This book is the second in the Research in Design series. Design is an effort that enjoys a growing attention in the academic world. At Delft University of Technology design is a recognized part of science. Like other technical universities, Delft is rooted in the engineering field. And in spite of questions like ‘what is design’, ‘what is engineering’ and ‘what is science’, which can be debated in long sessions, and differences that are hard to explain, it is possible to feel the differences. In this book we aim to accept the challenge of our Rector Magnificus' call (Fokkema, 2007) to contribute to the development of a design language; in this book for the service domain.
In general we observe that the engineering discipline is expanding into a field that embraces perspectives of more disciplines and actors, next to the engineer who is responsible for the artefact. The first volume in this Research in Design Series stresses the stakeholder oriented approach in the domain of architecture and urban planning (Binnekamp, van Gunsteren, & van Loon, 2006). The domain in this volume is services. This is a field in which the involvement of different stakeholders with different interests in the design process is particularly a critical success factor.
The design of service systems enabled by new technological opportunities is not easy. It is not always clear what users really want to do with e-services, development is costly, devices and available bandwidth change very fast, and business models for the different parties involved are not always clear. User interaction is also a problem: providing natural input is hard, and interfaces like screens might be small and only hold a limited amount of information. Furthermore, the fragmentation of services which requires to link services developed by different organizations remains a big problem. Therefore, there is a lot of interest in methods and best practices for the design of (mobile) services that are able to combine information from different data sources by ICT and target the information of different organisations at the individual wishes of the user. Mobile is put between brackets since this book can be used two-fold: as a book covering service systems in general and as a book focussing on mobile service systems. Our explanations, examples and illustrations are all from the mobile domain. The reason is that the challenges to overcome when designing mobile service systems are excellent examples for service systems design. Also, we believe that services will become ubiquitous and therefore the distinction between services and mobile services will become obsolete. The “anytime, anyplace” dimension promised in the beginning of the Internet Era is becoming reality with mobile services being part of our everyday life.
The theory in the book is based on the research on ‘service systems engineering’ as carried out between 2000 and 2005 in the Faculty of Technology, Policy and Management of Delft University of Technology. We would like to thank all staff members of this programme who contributed to the concept and notions of Service System Engineering. Especially we want to mention Gert-Jan de Vreede, Harry Bouwman, Rudi Westerveld, Marion Wiethoff, Erik Andriessen, Mariëlle den Hengst and René Wagenaar. We are very sorry that it is no longer possible to hand-over this book to René Wagenaar who always inspired us and recently passed away.
Nowadays, the service system domain is part of the Faculty research programs “Infrastructures” and “Multi-actor systems”. In the Faculty's educational programs, we offer courses on ‘Services Systems Engineering’ to graduate students and many of the examples in this book have been based on assignments carried out by students in these courses. We are grateful to the lecturers and students who contributed to and used former versions of this book in their courses. A special thanks goes to Mark de Reuver who edited one of the former versions of this book.
Another inspiration for this book is the SmartAmlets© proposal that was submitted in October 2003 to the sixth framework programme of the European Union (Carlsson, 2003). Although the proposal was not granted, it was very useful as background for this book and we want to thank the programme coordinator Christer Carlsson from IAMSR, Åbo University in Finland. Furthermore, some of the material in this book has been based on the Ph.D. thesis of Van de Kar (2004). We thank all institutes and persons who participated in providing information for this book. Finally, we thank our co-authors: Wieke Bockstael-Blok, Mirjam Huis in ‘t Veld, Marijn Janssen, Carleen Maitland and Yan Wang.
To conclude we want to stress to our readers that we see the service design field as an emerging scientific area which is just at its beginning. We hope this book will be used in education, by practitioners, and by researchers.
A note on the second edition: some minor improvements have been made in the text and in the illustrations. The first and second edition are completely interchangeable.
Delft, June 2008
Els van de Kar and Alexander Verbraeck