Service design integrative approach for building digital services in equipment manufacturing business

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School of Arts, Design and Architecture | Master's thesis
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Master’s Programme in Design
50 + 5
Manufacturing firms have been transitioning from solely offering products to delivering a function that blends services and products. This shift has been accelerated by rapid advancements in digital technology over the past decades. To support this, companies adopt processes such as Product-Service Systems (PSS), which streamline service and product development, enhancing collaboration and efficiency. Digital servitisation, a form of PSS, involves creating digital services on top of the physical product by leveraging digital technology. However, these approaches lack in addressing customer experiences, treating customers and internal users as passive recipients rather than active shapers of the solution. Recent research suggests that service design can bridge this gap by incorporating customer and user contexts, enhancing business competitiveness to deliver solutions that meet market demands. This thesis investigates the integrative approach of service design within digital servitisation in a large manufacturing firm. By employing a single case study method supported by participant observation and qualitative interviews, the research examines the role of service designers in digital service development, focusing on the early stages. The study seeks to understand how service designers contribute, emphasising on tools and methods they use. The findings reveal that service designers play a unique role in facilitating collaborative innovation. They empower stakeholders to envision and position the service concept strategically within the broader business context. They utilise tailored tools and methods to bridge organisational functions and assist in re-orchestrating roles and processes to deliver cohesive digital services. Additionally, service designers en-sure continuous customer and user involvement throughout the development process through diverse communication techniques. While the study is context-specific to the case company and requires further research involving multiple organisations for generalisability, the findings offer valuable insights into the potential of service design to enhance digital servitisation. As manufacturers continue to evolve, embracing a service design integrative approach that elevates the integration of products and services will be essential to remain competitive and keep up with the dynamic demands of the digital age.
Keinonen, Turkka
Thesis advisor
Liao, Tjhien
Nieminen, Olli-Pekka
service design, digital services, B2B manufacturing, integrative approach, service concept, industrial service design
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