Topic outline

  • Basic of Service Design, 14.1.2021 - 04.03.2021 (K02)

    Due to the situation, the course will be delivered online. The course material is uploaded regularly before and during the course, so please follow this space regularly. 

    AMUO-C3006 - (K02) Basics of Service Design 

    Responsible teacher: Dr Helena Sustar, Aalto University, Learning Services,   

    Where: each Thursday from 18:00 to 20:00 via Microsoft Teams

    NEW Microsoft Teams LINK to weekly lectures 

    This is the link to Saturday's Workshop. 
    Microsoft Teams Link to Saturday 20th of February Workshop 

    Course term: 9 lectures (Lectures 6, 7, 8 are Workshop)

    Workload: 54 h (online lectures, group work and independent study)

    Grading: Pass/Fail

    Course Language: English (Finnish)

    Twitter: #AaltoOpenSD  

    Note! Course grades and certificates 

    The results from the course will be published 14 days after the last lecture in WebOodi at or For any other questions, please contact

    Please do not send me emails regarding certificates unless the issues are related to the grade itself.


    Course description

    A redesign of sustainability services is a red thread of this basic service design (SD) course. Sustainability theme was selected due to limited recourses, climate change and urgency to reduce our consumption. This course starts with a discussion of the SD and its possible future developments. Secondly, it presents the essential SD tools and stages of the design process to utilise these tools. Then, the course studies meanings, user experiences and the value of co-creation. Lastly, different SD tools are adopted and tested in the online co-design workshop.


    Content and course structure

    Due to the situation, the study is done online. The classes are delivered via weekly two hours lecture, which concludes with a discussion. Each lecture combines two components: theoretical and practical. The theoretical part will get you familiarised with relevant SD theory and terminology via lessons, homework and assigned readings. The practical part will be utilised via a circular services case analysis, different assignments, exercises, and homework completed individually and, in a group, and a one-day practical co-design workshop.


    Learning outcomes

    • to understand 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



    • Practical assignments: completed every week and submitted on Blogger (each Tuesday at 23:00) 

    • Readings: read while also answering related questions, weekly submissions at Blogger (each Tuesday at 23:00) 

    • Participation in the SD workshop and completed the final assignment

    Week 1 Put your service design lenses on 

    Lecture starts with introducing products, service(s), service design and different fields where service design is used in practice. The lecture answers questions like what service design is and what are the SD principles? The lecture concludes with examples of domains where SD is utilised.

    Week 2 Systemic and holistic understanding of contexts with SD tools 

    The lecture starts with the Double Diamond the design process, SD related terminology and several elementary SD tools like interviews, circular business model, future scanning tools, Persona, a workshop, customer service journey and Blueprint.

    Week 3 Designing meaningful services     

    Lecture discusses different aspects of meanings in services, the role of meaning, service moments, service experience and reflecting existing services. Finally, the class touches upon the strategic design and sustainable development goals. 

    Week 4 Rethinking value in a changing landscape 

    The class starts with value evolution and new value emerging paradigms in Anthropocene. Furthermore, we discuss collaboration and facilitation in the co-design cases following, co-creation, co-production and empathic design explanation. 

    Week 5 Personalised customer experiences                                                  

    A lecture differentiates between meaning and experiences, the anatomy of designing for customer experiences and the typology of experiences. The lecture concludes with six dimensions of experiences and implications in the organisational context.

    Week 6, 7 & 8 Service experimentation workshop 

    We will use results from analysing selected circular services to experiment and develop transformative services resisted to unexpected events that we are facing right now.   

    Week 9 Service design learning ecology

    The last lecture concentrates on the final course assignments presentations, feedback and critical discussion of the assignments and the entire course.