Creating new services for Underground Labs via service design


  • Päivi Aro Oulu University of Applied Sciences, Finland
  • Taina Vuorela Oulu University of Applied Sciences, Finland
  • Helena Ahola Oulu University of Applied Sciences, Finland


Service design, service offering, business model, value proposition


The Baltic Sea Innovation Network (BSUIN Project) is developing the Baltic Sea region by finding new uses for underground spaces and laboratories. This involves creating an innovation platform based on the facilities and research equipment in the Underground Labs (ULs) of the universities and research institutes in the region. The platform will be jointly operated by the BSUIN network in order to offer innovative services for companies and research institutes in these unique ULs. The objective of the paper is to describe the process and the challenges of developing such jointly offered services.

Service design is chosen as an approach for developing ULs, as its visual tools and customer orientation are believed to benefit also industrial service development. Furthermore, service design emphasises the importance of the lucrativeness of the services being developed for the service provider. Service design has not been applied previously in a similar industrial context. The work involves organising workshops in order to gain understanding of customers’ needs in relation to service providers’ activities and resources. Data from the workshops and the whole service design process will be analysed qualitatively for research purposes.

Firstly, in the exploration phase of service design, the current business models of the ULs were described and analysed, and critical aspects identified. Secondly, in the creation phase of service design, new services and their business models will be co-created in collaboration with relevant stakeholders of each UL. In addition, customer profiles, customer journeys, service blueprints and value propositions will be created for the chosen service ideas. Finally, decisions will be made about the service offering of the joint network.

Further research will be conducted through applying the case study approach to gain more theoretical and practical understanding of the use of service design in industrial contexts.


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