Design for Service

Increasing importance

Design för tjänster

David Einar Nygren

We are surrounded by an ever-increasing number of services, and we participate ourselves in many of them in order to create value. The multidisciplinary research at LiU investigates how the design of services affects our experiences and changes our behaviour.

Services can be of various types: sometimes we are expected to be just users, which is the case for services within, for example, cleaning or gardening; sometimes we are expected to use self-service, such as self-administered dialysis within the healthcare system; and sometimes we are to be active participants in producing the service, examples of which are the sharing economy such as Uber (taxi services) and Airbnb (accommodation). In all cases, design is crucial in ensuring that the service provides added value for the user and is experienced as an improvement – something that simplifies everyday life, that the user is prepared to use, contribute to, and even pay for.

New services are appearing in essentially all industries and all areas of our lives. It is, therefore, vital to focus on the user’s perspective. This means, in turn, that the conditions required for efficient collaboration between many different parties must be present when a new service is to be developed and introduced.

Research at LiU in this field leads the world. Another factor that is studied is the ability of stakeholders to use and nurture the possibilities within design, and how the conditions required to use design to drive change differ between different sectors of society, including the voluntary sector.

Research centred on the design of services is carried out both from a starting point of the cognitive sciences and from technical, economic and organisational perspectives. Several research groups contribute to the development of knowledge.

Some major research projects are also investigating how the design of services for industry can contribute to a more resource-efficient and sustainable society, based on a circular economy.

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