IIT Institute of Design: The Neighborhood Market

Experience Prototypes, Blueprints, Concept Mapping and More

Service Systems Design Workshop

Concept: Developing a Neighborhood Market on Wheels

Service Design WorkshopThe Fall 2013 Service Design project was highly influential due to the excellent teamwork, wide range of design methods employed, business modeling, and fun had throughout the process. The Merchant & Muse – your neighborhood market on wheels – is our final service designed, planned for, and prototyped during this semester. The idea stems from the notion that there is a growing need / desire for control and inspiration when it comes to cooking dinner at home, nightly. The problem is that the current method of acquiring groceries, such as the weekly shopping trip, involves issues like spoiled food, lack of originality, and limited guidance; whereas, home-cooked meal enthusiasts (our target audience) seek more aspirational eating arrangements, including healthiness, locality, and high-quality ingredients.


Major Learning Experiences:

  • Experience prototypes to inform / learn / pivot
  • Treating research as an ongoing process
  • Maintaining a minimum viable product (MVP) mentality
  • Service blueprint and user journey development
  • Generation of pro forma financial statements (cash flow, income statement, retained earnings, balance sheet)
  • Concept mapping (e.g. ‘Ease of implementation’ by ‘Impact’)
  • Low-fidelity concept positioning / vetting with research participants
  • Use of stimulus cards, extreme-user exploration, and exit interviews
  • Advanced service scenario communication


Project Objective

The service systems design workshop tasked us with developing an idea which we could prototype, test, and tweak as we learned. Each team had to think holistically about the entire user experience, stakeholders, business operations, and financials to generate a viable service concept. The class was structured to address the complexity of designing a service – a process that inherently involves understanding and thoughtfully designing for the ecology of the future service. Upon defining an opportunity, our team fleshed out the necessary delivery channels, touchpoints, interactions, and relationships in an iterative fashion through journey maps, blueprints, and other tools.


Design Process: Research, Analysis, Synthesis, Realization


The most exciting aspect of this project was the primary focus on the making / implementation phase. Our team (Katie, Drew, Adam, and I) did not take long to find an appropriate opportunity space. We then worked quickly to further position it. Through heated team-based debates, we vetted a wide range of perspectives, as we made sure to spend most of our time at the intersection of ‘make’ and ‘real’. Since we used interviews with participants to test our ideas, including the behavioral prototypes, it allowed us to revisit the research, analysis, and synthesis quadrants of the design process while maintaining forward progress.


Process Photos: