Service Entrepreneurship

Faculty: Steven Dean




Services have a significant impact in our everyday lives and in great measure determine the quality of our well being as we interact with the world around us. As designers are called upon to imagine and design increasingly complex product- service systems, we need new frameworks for understanding, and tools to steer us toward better outcomes, more meaningful service experiences, and greater chances for the viability of businesses. Great service experiences are about relationships: those between people, between people and things, and between people and processes. These relationships form and grow based upon the quality and effectiveness of the “conversations” that take place. Learning how conversation works among the participants of larger service systems is useful to describe how a service works, and to reveal opportunities for improvement through design. In product-service ecosystems, students will learn to see participants, objects and interactions as opportunities for conversation to define and agree on goals,
and the means by which to achieve them.



  • To give students an understanding of the value of contemporary approaches to service innovation and how it applies to entrepreneurship
  • To guide students in developing new and more effective service designs by understanding market needs, technology opportunities and people’s expectations in a changing society
  • To train students in the work of modeling product-service systems in a logical, prescriptive, consistent and visual way
  • To enable students to apply effective models of behavior change and conversation as they are required for co-evolving with compatible goals and values, building human relationships, learning and building trust
  • To provide students with a rich perspective for critiquing service design activities and with ways to describe a new product-service business narrative by pitching in front of an audience



This is a seven-week studio class with lecture components, student presentations, class and individual critiques, and teamwork activities. Students will investigate their thesis area of inquiry through the lens of service design and entrepreneurship. The set of tools, methods and frameworks introduced in the course will be used on individual and group projects. Students are expected to teachback the methods they learn and demonstrate how they have applied it in their own design practice.



Students in this course will come away with a set of tools to:

  • Represent, model and describe the parameters of a service system using cybernetic models, concept maps, service blueprints, journey maps and prototypes
  • Integrate the concepts of conversation, collaboration, goals, behaviors and feedback into your design practice
  • Understand the broader service contexts in which users interact with touch points and services over time, and how they transition between them to create meaningful experiences
  • Hone and build a compelling narrative that describes the what, why and how of your product-service offering into a final pitch presentation with guest critics