Touchpoint Vol. 11 No. 1

Touchpoint – The Journal of Service Design

Touchpoint provides a window into the discussion of service design, facilitating a forum to debate, share and advance the field and its practices. In addition, it aims at engaging clients to listen in on the discussion, learn about the field, and become involved in the development and implementation of service design for their organisations.

The three key audiences of the publication are:

  • Service design practitioners
  • Client organisations including businesses, non-profits, and public sector/government
  • Academia

Feature theme: 'Service design for innovation and startups'

Innovation is a key creator of value in today’s economy. Without investing in innovation, companies run the risk that competition and commoditisation will drag down long-term economic profits. When companies do innovate, it can take place in different forms, from traditional R&D departments and outsourced innovation partners, to so-called skunkworks and innovation accelerators.

On the other hand, some of the most ground-breaking innovations don’t arise within existing businesses, but are dreamt-up in college housing and garages, and go on to disrupt entire sectors and earn eye-popping market valuations within several years. These are today’s startups; often with their roots in Silicon Valley, but increasingly in places such as Stockholm and Shenzhen.

But while we’ve seen the role of service design in established companies (large and small) – and also in healthcare and the public sector – grow year-on-year, service design’s role in startups and innovation remains less easy to quantify. Our mindsets and methods are ideally suited to bringing innovative services to life, yet you’re much more likely to find a service designer in a British bank, than supporting a 15-person startup in Seattle.

In this upcoming issue of Touchpoint, we are looking to focus our attention on the role of service design for startups and innovation, in whatever guises it occurs. Are you a service designer working in an innovation programme, such as an in-house accelerator or lab? Or for an independent incubator? Or are you embedded within or coaching a young startup? Or do you have related expertise as a designer or strategist in these settings, from which the service design community can learn? We invite you to contribute to this issue.

Some of the questions which we would like to see covered:

  • Where is service design delivering value in in-house innovation labs, and what does its practice there look like?

  • What startups are applying service design (and not just Design Thinking or user-centred design) from their early stages? And how does a service designer operate in the unique startup environment?

  • Can methodologies such as Lean Startup complement service design, or actually hinder its application?

  • What elements of a service designer’s toolkit are especially relevant to startups, and what additional skills are useful?

  • Can service designers carry out startup-specific techniques such as customer development, experimentation and assumption validation? Or do these actually undermine the in-depth and contextual work we are well-suited to do?

  • What are the success stories of service design in startups, and what obstacles might lie in the way from it achieving greater impact here?

We welcome contributions from throughout the service design community, as well as those with knowledge and experience in the feature theme, to contribute to this issue. By doing so, you will be helping service designers make the next step towards an even more mature practice of our discipline.

Regular sections

Besides handing in articles related to this issue’s feature, you are also invited to hand in content for the other regular sections of Touchpoint, which are not related to the theme of the issue:

  • Cross-Discipline: Highlighting the connection between service design and other disciplines
  • Tools and Methods: Introduction and evaluation of techniques and activities for service design projects
  • Education and Research: Insights from academia and research. 

Abstract submission

At the bottom of this page, you find the 'submit an abstract' button. By clicking the button, the abstract submission form will be shown. On the submission form, you will need to fill in, besides your contact information, the following information:

  • Category: Please arrange your submission in one of the Touchpoint sections (Feature, Cross-Discipline, Tools and Methods, Education and Research).
  • Scope of your contribution: Please indicate the proposed length of the article you would like to write if your abstract is selected. Short article:  700 – 800 words (2 pages in Touchpoint) / Medium article:  1100 – 1400 words (4 pages in Touchpoint) / Long article:  1900 – 2200 words (6 pages in Touchpoint).
  • Title: the proposed title of your article with 5-8 words.
  • Abstract: the abstract (max. 2000 characters) should outline the objective, the structure and the benefit (three key learnings) of your article for the readers. Please also indicate what existing data or evidence you will refer to or what research will be carried out to support your article.
  • Relevance to service design: Brief description (max. 300 characters) on why your article is interesting to service designers and what new knowledge it will bring to the service design discipline.
  • Biography: short biography (max. 300 characters) of the author(s) including background, key activities and projects. 

After filling in the form, click on 'Submit'. You should receive a confirmation email with the copy of your abstract in case of a successful submission (please check your spam folder as well).

In case you experience any problem submitting your abstract via the system or don't receive the confirmation email, please send us via email your abstract submission in a Word file following the required fields on the abstract submission form. We will confirm the receipt of your submission per email within 2 working days. 

Language and Tone of Voice

The editorial language of Touchpoint is British English. If you are not a native English speaker, make sure your abstract is proofread by a native speaker before you hand in it.

Touchpoint is a non-academic, rather practice-oriented journal, therefore articles are supposed to be easy in tone, not too academic but rather practical in approach – thus, easy to understand for practitioners, academics as well as laymen interested in service design.

When writing your text please focus on the benefit of your article for the readers – do not only report about project steps but present key learnings that the reader will take away.

Before considering to submit an abstract for Touchpoint, please make sure to check that the PR/Communications/Legal departments of your company and client-side agree with your submission, if relevant. Also note that if the article is approved to be published, authors will need to sign an Agreement for Publication and Transfer of Copyrights

Editorial Timeline

19 March 2019:  deadline for abstract submission

05 April 2019: End of abstract evaluation by the Editorial board | Acceptances sent to authors

25 April 2019: Deadline for article submission

26 April 2019 - 31 May 2019: Peer review process end editing (article may be resent to authors for edits, up to approval by the Editorial Board)

June 2019: proofreading and layout phase | pre-order by authors (25% discount on hard copies) 
July 2019: issue published and released at SDN website

Become an author of Touchpoint and help to advance the service design field and its practices.

We look forward to your contribution!

We invite you to collaborate on Touchpoint

Submit an abstract
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