This book is really a companion, as it is the ABC of the methods used in service designing. But We suggest you read this one first, before studying about the real deal, as you learn about these approaches, later on in the book “This is Service Design Doing”, you will learn about how to really use them, and why.

Research, ideation and prototyping

Research Methods

What’s the point of research In service design? Research is used to understand the clients, the unfamiliar subject, specific context, experiences of people involved and their connections to each other.

Collecting data can be in digital form or manual way, and mostly quantitative, but in service design qualitative methods are the most commonly used one which are categorized as below:

Before starting a research you should know the reason behind your research, the steps, the requirements, the participants and the number of them, the researcher team, triangulation, the duration, the type of outputs and the kind of data you want.

Methods of data visualization and analysis

This section provides a variety of research methods to collect data, to visualize, synthesize and analyze this data. 


Initiating ideas connects insights from research to prototyping. Ideation helps to jump prototyping faster. There are some methods introduced to create, clarify and select ideas.

It’s better to break down the decision-making process into stages and select one or more methods from each of the following categories:

For selecting right methods you should know: the scope of ideation, the materials and experiences you are going to use with the participants, the way you’re going to manage the ideas and split them, the contributors and the steps in which each contributor shall join, the duration and loop of this phase, the type and number of ideas to move to prototyping, and when you should stop ideating. 

Prototyping Methods

The methods introduced here, help you to prototype almost any kind of service or product and  do not need any special skills and can be used quickly. You should choose a few different methods when prototyping so you can validate the value, the perspective and touchpoints. It also allows you to move any concept to the point where you can decide on which people you will need for which part of the project. Other than these, while prototyping a load of new ideas will come to you.

For selecting right methods you should consider the purpose of creating a prototype, the questions that should be answered as a result of prototyping, the materials to be used, the methods to analyze and visualize the data, the contributors to experience or test the prototypes, the way to collect these participants, the prototyping team and their specialities and skills, the place and time of the sessions, the number of prototypes, the triangulation methods that shall be used, the plan to analyze and adapt the approach.

Facilitation Methods

There should be a way to make workshops fun, engaging and productive. Warm- ups can help participants get comfortable in the workshop and also wake them up in certain times of the day. But you should keep in mind that if you choose a wrong method it can cost you the respect. Also many service design activities are energizing, and on the track.

“ It’s often better to have a design activity that energizes, instead of an energizer that distracts. When content meets engagement, you are on the road to success.”

For selecting right methods you should consider the team, the level of formality between participants, the purpose of the activities, the physical and mental environment and space for participants, the time and place of the sessions.


This Is Service Design Methods: A Companion to This Is Service Design Doing, Marc Stickdorn, Markus Edgar Hormess, Adam Lawrence, Jakob Schneider, O’Reilly Media, 2018

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Ela is in the marketing team of Flexiana. After finishing her studies, she got involved with multinational companies. She loves being a remote player as she loves travelling and backpacking.

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