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Service Design model


Introduction – What is this phase?


The third phase of the CREATE model is about exploring ideas and ideation. In this phase, the outcomes of the Research are taken and ideas are generated for the identified problem. Idea generation is built on the research material. This also guides the selection of the most suitable ideation tools. This a divergent phase where plenty of ideas are generated. It is important to remember in this phase that there are no right or wrong ideas. Exploring plenty of ideas creates more possibilities to find functional, user-oriented and viable ideas.

The ideation phase is followed by the ‘Alternative prototypes’ phase in which ideas are selected and developed into concepts and prototypes.

Why is it important for cultural and creative sector?


Idea generation is essential for finding new innovative service ideas. Without ideas, it is impossible to create anything new, make amends, changes and re-think existing products, services and improve customer experience and user-orientation. This phase also allows idea generation together with users and other stakeholders which as such may even lead to new shared service, product or even business ideas.

Case study

Gina and Paul own a dance school and they own the premises. Since Covid-19 they have found fewer people joining up for classes and their profit has taken a nosedive. They feel that their classes have not been appealing to as many people and they wondered why.

They decided to explore this problem further using an inspiration board using the research they have carried out. They found out that classes with certain buzz words are more popular than others, they found that those individuals using abstract and loud images are more successful at gaining interest of users on Facebook and that having some innovative elements tends to sell well.

Using the inspiration board, they let their ideas flow to identify creative ways to improve their current classes. They explored ideas that were found to improve classes such as using more equipment, having multiple types of dancing classes available, using guest dancers, or having themed programmes (e.g., summer programmes, Christmas programmes, etc).

This generated a lot of ideas through using ‘must have, should have and could have’ that they had never thought about, for example exploring the idea of hybrid classes, using guest dancers and ways in which to make the classes sound more exciting.  They found the premises were lacking in lots of ways. Some complained about the temperature being too cool. Some parents were concerned about unisex changing rooms. Some said  the decor was old fashioned and it needed a revamp. ‘I feel the wallpaper is like my Gran’s,’ said one person.

 A list of ‘should haves’ included:

  • better cleaning regime (e.g., cleaner toilets)

  • comfy seating

  • more online options

  • my daughter with a disability would like to take part

  • more showcasing of our skills - can we have a concert?

  • We should have more online options to join, not just Facebook

  • More world dances please, it’s very Eurocentric!

The next stage of exploration is to consider ‘alternative prototyping’ where ideas are selected and developed into concepts and prototypes. For example, some of the issues were about the environment which offers an opportunity to pilot some changes and regarding the requests about the dance classes, they could trial some changes and obtain feedback. It’s important to think about how energy and resources can be used for the best outcome whilst being flexible.

They are thinking about a co-creation workshop with customers and attendees.

End results of this phase

A variety of ideas are generated as possible solutions to the identified problem.

Tools of this phase

An active and exploratory way to generate ideas.


An inspiration board for ideating solutions.

Inspiration board.png

A group ideation tool.


Drawing parallels with analogies for ideas.


A fictional description of a typical customer.


Creating ideas together with customers and stakeholders.

Co-creation workshop.png

An ideation matrix of service aspects.

Morphological analysis.png

The must, should, could and won’t haves of a service.

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