Welcome to Design4Services – a free on-line resource for service and service operations design, enterprise architecture design and business transformation.

Service Design

Design4Services Word CloudUntil fairly recently, service and service operations design was a poor cousin to the design of products and manufacturing processes.  But with the growth of the service economy, including the re-orientation of many product-based businesses, this has begun to change.

Unfortunately, this increased focus on services has not necessarily lead to improvements in design.  There has been a tendency to simply take the same approaches used so successfully in product design and manufacturing and apply them to services.  But services are very different to products, with the customer sitting at the very heart of what is being supplied.   This creates a system dynamic and degree of complexity very different from that encountered in the manufacture of goods.  Treat a service customer as a standardised unit of production, to be directed and processed in a standardised way (rather than reflecting their specific needs and circumstances), and you should not be surprised if that customer chooses to go elsewhere; or not to use the service as intended.

This site is about a more holistic and customer-focused approach to service and service operations design, that reflects the more intimate relationship between customer and service provider; and the greater variation in demand that typically exists at the point of delivery.  It is applicable to all service-orientated environments and all forms of customer – end user (both external and internal) and business-to-business (B2B).

Applied Systems Thinking

At the heart of Design for Services is the application of Systems Thinking to the design and improvement of services.  This provides the conceptual framework, or structure, within which other related Concepts are introduced.  These are then carried forward into a set of practical design Methods and Techniques.

In the final section of the site, I look at the Application of these concepts and methods, across various settings, both private and public sector; single and multi-agency; using different patterns of delivery, including the use of outsourcing and shared services; and at the application of technology.

Business Architecture Design

The methods presented here are centred on the design and development of a Business Architecture, (or ‘Enterprise Architecture’) for your service operation.  Clustered around this central approach are a range of related design methods and techniques, covering service and operations design, performance improvement and change.

Getting the Most from the Site

Design4Services is unashamedly pluralistic.  It will cover material that you may have encountered before, under various labels, e.g. Design Thinking, BPR, BPM, Lean and Agile.  To get the most from the site, it’s best to approach this material afresh.  A lot of good concepts and ideas get distorted over time, through mis-interpretation and commercialisation.  Here everything is viewed afresh, through the unifying lens of Systems Thinking.

Design4Services aims to provide short, concise and accessible introductions to each topic.  Beyond this, it provides links to additional resources, in the form of further reading and useful (free or low cost) resources published by others; and to other useful sites on service design and improvement.

In addition to the articles, there is a service design blog and micro-blog, providing the latest news and comment on all things service design related.

The development of the site is following an incremental and iterative lifecycle, so expect it to evolve over time – based on my availability!  As with all services, it can only benefit from a greater understanding of demand.  Please spend a few minutes to provide your ideas and feedback.

Design for Services is published under a Creative Commons licence.


About the Author

TimTim Manning is a freelance Enterprise Business Architect, Service Designer and Project Manager, with over 25 years experience in systems engineering and business transformation, the last 15 of which have focused on service design and improvement. Tim is based in the UK.



Last Updated:  25/01/2015