nicole neuberger

How to get people started with Service Design in 3 days?

A Crash Course in Service Design Thinking, Customer Experience and Service Innovation

Case Study: Summary

  • Problem: Service Design Thinking helps service providers to be innovative, customer-oriented, competitive and efficient, but not everyone can afford to engage in a 1-2 year Master’s program.
  • Solution: An immersive learning experience in the form of a 3-day project-based crash course to understand the basic principles and most important methods of Design Thinking and Service Design. 
  • Goals: Provide theoretical understanding and practical hands-on experience, prepare people to get started in real life, and make them curious to learn more.
  • Clients: Individuals, teams, organizations and companies from various sectors. 
  • My role: I designed the training format, created the contents and facilitated more than 50 workshops in different contexts with groups of 3 to 15 people.
  • Outcome: The feedback surveys at the end of each workshop consistently indicated that participants found the course highly valuable. Some participants keep reaching out even years after attending, sharing how they successfully applied the learnings in their companies and mentioning that they continue revisiting the course material for reference and inspiration. 

Why Service Design Thinking?

  • Service Innovation: With system-oriented and human-centered tools and methods Service Design Thinking helps to identify opportunities for innovation and strategically develop new services that are valuable, attractive and easy to use for people while controlling and optimizing resources.
  • Customer Experience Excellence: When people use a service, they get in touch with a variety of interfaces and communication channels. The customer journey along these “touchpoints” needs to carefully designed in order to avoid gaps and breaks in the customer experience. Service Design helps to orchestrate a cohesive and delightful overall experience across all touchpoints.

So, how to get people started with Service Design in 3 days?

People registering for my Service Design Thinking Crash Course have diverse backgrounds and experiences and come from various sectors. Some are UX Designers who already have experimented with Service Design methods, others are Customer Service Representatives or CEOs entirely new to Design Thinking and Doing. The challenge is to bring them all onto the same page and provide a valuable learning experience for everyone.

In the beginning of the course, I provide a short introduction to Service Design to ensure a shared understanding in terms of terminology and a general approach. Subsequently, course participants directly delve into a design challenge, forming teams to develop their own services. This approach allows everyone to leverage their individual skill sets and learn from one another.

In addition to the course experience, students receive the following support material:

  • Handout with theoretical background, references and further reading
  • Research and design templates
  • Exemplary project plan for a pilot project
Service Design Thinking Crash Course: Overview - Nicole Neuberger, Service & UX Design Trainer and Mentor
Service Design Thinking Crash Course: Agenda - Nicole Neuberger, Service & UX Design Trainer and Mentor

Project-based learning: fun and effective

On day 1, each participant can propose a problem they are facing as a user. Then all participants select the problems they are most keen on solving and form teams. The participant who has proposed the problem joins another team working on a different problem as a designer.

While a bit more challenging than working with preselected standard problems, this allows participants to experience the importance of talking to real users and how this contributes to coming up with unique ideas and solutions beyond the obvious. It’s always amazing which innovative and sound concepts can emerge in just 3 days by taken a human-centered approach. 

During my courses, participants have designed and redesigned all sorts of services. Examples include:

  • A service to find and book a kindergarten place
  • New medical services
  • Next-generation video-on-demand services
  • Bike repair services
  • Novel job interview & onboarding experiences
  • New learning experiences for university students
  • A service solution for freelance skippers navigating ships



My past course participants left with hands-on knowledge they could immediately apply in their daily work and a wealth of resources to delve deeper into the field of Service Design and Design Thinking. Feedback on the course was very positive, both in the survey handed out right after the course and in the messages I received on LinkedIn and Xing. It’s truly gratifying when people say they’ve gained valuable practical knowledge, or when they mention revisiting my presentation or using the templates in their daily work even years later.

The workshop has provided me with valuable insights into the world of Service Design and equipped me with the foundational elements to be effective in the field myself.
Susi, UX Designer, Volkswagen AG
Feedback Survey
Simply brilliant, entertaining, and to the point. I appreciated the depth, details, well-thought-out exercises, creativity, and hands-on learning approach.
Vesna, Training Manager, Henkel AG
Feedback Survey
Excellent templates, examples and resources! It was great that there was enough time for open discussions and answering specific participant questions.
Anonymous feedback from course participant
Feedback Survey
Some time ago, I did the Service Design Thinking certification with you, and I still benefit from it today.
Johanna, Change Agent
Message on XING
Thank you again for the great workshop. What we learned back then truly helps me improve my work every day.
Eliana, UX Designer
Message on LinkedIn

For whom is this course?

This course is for anyone interested in using design thinking and design methods and tools to innovate or improve services and experiences, for example:

  • NGOs
  • Healthcare Organizations
  • Schools and Universities
  • Public Sector Institutions
  • Travel Agencies, Tour Operators
  • Private businesses (from start-ups to multinational companies in all sectors) 
  • Independent Consultants and Designers
  • Any other Service Provider


Nicole Neuberger - Service Design Trainer and Mentor / Instructora y Mentora