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Examples of Service Design and Service innovation

Example 1

Touching the Prado


In 2015 The Museo del Prado in Madrid launched its first initiative focused on visually impaired visitors and based on innovation and technology. As a result of this project, six works representative of different pictorial genres to be found in the Museum’s collections can now be touched. Developed in collaboration with professionals in the sector of visual impairment, this project allows for the reality of the painting to be perceived in order to mentally recreate it as a whole and thus provide an emotional perception of the work. Non-sighted visitors are thus able to obtain a heightened degree of artistic-aesthetic-creative enjoyment in order to explain, discuss and analyse these works in the Prado. In addition to the three-dimensional images, the display includes didactic material such as texts in braille, audioguides and opaque glasses aimed at facilitating the experience for fully sighted visitors.

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Service innovation: 


The innovation here lies in using technology to include disadvantaged customer groups thus allowing them to experience works of art. User/consumer experience creation is an important part of service design. The problem that Museo del Prado addressed was the inability of visually impaired customers to experience in full the works of art displayed at museums. By offering the opportunity to feel and mentally recreate displayed works improved the customer experience for this particular group of customers.


Example 2

Nidaros Cathedral, Tronheim, Digital stained-glass window workshop


The Restoration Workshop of Nidaros Cathedral is a government appointed national centre for the conservation and restoration of historically significant stone buildings. The Stained Glass Workshop collaborated with ablemagic, a digital storytelling company, to develop an installation for children and families. As a result, in the Cathedral children can make art with colouring sheets and a custom-made scanner. Once coloured and scanned, the shapes from the paper are projected directly onto the church wall and transform into a beautiful image filled with light – almost like a real glass painting. On the coloring sheets, there are also tiny maps to help the children discover the glass windows with similar motifs inside the cathedral. The collaboration between Nidaros Cathedral and ablemagic posed some challenges. While museum professionals wished to add facts and more content to the solutions, the company experience suggested it would be better to simplify and stick to telling one story at a time. This was solved through close collaboration throughout the process.

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Service innovation: 


The innovation here lies in the collaboration between a public and a private entity that led to changing the perspective of museum professionals and ultimately improving customer experience. Through the collaborative process it became possible to combine digital and analogue experiences, based on relevant and important content that was already available through the museum.


Example 3

L'Oreal Using Augmented and Virtual Reality to Create In-Store Experiences


Until relatively recently, L'Oreal had kept true to its roots in supplying its products for other retail companies to sell. However, the company now has its own branded retail locations, in its home city of Paris, and all over the world. L'Oreal stores offer such services as having beauty advisers on-hand to help clients, and digital features designed to improve the customer experience, including the Nail Genius and Makeup Genius apps. The Genius apps allow customers to use their smartphone cameras to snap pictures of themselves and apply virtual L'Oreal products - such as lipsticks and nail polishes - onto the image. The augmented reality technology behind the app also allows customers to turn their head to view the appearance of the products from different angles. Many customers have a problem with visualizing how products will appear on their own skin or nails, and it may not always be desirable to use samples. The app technology gives users a way to test L'Oreal products virtually, ahead of making a purchase decision.

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Service innovation: 


The innovation here lies in using digitalization to improve customer experience. User/consumer experience creation is an important part of service design. The problem that L'Oreal addressed is the inability of customers to visualize for themselves how products would look on them. Offering the opportunity to try on a large variety of products within minutes improved the customer experience.


Example 4

Domino's and the Steady Pizza innovation


Domino’s was shamed on social media for pizza delivery fails. In order to respond to customers’ complaints about the fails in their pizzas deliveries, the company (Domino’s Brazil) came up with an innovative device for transporting pizzas without damaging them.

The invention is called ”the Steady Pizza” and is а delivery system designed to stabilize pizzas by always keeping them level to the horizon and preventing them from arriving a smushed, cheesy mess. The invention is designed to be mounted on the back of delivery motorcycles. The device has a platform hovering between two hemispheres that adjust to accommodate any tilting or bumpy road conditions. This mechanism lives inside a large transparent box that glows in the dark. It is supposed to reduce pizza delivery fails and increase customers’ satisfaction with Domino’s delivery service.

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Service innovation: 


By listening to customers’ feedback and complaints Domino’s Brazil introduced innovation in their delivery service. User/consumer experience creation is an important part of service design. The problem that the company addressed is the dissatisfaction of clients whose pizzas are delivered in a messy form due to driving on bumpy roads. By improving the delivery service and reducing the occurrence of delivery fails Domino’s Brazil improved the customer experience.


