News 2022

Dissertation: Early stage communication of service design needs to be improved


Danielle Zsifkovits, MA, investigates in her dissertation how service designers communicate about their discipline to stakeholders and the ways to enhance the existing communication. Especially the early stage communication in service design projects should be improved.

Danielle Zsifkovits, MA, investigates in her dissertation the current communication approaches and processes applied by service designers to create understanding for their discipline to stakeholders, and ways to enhance the existing communication. The main aim of the research lies with supporting service designers in their communication of their discipline to people with little awareness and knowledge about service design and to ultimately create further business opportunities for service design.

"Service design is a relatively new discipline that draws on the methods and concepts of various other disciplines, inside and outside of the design realm, to achieve innovative solutions that cater to all stakeholders of the service taken in focus. The practitioners are known to be skillful and resourceful in retrieving data from service and project stakeholders and pushing them towards collaborations by applying methods and tools that support the stakeholders in bridging silo-thinking and language barriers. However, service designers experience continuously negative or exhausting communication and struggle when they are explaining their jobs and discipline to other people and when they try to acquire jobs or projects", explains Zsifkovits.

To improve these experiences and to increase the use of service design, according to Zsifkovits, stakeholders need to be made more aware of what service design is, how and by whom it is conducted and which are its benefits to service development. That is crucial especially in the beginning of the service design processes.

In her study, Zsifkovits observed and studied the currently applied communication by service designers and reconstructed it. It showed an unaligned and vague structure of suggestions, doings, and thoughts-to-look-out-for.

"Such a communication process does not support service designers in adequately introducing and selling their discipline to project stakeholders, correcting project stakeholders' misconceptions or assumptions about the discipline, or catering to project stakeholders' communication expectations", Zsifkovits notes.

Instead of the current ways of communicating, the communication of service design should pay attention to a crucial information sharing and expectation management activity that heavily impacts the trajectory and success of projects and the perception of service design. The study suggests a "how-to" communication road map that is designed to support the practice-led service designers in their daily work. It enables service designers to better steer the communication of their discipline to project stakeholders and hence achieve more desirable communication experiences and outcomes.

Information on the public examination

The academic dissertation The Communication of Service Design – How do Service Designers Communicate Service Design to (Project) Stakeholders? by Danielle Zsifkovits, M.A., will be publicly examined in the Faculty of Art and Design at the University of Lapland on Friday 25 March 2022 at 12 noon online. The opponent is Professor Satu Luojus from the Laurea University of Applied Sciences, and the custos is Professor (emerita) Kaarina Määttä from the University of Lapland.

The public defence can be followed online at

Information on the doctoral candidate

Danielle Zsifkovits started her investigation of service design already during her bachelor studies at the Macromedia University of Applied Sciences where she graduated as a Bachelor of Arts (digital media production / media design) in 2012. In 2014, she graduated from the same university as a Master of Arts, with service design as the major subject. After graduating, Zsifkovits evolved as a service and experience designer by practicing both disciplines in the industry and various companies. In 2018 she decided to immerse into the topic of communicating service design through a doctoral degree at the University of Lapland, given the experiences and the encountered need for further investigation and enablement of service designers in this area.

Further information

Danielle Zsifkovits
dzsifkov (at)

Information on the publication

Danielle Zsifkovits: The Communication of Service Design – How do Service Designers Communicate Service Design to (Project) Stakeholders? Acta electronica Universitatis Lapponiensis 330. ISBN: 978-952-337-301-3. ISSN: 1796-6310

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