Topic outline

  • Responsible teacher: Helena Sustar, @helena.sustar,   

    The course material might get change before the course start, so please watch this space regularly.

    Where: Väre building, Otaniementie 14, Espoo Metro: Aalto University, take exit A

    Car/Bike: Check Google maps for suitable cycling/driving path. Leave the bike/car in front of the building.

    Room: Tuesday 4.6.2019 from 17:30 to 20:00 (Lecture 5) Väre building, Room Q201

    Saturday 15.6.2019 from 09:00 to 16:00 (Lecture 6,7 and 8) Väre building, Room Q201

    Tuesday 18.6.2019 from 17:30 to 20:00 (Lecture 9) Väre building, Room Q201

    You will reach this room if you use stairs, go across the glass doors and continue on the right-hand side of the corridor.

    The room is at the end of this corridor.  

    Access to the building: Register with your HSL card at HSL travel card is used as the key to access Väre premises. The same card works in Harald Herlin Learning Center.

    Course term: 9 lectures

    Days: Tuesday 17:30 – 20:00, and Saturday 9:00 – 12:00 & 13:00 – 16:00

    Workload: 54 h (26 hours lectures and another classroom education, 28 hours independent study)

    Grading: Pass/Fail

    Course Language: English (Finnish)

    Twitter: #AaltoOpenSD 

     Course grades and certificates 

    The results of exams and courses are in WebOodi

    For Certificates and transcripts of records visit - in English:  

    If you have any other questions please contact

    Course description

    This service design course starts with the discussion on what the service design is and what are its possible future developments. Secondly, presents the most important service design tools and stages of the design process where these tools can be utilised. Then, the course looks into meanings, user experiences and the value co-creation. Lastly, different service design tools are adopted and tested in the co-design workshop setting.


    Content and course structure

    This course is combined of two components: theoretical and practical. Theoretical part get student familiarised with important service design theory and terminology via lectures and assigned readings, which are discussed at lectures. The practical part is utilised via tasks; exercises and homework, which students complete at home and one-day practical co-design workshop.

    • The course provides an overview of the current and emerging uses and roles of service design

    • We explore core terminologies, theories, methods and examples of design, planning and other creative professional roles in the context

    • The aim is to familiarise students with recent knowledge in the design field and to develop their skills in applying design approaches


     Learning outcomes

    •    to learn different service design components and dimensions

    •    to get familiar with service design terminology

    •    to distinguish the most common service design tools and when and how to use them

    •    to practice how to prototype service design concepts



    •    Completing all weekly course practical assignments (homework, assignments) weekly submissions at My Courses (each Monday 23:00)   

    •    Readings: answer questions, weekly submissions at My Courses (each Monday 23:00)   

    •    Participate in the service design workshop and completed final assignment – visualisation of service design learning ecology


    Week 1          Tuesday 7th of May 2019

    Introduction & What is Service Design?

    Lecture starts with an introduction to products, service(s), service design and different fields where service design is applied. The lecture aims to answer questions like: What is Service Design?, What are service principles?, Why meaning is important in service design?, What are experiences in service design and how they are related to meanings?, Why services have to be human-centred? The lecture concludes with examples of areas where service design is utilised.

    Homework 1

    Reading 1 and 2 and Assignment 1: Observations

    Submit to My Courses on Monday 13th of May at 23:00 


    Week 2           Tuesday 14th of May 2019              

    Service Design components & Service Design Tools in Discover & Define stage

    The lecture presents the Double Diamond Design framework, Service Design related terminology e.g. touchpoint and some of the most important service design tools like Interviews, Persona, Affinity Diagram, Workshops, Observations, and Customer service journey.

    Homework 2

    Reading 3 and Assignment 2: Blueprint 

    Submit to My Courses on Monday 20th of May at 23:00 


    Week 3           Tuesday 21st of May 2019

    Service Design Tools in Develop & Deliver stage                    

    The lecture presents service blueprint: the customer experience of the organisation system and their components the front-stage (the environment, objects, people) and the back-stage (the processes, physical and IT infrastructure, management, HR). Also, service prototyping and storytelling are explained. At the end of this lecture also the final course assignment of your learning service ecology is explained.

    Homework 3

    Reading 4 and Assignment 3: Planning Co-Design Activates

    Submit to My Courses on Monday 27th of May at 23:00 


    Week 4               Tuesday 28th of May 2019


    The lecture introduces collaboration in the Co-design cases, then the demonstration of co-design and service design planning, then Co-design and facilitation, Co-creation, Co-production (value-co creation, etc.) and Empathic design.

    Homework 4

    Reading 5 and Assignment 4: Customer Experiences

    Submit to My Courses on Monday 3rd of June at 23:00 


    Week 5               Tuesday 4th of June 2019

    Meaning & Experiences                                                    

    The lecture introduces the anatomy of designing for service design experiences, values, meanings and service experiences and how are your experiences created?

    Homework 5

    Reading 6 and Assignment 5: Analyse an existing service 

    Submit to My Courses on Monday 10th of May at 23:00


    Week 6, 7 & 8       Saturday 15th of June 2019  

    Service Prototyping Workshop                                                                        

    Morning: Workshop – First part

    The first part of the workshop covers meanings, service experience, reflecting on existing services and the different aspects of services, from meanings towards services, meanings in services, the role of meaning, service moments, and envisioning.

    Afternoon: Workshop – Second part

    The second part of the workshop focuses on service prototyping and redesign of existing services by using five different prototyping service design tools.

    Homework: The Final Assignment due to 18th of June 2019  

    Submit to My Courses on Monday 18th of June at 23:00


    Week 9             Tuesday 18th of June 2019 

    Service Design Ecology Presentation = Portfolio

    The last lecture concentrates on the final course assignments presentations, feedback and critical discussion of the final course assignments aiming at how to present complexity in a visual way.