Example 5

Personalized books


Agnieszka & Aneta have a popular service of photobooks business. But in order to improve the service and prevail on the market, they reinvented the idea of commemorative books by combining this concept with regular books. In practice this means that one can order a normal book for someone with pictures and text added about the recipient, or whatever is wished to be added. It becomes a personalised book, for example, if a customer bought the book ‘Alice in Wonderland’, the character of Alice could become personalised to the customer instead. The books are proposed for birthdays and any special occasions.

Service innovation: 


The innovation here is that the two services were combined: personalised photobooks and normal books to personalised books. To take customer perspective further into account, a simple and easy application for clients was created to create books. Many of the clients had an idea of the book they wanted to order but could not bring this idea alive by themselves as they mostly have no artistic skills. With this application, the customers can design their vision of the book leaving space for professionals to design it in details. 


Example 6

Recycled posters


The association “Creative people of Florence” was founded by two American artists that were residents of Florence for a few years and were able to know the needs of Italian artists in Florence. The association created a map of artists of Florence: a map of unique products in handcrafts to help joining the artists and their customers. But this map as it was created as a static one – could not be interactive. Thus the idea was made to go one step further and create an app for mobile phones with this map in order to help artists to sell their products and the customers to find what they need. The association behind the app is not a broker, does not take any commission. It only enables two groups to come together. The app does not only offer the search engine combined with a map, but it also offers the possibility of on-line shopping by redirecting to the on-line shop of a specified artist.

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The application

Service innovation: 


The innovation here was to combine two kinds of needs: customers (especially tourists) needs to buy genuine handcraft products and artists and craftspeople needs to sell their unique works as products. The application is a great example of a non-commercial innovation. The idea is to support artists by giving them chance to be easily found on-line.


Example 7

Chocolate workshops


The owner of the old Polish sweet brand named ‘Goplana’ wanted to create something innovative in order to revive the brand which had a good tradition, but had some trouble in fighting with the global brands which were new in the Polish market. The managers of the company decided to use design thinking model and make a survey on the needs and associations with the brand in Poznan, which is hometown of the company. The survey showed that the solution is to convince children to the brand by making them enable to see the process of creating chocolate. In the coffee-shop, they started to organize the chocolate workshops for children. During the workshops children can observe as well as take part in the process of creating the chocolate from cocoa grain to the complete bar.

Service innovation: 


In this case, using the design thinking was used to come up with a new service that is not only supplementary to core business of the company, but also helps to create a bond between the company and young clients by showing them the process of making chocolate and allowing them to be part of it. This can be especially important in the times of global business consisting in the anonymity of the customer and the anonymity of the producer, the bulk of the product and the thoughtless use of it. This service allows to create a special bond between the goods and the customer, based on sentiment, as the customer had the opportunity to participate in the creation of the goods.


Example 8

One Day Visit


Fear of treatment is one of the main obstacles preventing elderly people from going to the dentist. It most often results from the patient's bad experiences and a lack of basic knowledge of dental procedures. The One Day Visit (ODV) service for teeth restoration is correlated with a dedicated e-Stomatology platform. The traditional method of producing a denture requires around four visits to a specialized surgery and can take up to a month. It is a big effort for elderly people. This service was developed by Agnieszka Nowinska, dentist from Gdansk, Poland, and co-funded by Norway Grants.

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Service innovation: 


The concept of a service that will only educate the patients about the course of treatment, but will also enable remote consultations and shortening of the treatment even to one visit (one day in the surgery) is innovative. It engages patients’ perspective and reduces the most inconvenient elements of traditional service.


Example 9

The Ballet Coach


The Ballet Coach was a ballet dancer for many years and when she stopped performing, she began coaching.

As a response to the Covid-19 pandemic, she introduced the ‘ballet at home programme’ which she offers to dancers aged 2-11, 12-15 and 16+. Her aim of the programme is to provide accessible and affordable high quality ballet lessons to all. The dance from home programme encourages dancers to ‘dance like no one is watching’ and can be done at participant’s own convenience.

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Service innovation: 


The innovation of Ballet Coach to adapt to the Covid-19 pandemic and provide at home dance classes which can be done at the customers convenience is a core part of service design as they are responding directly to the needs of the customer. The service has been innovated and tailored to customer’s needs as she has 3 separate programmes which are all adapted to age suitability. She decided to carry out user consultation and mind-mapping to understand her market and target group, and with this information she was able to transform her business effectively.

