The new international Master’s degree in service design


The new international Master’s degree in service design, "the Service Design Strategies and Innovation" (SDSI) envisages to kick off in the Fall 2021. The new programme focuses on interdisciplinary studies and cross-specialisation in design, business, technologies and social sciences. Graduates will be awarded with a Master’s double degree, one from the University of Lapland and one from the Art Academy of Latvia.

The new programme will prepare students to become versatile service innovators who can enable change in public and private organisations through strategic design, management and creative leadership. The programme provides great opportunities to non-European students to familiarise themselves with the whole region.

– SDSI is a Master's programme of the future. It will be generating a strong pool of service design experts that have robust competence over Northern Europe. They can build service journey offerings across borders. The program offers a unique opportunity to combine academic studies and practise-based service design with companies, says Service Design expert Satu Miettinen.

Solving common societal challenges

Service design emerged in the 1990s and has developed into a pivotal approach in private and public organisations to improve the quality and productivity of services. Service design aims to create services that are useful, usable, and desirable to clients and effective, efficient, and distinctive for suppliers.

The service sector plays a crucial role in the organisation of our society and how we face and respond to societal challenges, from healthcare in an ageing society, access to amenities in regions with population decline, scaling up mobility in growing urban areas, and solving challenges in transportation, public services and the delivery of education.

SDSI emphasises the development of leadership skills. This supports students becoming change facilitators who can contribute to innovative, effective and socially responsible service organisations.

– Our graduates will be equipped with the knowledge and skills to be prepared for an uncertain future. They will know how to identify and satisfy unmet needs in a wide range of sectors, explains Miettinen.

The graduates will execute leadership roles in organisations in the private and public sectors, spearheading change processes, envisioning the future, managing multidisciplinary teams and overcoming innovation roadblocks.

Unique international partnerships

The programme partners include the Art Academy of Latvia, University of Lapland, Stockholm School of Economics in Riga, Estonian Academy of Arts, Kuldīga Municipality and Kuldīga Artists’ Residence. The study process includes study periods abroad to Kuldīga in Latvia and Rovaniemi in Finland. Occasional workshops might be organised in Tallinn, Estonia and Riga, Latvia.

Students will have access to vast resources of SDSI partner schools, including prototyping studios and makerspaces in an international learning and networking environment. SDSI locations are ‘safe countries’ characterised by societies striving for social and economic development, wellbeing, and culture.


With the new programme currently undergoing a rigorous accreditation process, enrolments are planned to open in Summer 2021. Less than 30 students will be admitted to the programme annually, enabling individual and personalised approaches to the study process and providing close networking among students and teaching personnel.

Interested students are welcome to the follow-up introductory seminars of SDSI that will be conducted in April, May and June 2021. The first online information seminar about SDSI will be hosted on 29 April 2021 at 4 pm Finnish time.

More information about SDSI is available on

Further information:

Professor Satu Miettinen, 040 484 4367

University Researcher Melanie Sarantou, 040 484 4477