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Digital Service Design

Module description

This module takes the form of some introductory lecture content and readings, leading up to a 100% immersive, online ‘gamified’ activity, during which you learn about an existing organisational service, and design a digital replacement. The sprint  activity draws on and develops core content from MBAM962, and provides hands-on experience of the key activities involved in a digital discovery activity, which commonly precedes, and justifies, the investment/build phase in agile organisations. You will conduct a series of ‘time boxed’ activities that include user research, user persona development, digital service design, front-end design, and service architecture.  Teams compete to build, and explain, a compelling digital service design blueprint.  The elective makes use of online whiteboard tools in a pioneering way.  No technical experience required.

Full module specification

Module title:Digital Service Design
Module code:MBAM959
Module level:M
Academic year:2021/2
Module lecturers:
  • Professor Mark Thompson - Convenor
Module credit:10
ECTS value:






Duration of module: Duration (weeks) - term 3:

4 days

Module aims

Organisations across all sectors, whether legacy or startup, are increasingly digitizing existing services, or designing new, digital, services to thrive in the digital economy.  The module equips you with the understanding - and, crucially - experience – of the discovery process, where ideas for new digital services are developed, tested, and justified to the business.  You will have the ability to develop key components of the business case for new digital services (whether the audience is investors or senior management), and/or also to discuss and critique ideas for new digital services proposed by others.  With the increasing turn to ‘digital’, this elective aims to equip you with the basic skills, and the confidence, to engage in this crucial area of modern organizational activity.

ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. Design and lead an agile sprint activity where ideas for new digital services are developed, tested, and justified to the client.
  • 2. Apply digital service design in discovery exercises comprising UX, service mapping, and service architecture dimensions
  • 3. Critically evaluate how open standards/architecture and cloud-based technology can underpin user-centred digital services

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 4. Critically appraise the principles of digital service design in order to develop key components of the business case for new digital services.
  • 5. Demonstrate how a modular approach can enable new digital services to be assembled quickly and often at low cost
  • 6. Deepen engagement with the digital content covered in MBAM962, specifically platform/ecosystems, digital infrastructure, a data-oriented approach, and digital innovation in order to develop key components of the business case for new digital services.

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 7. demonstrate problem solving skills by adopting an evidence-based approach
  • 8. demonstrate effective written skills and critical evaluation
  • 9. ability to deploy a creative framework for generating digital innovation; agile experience
  • 10. lead/conduct/critique proposals/high-level designs for new digital services

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning & Teaching activities2Lectures
Scheduled Learning & Teaching activities2Facilitated practitioner show & tell
Scheduled Learning & Teaching activities8Immersive SPRINT exercise
Scheduled Learning & Teaching activities8Group Solution preparation
Scheduled Learning & Teaching activities4Group Solution presentations
Group Discussions4Facilitated group discussions
Guided independent study72Reading, research, group work, writing

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Feedback throughout the design sprint process. 20 hours group design thinking1-10Verbally, in digital design environment

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Week-long assessment of group engagement with digital design sprint, culminating in a 30 minute group presentation.30Across 20 hours’ group design sprint accompanied by a 30-min presentation1-6Written feedback
An individual assignment will comprise a 2,500 word report taking the form of a proposal for a new digital service.702500 words7,8,9,10Written feedback

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Week-long assessment of group engagement with digital design sprint, culminating in a 30 minute group presentation. (30%)Individual written reflection (30%) 1500 words1-6Within 6 weeks of final APAC
Individual essay which reflects on the group design process and the resulting client solution. (70%) 2,500 wordsIndividual essay (70%) 2500 words7-10Within 6 weeks of final APAC

Re-assessment notes

As a group presentation will be difficult to replicate the student will be asked to produce an individual reflection on the group design process.

Syllabus plan

The module builds on and develops directly the digital material in MBAM962.  Such material includes but is not limited to:

  • Transformational potential of shared infrastructure
  • Platforms/ecosystems as an emerging business model
  • The increasingly central role of data in driving customer-centric service offerings
  • The importance of the principles of modularity, APIs, and interoperability in digital businesses
  • The ethical implications, and concerns, surrounding collection and use of data.

This module provides you with the opportunity to deepen your understanding of this academic content by experiencing its implications for digital service design.  In addition, the module offers new academic content:

  • The increasing use, and benefits/disadvantages of agile management techniques
  • The key components of, and detailed activities involved in, designing new digital services (please refer to module description above).

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Jongerius, P., & Offermans, A. (2013). Get agile!  Scrum for UX, design and development. BIS Publishers.

Kelley, T. (2002). The art of innovation. Penguin Random House.


Knapp, J. (2016). Sprint: How to solve big problems and test new ideas in just five days. London: Bantam Press. 

Osterwalder, A. et al. (2014). Value Proposition Design. Wiley: New Jersey.

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