Customers also have access to both live classes as well as recordings and the ability to playback previous classes, which gives customers the flexibility to fit in dance around their schedules. Finally, customers have access to a member only group which is innovative as it provided customers with the ability to meet new and like-minded people during a time when physical interaction was significantly limited. Feedback from events shows that her methods have significantly increased a sense of belonging for participants. The Ballet Coach is a good example of service design as the experience can be tailored and customised to individual needs. All classes are made available to customers on the online platform through live and recorded sessions, this helped to increase reach through digital adaptation. The content has also been digitalised by developing an app which allows users to be able to practise on the go. It shows different ballet techniques and positions and through a membership, users can also send a recording of their practice and receive feedback.


Example 10

Derby Museums


The Derby Museum is an independent charitable trust which operates three museums: The Museum and Art Gallery; Museum of Making and Pickford’s House. The trust cares for the cultural heritage of Derby city.

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Service innovation: 


During the Covid-19 pandemic, the trust created a ‘Derby Museums From Home’ so the public could access resources and activities online during the lockdowns. This has continued post-pandemic as part of the Museums' service design as it provides the public with access to culture from the comfort of their own home for times when they are unable to visit face to face. This has improved the sustainability of the service design and the interactive approach has enhanced visitor numbers and enlarged the audience diversity. They have also ensured that the Museums' content is more accessible to people with disabilities or those who are geographically restricted.

‘Do it yourself museum of making’ is a new activity where individuals can turn up and explore DIY and attend an exhibition, the aim is to create a more interactive experience for users. New ventures also include crafts and promoting the work of local makers. The museum has encouraged more of a fusion of different experiences from viewing artifacts to making artifacts. As part of this innovation, the public can experience virtual tours and explore past and present exhibitions as well as view the collections and galleries.

In addition to this, the online portal offers access to activities. The website and online portal is easy to use and is very accessible. Some of the exhibitions were promoted on social media such as Florence Nightingale Health At Home at Pickford’s House. This highlights the museums use of service design as it harnessed social media and to create accessible and engaging cultural experiences.

The effectiveness of the service design has proven to be successful. The museum has welcomed over 105,000 visitors and “The Museum of Making” was awarded £15,000 as finalist for Art Fund’s Museum of the Year Award 2022.


Example 11

Thatched Inn


The Thatched Inn is a pub with a restaurant and outdoor space in a seaside tourism area which is very popular in the UK. They are currently losing customers after the lifting of Covid 19 restrictions. It is in a great location in southern England in a pretty village. They have lost their previous customers who seem to be staying away. The age range of customers has shifted, now a younger crowd pitch up buying drinks (each spend has a low value), whereas prior to Covid, they had large parties of older people spending upwards of £100 per meal. Profits have dipped considerably.

The Thatched Inn is run by a husband and wife team, employing three chefs, and part-time sessional  waiting staff. It is quite a mature business facing new challenges. Their son is a musician and budding singer songwriter and he wants to make more of the outside space as a venue.

The restaurant indoors can cater for a hundred  people seated. The outdoor space can currently seat sixteen. The indoors area is often empty and the outdoor space maxed out with people waiting for a table. If it rains, they have no outdoor business. On such days food waste  has become an issue so this situation affects profits in many ways.

The use of space is definitely an issue. They have a large outdoor space which they could make more of. They think they could hold more outdoor events such as  parties, quizzes, music nights, and weddings in addition to the usual meals but they are unsure of how to develop the space. The garden area is medium sized with a square lawn, but is terraced.

They have also lost many waiting staff since Covid 19 and customer care is perhaps not what it was. They have had to spend time training new staff.

From informal chats with customers, they know health and safety and the environment is a concern. Also people were suggesting there was no atmosphere which needed exploring further.

The local brewery offered them some free consultancy as they had noticed a dip in beer sales from them.

Service innovation: 


In order to innovate their services, The Thatched Inn decided to consult their customers.

The consultancy collaboration event with customers old and new (free drinks and a meal voucher) generated some useful information gathered here. See jamboard snapshot below.


After this phase the consultants conducted a reframing exercise asking visitors to think about the feeling and experience they wanted rather than focusing on the physicality of the space. This was undertaken to remove the organisational view and to focus purely on the customer view and experience. Key phrases were taken and explored, so firstly the lack of atmosphere was explored and key words the group was curious about, softness, privacy, and special feeling. The customers were invited to brainstorm ideas around key themes with phrases, drawings, ideas.


