Service Design Innovation MDes

The Master of Design programme provide the opportunity for you to develop creative thinking and innovative strategies through an advanced understanding of the practical application of design thinking and design strategy that can be applied in a global context.

“In the competitive world of business, what separates an industry's players is often the service that comes with the product offering – the customer experience.”

Guardian (2010) Service Design Supplement. Published on 12 March 2010.

Service Design is a relatively new discipline that has emerged in the UK simultaneously with an increase in the service sector of the economy and the development of services which require innovative approaches to design, development and delivery in public, private and civil society organisations. Through the use of a specific set of methods and processes based on design thinking, Service Design aims to develop services that are useful and desirable for customers/stakeholders and profitable and efficient for the provider.

The course will provide you with the opportunity to develop and use design thinking as a device for modelling multi-faceted service experiences. In particular this requires the ability to design user research, to facilitate development workshops, and to project manage a process when initially outcomes are unknown. A detailed understanding of the management of design and innovation in service organisations is gained through case studies and project based learning. You are introduced to a range of concepts in Service Design such as co-design, user-driven innovation and social innovation. You are also encouraged to develop your own approaches and to respond to emerging industry practices.

You will benefit from staff research interests in methodology and in user experience design strategies. You may also have the opportunity to participate in one of Ravensbourne’s regular industry development projects with a strong service design dimension.

Read the full programme specification

Richard McMurray's story

My career was as a project engineer in the construction industry; in such a competitive sector my company was increasingly asking me to propose new processes and innovations.

It was challenging to project manage and discover innovation - not least because I lacked the expertise and experience.

However, I found the area of business innovation and service improvement appealing and it was this that lead me to the MDes course at Ravensbourne.

I found the attitude here very open and refreshing - the Service Design course has allowed me to experiment and be challenging.

Service design is about finding what people’s needs are and designing for them, and the course has really enabled me to understand how to work, and communicate, with creative people and appreciate their perspectives. 

Whilst on the course I have done an internship at Barclays with their innovation and customer experience team - it was a great experience, and is just one example of new networks and contacts I’ve made.

The future looks good, I’ve now got enough skills to be successful, and I’m confident I can operate at a higher level and make a valuable contribution to industry.

About this course


1 year full time/2 years part time


Tuition fee and Scholarship/bursary information

Entry requirements

First or upper second class honours degree (or equivalent non-UK qualifications) in a relevant subject, or an equivalent professional qualification in a related subject area.

If you are applying directly from an undergraduate degree course without experience or professional practice you must be able to demonstrate a good knowledge of your chosen subject area.

In order to be eligible for a course, you will need to be a competent speaker and writer of English. This also applies if you are from the European Union, or if you're from a country outside the EU. You will need a level of IELTS 6.5, with a minimum of 6.0 in each section.

Programme specification
Documents showing the detailed specification for the course can be downloaded here.

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Course structure

Study units

Stage One: developing a knowledge base and new reference points - introduces the learner to a range of theories and practices in the strategic use of design and innovation, with a particular focus on the method of design thinking in the global context and how it relates to Service Design. Emphasis is also placed on beginning to develop an innovation and leadership toolkit of skills and techniques.

  • Unit 1: Cultural and Contextual Design Studies
  • Unit 2: Practical Application of Design Thinking in Service Design
  • Unit 3: Managing Design in a Global Society and Economy

Stage Two: putting new learning into a professional context - builds on the practical application of design thinking with a focus on innovation and industry oriented professional practice

Teaching and learning methods in this term are reflective of real world practices ensuring that participants are well versed in new service/product design methods, blueprinting, modelling, brand guardianship, consumer marketing and routes to market. 

  • Unit 4: Professional Practice in Management and Consulting
  • Unit 5: Strategic Design and Innovation
  • Unit 6: Studio Practice

Stage Three: evaluating and advancing existing knowledge

  • Unit 7: Major Project.

Course aims:

  • To encourage a human centred approach to design.
  • To demonstrate that real innovation comes from gaining a deep understanding of the interaction between service providers and end users, their wants needs, participation and potential for co-creation.