The Apprentice Begins Your Journey to Learning Service Design

The Apprentice Begins Your Journey to Learning Service Design

The Apprentice is the first part of a three-part curriculum. The first two parts are for learners to begin designing services, and the third part is for improving user experiences.

The material in all the courses, including charts, diagrams, templates, case studies, and of course the step-by-step instructions, is original to the International Service Design Institute unless specifically attributed.  The total body of work is an accumulation of a career building and improving services, ideas from other accomplished service designers, and is  supplemented by empirical academic research.

This installment covers the broader concepts of service design, intended for those who want to know more about service design as a field, plus those interested in acquiring a foundation to prepare for the follow-on course, “The Journeyman.” The Journeyman covers, in logical, sequential order, the tools and techniques required to design viable services.


Steven J. Slater

Steven J. Slater, co-founder, International Service Design Institute.

What’s Covered

♦  The growing need for well-designed services – the economics of services

♦   How service design came to be and has evolved

♦   A lexicon of useful terms and references

♦   Developing personas, including why and how to build them

♦   Determining an ideal audience and some ways to convert them into loyalists.


Customers line up outside an Apple store to be among the first to own the latest product release.

Rational For Service Design

External Benefits

♦   Opportunity to gain revenue by adding users and converting some to loyalists

♦   Better engage existing stakeholders

♦   Appeal to hard to reach market segments, i.e., millennials

♦   Minimize investments and reduce wasted resources through lines of service that are repeatable and scalable, and meet service providers’ needs reliably.

Internal Benefits

♦   Foster teamwork to serve a single purpose

♦    Meet the ever-growing needs of users (due to rising expectations for choice and quality)

♦   Unblock barriers to solving problems

♦   Make good use of new and existing technology to advance programs

♦    Evaluate existing services against thoughtful criteria

♦   Establish protocols for testing, service recovery, and other valued techniques.


Capitol One uses service design.

Capitol One Cafes, conceived and developed by service designers.


Upon completion of this course, you will take away valuable skills for identifying your ideal target audience, understand the meaning and importance of creating satisfactory experiences for your users, and know ways to manipulate users through expectations.

Additionally, learners will:

♦  Be conversant in key service design terms

♦  Recognize when services require improvement

♦  Identify service types

♦  Understand important service design concepts

♦  Know how to bring service design techniques into an organization

♦  Have a sufficient understanding of the service design field to inform others.


The course identifies common models and tools used for service design techniques. Plus, there are exercises intended to be led with groups for evaluating new ideas and problem-solving.

Learning Materials

There is an optional handbook of the same name that accompanies this course. It is a printed reference book sold separately that includes more information about the techniques along with case studies and worksheets.

youWhat to Expect

This course is divided into modules and topics that take learners through a learning journey. It has been set up so that when learners complete a module, they become eligible to move on to the next module. 

There is a navigation menu on the left-hand side to show a learner’s progress.  

For those who have purchased the certification add-on, upon completion of the course material, you will be directed to the assessments page to begin.

Where to Find Help

Throughout your course journey, you will find links to contact the Institute. Consider using these to reach us with comments, suggestions, concerns, or assistance.

We’d love to hear from you about your experiences, either during the course or afterward.