for whole curriculum period:

    Max 25 students

    Priority to Collaborative and Industrial Design students who have this course accepted in their personal study plan (HOPS) up to 15 in the order of enrollment. 10 places open for other students, with the precedence of max 5 students from USchool minor and max 5 students from Information networks students in the order of enrollment.

    Teaching Period:

    2020-2021 Autumn I

    2021-2022 Autumn I

    Course Homepage:

    Registration for Courses: Sisu replaces Oodi on 9 August, 2021. Priority order to courses is according to the order of priority decided by the Academic committee for School of Arts, Design and Architecture:

    min 15 to max 25 students through WebOodi

Details on the schedule
  • applies in this implementation

    The schedule is as follows (Note the titles are tentative and can be updated)

    Mon 13.09.21 13:15-17:00 Introduction to the team, course themes and assignments, organising teams

    Wed 15.09.21 09:15-12:00 Introduction to Espoo, the briefs, and meeting with the partners

    Fri 17.09.21 09:15-12:00  Lecture: Doing research in the design of services, literature reflection (DL for 1. team assignment )

    Mon 20.09.21 13:15-17:00 Lecture Designing for services & codesign + Tutorials: Fieldwork

    Wed 22.09.21 09:15-12:00 Lecture On participation 

    Fri 24.09.21 09:15-12:00 Lecture: Research analysis tools and methods, reflection on literature (DL for learning diary)

    Mon 27.09.21 13:15-17:00 Lecture: Objects of design in service design + Tutorials: Analysis & Mid-Term

    Wed 29.09.21 09:15-12:00 Lecture: Digital service propositions and service ecosystems

    Fri 01.10.21 09:15-12:00 Mid term presentations and feedback

    Mon 04.10.21 13:15-17:00 Lecture Concept development tools and methods + Tutorials: Deliverables 

    Wed 06.10.21 09:15-12:00 Lecture Collaborative models of services 

    Fri 08.10.21 09:15-12:00 Lecture Designing with feedback (DL for the 2. learning diary)

    Mon 11.10.21 13:15-17:00 Literature workshop & Tutorials: Concept development

    Wed 13.10.21 09:15-12:00 Lecture: service design in practice

    Fri 15.10.21 09:15-12:00 Lecture & workshop: Systems thinking

    Mon 18.10.21 13:15-17:00 Rehearsals & Tutorials: Final presentation

    Wed 20.10.21 09:15-12:00 Final presentations

    Fri 22.10.21 09:15-12:00 Reflection and feedback (DL for group assignments and 3. learning diary)