Following this stage, the consultants drew up three mood boards of the space and tested them out with the same group of customers. They found that the board with suggestions about private wooden huts with small terraces dotted around the garden were a hit and planting to delineate space between tables creating lush areas of green with privacy. The lighting created a magical atmosphere especially at night with lanterns and huts all designed, themed, and named differently with different atmospheres, so an alpine hut, a Moroccan hut with bright coloured textiles and an English gardener’s shed with gardening memorabilia. All had dining tables and chairs and a comfy sofa. The huts were bookable for the whole evening which meant that diners stayed for a long time and spent a lot of money. They became known for hut parties! Each hut has a digital music facility where guests can stream their own preferred music type. They are still working on making the communal outdoor space a music venue on certain dates.


Example 12

Night time market – night time economy


This case briefly  explores how business owners brought more business traffic into extended hours in an up-and -coming industrial area to create a concept of a night market.

An old industrial area of a northern city next to the river was in great disrepair. A few businesses in the cultural sector started to move in, attracted by low rents and the opportunity to buy or  rent property cheaply. The types of businesses were cafes, a florist, pizza restaurant, real ale pub, hairdressers and artisan bakery. Some of the old buildings were of architectural interest and a few pioneers refurbished  old buildings to develop apartments.

Post-Covid the night time economy was dead. The night time economy suffered badly during Covid 19 and many businesses folded.

Tools used:

Five bold steps canvas

Service innovation: 


In order to innovate their services, the Night Time Market decided to discuss problems and opportunities. This became a thriving area at weekends but businesses struggled during  the week. Their main purpose appeared to be to think of ways this could become ‘a destination of choice’. From conversations and mapping ideas onto the Five bold steps canvas a path for action developed.

A major theme was the idea of a night time market with food, entertainment, use of outdoor space,  and live music. This was named the Night Time Market. The idea of this regular night time market  was implemented; numbers of people coming to the area increased. On market nights the area  is lit up with street lighting and tables and chairs are placed around the courtyard serving cuisine from  all corners of the world. You can find anything that takes your fancy: Chinese food, Korean, Vietnamese, Japanese sushi, or  Yorkshire fish and chips, ciders, beers, fancy coffee or cocktails and real ales.

The area is now fast becoming a destination for culture and the night time economy. An old industrial warehouse was re-developed as a rustic wedding venue. In the daytime it was used as a food court.  As the wedding venue has become popular, particularly with young couples who want a more informal wedding or celebration, new clusters of wedding-related businesses are springing up- florists, cake makers, make-up studios and a brewery.




Example 13

Mittersisters: a Bag Full of Services


Unhappy with fast fashion’s buy-and-throw away culture and pondering on sustainability and the importance of handicraft, designer Anna Róza Mitter and two her partners invented a new business model and service for the fashion and experience sector. Instead of designing new bags for industry, Mittersisters started to educate consumers about how long it takes to make a bag and how much this could cost, in order to make consumers understand the real value of products. They started to organise workshops where people can make their own bags and purses. These workshops are of different durations depending what is produced there and the participants go home happy with a new self-made bag or purse, a new experience and with an increased awareness of consumption. The workshops are also marketed in AirBnB and stakeholders include, for instance, different companies and the Hungarian Tourism Agency. People of different nationalities, from Canadian to Hungarians, participate in the workshops that also become part of their tourist experience in Hungary.

Mónika Alíz Mészáros (2022). Mittersisters Studio: unique bag making workshop which incorporates sustainability and awareness. A Hungarian Good Practice of the CRAFTS CODE project.


Published 15 February 2022. Available at:

Service innovation: 


The innovation of Mittersisters here is to turn the producer and designer roles upside down (the customer becomes the creator and the producer), teach sustainability and creates an experience of all of this. User/consumer experience creation is an important part of service design. The core problem that Mittersisters address is not to increase income, but how to answer to the challenge of sustainability and promote handicraft. This led to the service innovation and carefully creating an experience to consumers.


Example 14

Taiwan Experience


Cultural and creative industries have been incorporated into Taiwan’s “National Development Grand Plan”, which aims to transform Taiwan’s economic development by “Branding Taiwan” using “Taiwan Design” based on Taiwanese culture. To reach a global market, Taiwan focuses on local design. Service design innovation is needed for the design trend of designing “culture” into modern products for the global market.

