| 05.12.2018

Design a service that sticks

It is not easy to convince managers of a need of a new service innovation. However, students made excellent work in it, on Hanken’s course “Service Design and Innovation”.

The course, lead by Associate Professor Dominik Mahr from the Maastricht University, Netherlands, is targeted for students studying marketing on master level, and it teaches both in theory and in practice what design means when talking about services. Service Design digs deep into why people use a service and puts user needs at center of innovation process. Organizations create innovations that do not only fit with the firm strategy and are efficient but also tell a bit of a different story than their competitors.


The teams of students were instructed to design or redesign a service that helps a company or an organization to serve its customers better. “Students immerse in the actual service setting, so they did field work by interviewing, observing and acting as customers. Looking through the eyes of the customers is key principles of service innovation”, says Professor Mahr.One new service focused on stressed families at the Helsinki airport. Gamified apps keep the children entertained and guide parents to and through the airport. Other solutions the students presented varied from a gamified and personalized visitors’ guide to Helsinki to a virtual fitting room to find best possible outfits in web shops.

Group work

One suggestion for a new service was a mobile app to help foreign customers shop their daily groceries in Lidl faster and easier. “A great tool for international students, busy business people and parents at home with children, anyone who has no time for shopping or knowledge for cooking”, commented the students their invention. “It is a pain relief for foreigners – it helps with language problems, seeks recipes and locates the products needed, in the store”, they praised their innovation.


“The students did also a fantastic job in communicating their concepts. Of course, a clear logic and good rationale are the essence. Yet, using visualizations, role plays, or artifacts are important to reach the heart of the decision maker and to make sure that the idea sticks”, states Mahr.  Back to CERS page