A Creed for Service Designers

  • Stephen K. KwanEmail author
  • Yutaka Yamauchi
Conference paper


Some recent discussions in the service science community have been around the need for research on and innovation of human-centered service systems (HCSS) from a multiple discipline perspective. HCSS are complex because of the involvement of people, multiple stakeholders with usually incommensurate value systems spanning networks of resources. Designers of such systems have to draw knowledge and connections from service science, system thinking, design thinking, business, and engineering. In this research, we build an underpinning of the system thinking aspect of service design based on Churchman’s The Design of Inquiring Systems and Swanson’s Churchman’s Theory of Design Integrity as an important aspect of the education of service designers. This will form the philosophical foundation of a creed or set of beliefs and aims that will guide the service designer’s actions. Of particular relevance to service system design is Swanson’s interpretation of Churchman’s work to propose a Theory of Design Integrity, i.e., designing the wholeness, soundness, and virtue of a system. A system professional can design such a system with precepts based on Churchman’s necessary conditions to conceive a system S: it is teleological; it has a measure of performance, a client whose interests (value) are served, teleological components, an environment, a decision maker of resources, and a designer with good intentions to maximize the system’s value to the client; and it is stable. Even though Churchman was not specifically referring to service systems, we see that his ideas are as fresh today as then in applying the precepts to value cocreation scenarios. The Theory of Design Integrity also explicitly offers a virtue component that is lacking in the current service design literature. We feel that this should be an essential part of a service designer’s creed in today’s climate of privacy and security concerns. Swanson also introduced the role of a social witness as an observer who evaluates the system’s design integrity by maintaining a critical and responsible stance not separable from the system. We will illustrate the applicability of the Creed for Service Designers with service system scenarios and describe how it could be incorporated into service design education.


Service design System thinking Design integrity 


  1. Churchman, C. W. (1968) The Systems Approach. Delacorte Press, New York.Google Scholar
  2. Churchman, C. W. (1971) The Design of Inquiring Systems. Basic Books, New York.Google Scholar
  3. Kwan, S. K. & Müller-Gorchs, M. (2011). Constructing Effective Value Propositions for Stakeholders in Service System Networks. Proceedings of AIS SIGSVC Workshop.Google Scholar
  4. Kwan, S. K. (2013) “Service Design and Innovation SIG Workshop”. Presented at the 1st International Conference on Serviceology (ICServ 2013), October 16–18, 2013, Tokyo, Japan (available at
  5. Kwan S. K. (2014) “T-shaped Professionals”. Presented at Spartan Thinkers Society, April 17th, 2014, San José, California, USA.Google Scholar
  6. Kwan, S. K. & Hottum, P. (2014). Mantaining Consistent Customer Experience in Service System Networks. Service Science, 6 (2), 136–147.Google Scholar
  7. Lusch, R. F., Vargo, S. L. (2014) Service-Dominant Logic, Premises, Perspectives, Possibilities. Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  8. Maglio, P., Kwan, S. K., & Spohrer, J. (2015) “Commentary: Toward a Research Agenda for Human-Centered Service System Innovation”. Service Science 7:1; March 2105, pp. 1–10.Google Scholar
  9. Norman, D. A. (2011) Living with Complexity. The MIT Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts.Google Scholar
  10. Osterwalder, A., Pigneur, Y., Bernarda, G. & Smith, A. (2014) Value Proposition Design. John Wiley & Sons, New Jersey.Google Scholar
  11. Polaine, A., Løvlie, L. & Reason, B. (2013) Service Design. Brooklyn: Rosenfeld Media.Google Scholar
  12. Stickdorn, M.; Schneider, J. (ed.) (2011) This is Service Design Thinking: Basics – Tools – Cases (1st ed). BIS Publishers, Amsterdam.Google Scholar
  13. Stamoulis, D., Theotokis, D., Martakos, D., & Gyftodimos, G. (2003) Ateleological development of “Design-Decisions-Independent” Information Systems. In Patel, N. (ed.) Adaptive Evolutionary Information Systems. Idea Group Publishing.Google Scholar
  14. E. Burton Swanson (1994) “Churchman’s Theory of Design Integrity”. Interfaces 24: July–August 1994 (pp. 54–59).Google Scholar
  15. Yamauchi, Y. (2015) “Services as Struggles: Research on Customer Interactions” (in Japanese), Chuokeizaisha.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Japan 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Lucas Graduate School of BusinessSan José State UniversitySan JoséUSA
  2. 2.Graduate School of ManagementKyoto UniversityKyotoJapan

Personalised recommendations