“Designing local features into a product appears to be more and more important in the global market where products are losing their identity because of the similarity in their function and form. Cultural features then are considered to be a unique character to embed into a product both for the enhancement of product identity in the global market and for the fulfillment of the individual consumer’s experiences [15,16].” (Ko & Lin & Lin, 2009; 6)

One application in practice is the National Taiwan University of Arts’ (NTUA) art museum “Our Museum” (in 2007), “Our Studio” and “Our Factory” where creativity, craftsmanship and design combine to innovate products in turning Art into Business. NTUA operates a Holiday Cultural Bus Tour that offers a customer journey through aesthetics (learning to appreciate visually), experiencing craft making, and having an opportunity to purchase crafts.

Ko, Yu-Yuan & Lin, Po-Hsien & Lin, Rungtai. (2009). A Study of Service Innovation Design in Cultural and Creative Industry. 5623. 376-385. 10.1007/978-3-642-02767-3_42.


Available at:  

Service innovation: 


Innovation has shifted from “function” to “feeling” in Taiwan. Success was previously based on the hi-tech 3Cs: products as “Computer”, “Communication”, and “Consumer.” Now the focus is on cultural and creative design industries 4Cs: “Cultural”, “Collective”, “Cheerful” and “Creative” to maintain competitiveness in the global marketplace. 

Since 1980, Taiwan’s industrial design has shifted form an emphasis on “cheap and fine” OEM (Original Equipment Manufacture), to a “smile model” emphasizing ODM (Original Design Manufacture) and OBM (Original Brand Manufacture). In CCS, this correlates to an emphasis on service innovation design and a service business model instead of the traditional focus only on craftsmanship. Craftsmanship sits at the bottom of the smile with either sides of the graph pointing upwards beginning with design innovation (R&D) first, craftsmanship in the middle, and a service model (branding) following. All three are necessary to have a business. (See Figs. 2 & 3 in the linked article.)

Example 15

Digitalisation, communal meals, and the food of the future


Technological advances bring new dining experiences to people.

Modern technology enables communal sensory dining experiences among people who are physically far from each other. Technology can impart a shared experience: A spoon motion sensor vibrates and communicates tactile sensations to the sensors of the fellow diners that others have also put their spoons in the soup at the same time. When the soup touches taste buds, both the sounds of eating and images on an electronic tablet indicate that others share the same pleasure.

Multisensory projects have mapped associations between music and taste. Sounds affect taste. A surrounding soundscape can be used to dampen or enhance, for example, the sweetness or bitterness of taste.

3D printing is a tool for product development, customization and small-scale serial production. 3D printers make it possible to produce increasingly personalised food experiences.

Enhanced reality tools, such as VR glasses, can, for example, be used to serve a Grana Padano cheese as if we were in a cheese cellar in Breschia, Italy. Or even on the surface of the moon. Virtual reality can produce artificial experiences that involve seeing, hearing, touch and, even smelling.


Kespro Oyj,  “Science, art and technology are part of the food experience of the future:  Eating together is a communal glue, the essence of which does not change, even though technology in everyday life tends to separate us from it,” blog post, published 10 January 2022.


Available at:

Service innovation: 


When we eat, we use all of our senses. Further, communal dining binds people socially. Researchers at the University of Turku are exploring the ways that technology and innovation in creating multisensory experiences can enhance and affect our dining experience and impart the communal feeling of being with others.


Example 16

The Wine Composer: Using images and music to evoke the experience of wine tasting


Jazz pianist and composer, Tuomas A. Turunen, and wine specialist, art philosopher and photographer, Matthieu Guinard’s, blog website, The Wine Composer, presents their project to represent their impressions of wine and wine regions in music and images. Guinard writes that “our intent is to express what ‘the wine says’ with different images” and music. (Guinard, 2015)

In this case, digital images and music express intangible and abstract impressions such as taste and feel. The visual images of, for example, trees, sky, and fields, evoke feelings and sensations, which help the audience/customers to visualize taste in non-traditional ways


Matthieu Guinard, “From Wine to Images,” blog post, 23 August 2015.


Available at:


See also: 

Service innovation: 


This imaginative way of bringing the experience of wine tasting to people through digital means in the form of images and music creates a unique and innovative experience for the audience/customers. The Wine Composer partners also offer wine tastings and wine music concerts as part of their service/offerings

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