INF2313H Introduction to Service Science

Fall 2015
Instructor: Professor Kelly Lyons


Mondays, 6:30 to 9:30 Location BL538



Course Objectives and Student Learning Objectives

Instructor and TA

Course Structure

Deliverables & Evaluation

Readings & Resources

Weekly Schedule

General Expectations


Relationship to Program Learning Outcomes

Course Objectives:

This course covers an introduction to the field of service science.  Service science brings together multiple disciplines (computer science, marketing, operations research, information systems, engineering, etc.) to study service systems. Service systems are complex systems that vary in scope (from people to businesses, organizations, governments, and nations) and involve people, information, organizations, and technology adapting dynamically and connecting internally and externally to other service systems through value propositions. In all types of service systems (government services, service enterprises, and non-profit service organizations), value is realized through interactions with other service systems. Technology is often used to support and enable these interactions.  A motivation for the emergence of service science is the fact that the service sector is the fastest growing in most economies yet it lacks strong conceptual foundations.  Most iSchool graduates will work in a service environment whether in the government, academia, public institutions, or service enterprises.  Even manufacturing and commodity based entities have significant service components as well. This course is intended to help prepare students for successful careers in the information professions where much of the work is service based.  The course is designed to build an understanding of the main theories and concepts of service science and to help students apply those theories to better understand, design, and innovate within service systems.

Course Learning Outcomes:

Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

·       Understand and critique the ways in which researchers and practitioners are defining service activities and service science (Demonstrated through Assignments 1 and 2)

·       Articulate the motivation behind the study of service science and relate their own experiences to the study of service science (Demonstrated through Assignments 1, 2 and in-class exercises)

·       Apply theories that are emerging in the area of service science and identify current limitations in applying those theories (Demonstrated through Assignment 2 and in-class exercises)

·       Demonstrate ways in which organizations are changing what they do through innovative uses of technology and discuss the implications of these changes (Demonstrated through Assignment 3)

·       Describe ways in which technology is providing innovations in service activities (specifically in providing greater opportunities for co-production) (Demonstrated through Assignment 3)

·       Apply modeling techniques to service activities and demonstrate ability to use modeling techniques (Demonstrated through Assignment 3 and in-class exercises)

In addition to learning the specific course material, students will also:

·       Share their knowledge and contribute to the learning of their classmates

·       Understand challenges of interdisciplinary research and difficulties of reviewing and critiquing papers in areas outside their field

·       Hear perspectives of business people, researchers, and practitioners through guest lecturers

·       Learn about ethics protocols and practice research interview techniques

Relationship of Course Learning Outcomes to Program-Level Master of Information Learning Outcomes:

Master of Information Program-Level Student Learning Outcomes can be found here.

Most iSchool graduates will work in a service environment whether in the government, academia, public institutions, or service enterprises and as such, services are becoming a fundamental aspect of information disciplines. This course will help students understand and be conversant in the fundamentals and theories of service (a fundamental aspect of information disciplines) (Program Outcome 1).   The knowledge and values imparted in INF2313 are appropriate to students’ future exercise of economic, cultural and social leadership and the provision of information services for all (Program Outcome 2).  

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Instructor: Professor Kelly Lyons

Phone: 416 946 3839


Office: BL612

Office Hours:  Mondays 3:30 to 5:30pm in BL612


TA: Matt Bouchard

TA email:


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Course Structure:

This course has three (3) contact class hours per week. The class sessions will be a combination of lectures, discussions, interactive exercises and in-class activities. Blackboard will be used as a learning management system to support sharing of information, weekly slides, important dates, assignments, and other information about the course, as well as the facilitation of interaction among students and with the instructor and TA on topics related to the course. Note that for every one (1) hour of contact, you can expect to do 2.5 hours of reading and preparation work on your own. See also general expectations.

This course is broken into three main topic areas each covered in approximately one third of the course:

1.       Introduction to Service Science, Services, and Service Systems:  How do current definitions and theories apply (or not) to real service systems?

2.       Modeling, Analysis, and Design of Service Systems: What modeling techniques can be used to understand and represent service systems?

3.       Innovation in Service Systems:  What new techniques can be used to enhance service systems and the ways in which they work? How can models of service systems help identify innovation opportunities?  

Lecture topics will be augmented with in-class group-based activities and guest lectures.

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Deliverables and Evaluation:

Assignment 1

Identifying and describing a service system (individual assignment + blog post)

Week 3 (Sep 28 before start of class) submitted via Blackboard


Assignment 2

Analyzing service systems* (working in groups of two or three)

Week 8 (Nov 16 before the start of class) submitted via Blackboard

35%  (30% group + 5% individual)

Assignment 3

Modeling and innovating in service systems (working in the same groups of two or three)

Week 12 (Dec 14 before the start of class) submitted via Blackboard

30% (25% group + 5% individual)


Discussion and exercises in class

Weeks 2-12



All papers must be double spaced, 1 inch margins, 12 pt font. You must include a cover page with report or paper title, your name(s), and student number(s). Each page MUST contain only the title of your report and page number in the header or footer (but NOT your name or student number).  For all assignments, see important details about what is expected in your papers under General Expectations.

* An ethics protocol has been approved for the course that enables students to interview someone at an organization in order to analyze that organization as a service system.

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Readings and Resources:

Links to assigned readings for this course are available in the weekly schedule below.  

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Weekly Schedule:

Section 1: Introduction to Service Science, Services, and Service Systems

Week 1 (Sep 14) Introduction to the Service Science and Course outline


·       Lyons, K. (2010). Service science in iSchools. Published online in the Proceedings of the 5th Annual iSchool Conference (University of Illinois at Urbana‐Champaign, IL, February 3‐6, 2010), 5 pages. 

Week 2 (Sep 21) Service Science, Service Systems


·       IfM and IBM. (2008). Succeeding through Service Innovation: A Service Perspective for Education, Research, Business and Government. Cambridge, United Kingdom: University of Cambridge Institute for Manufacturing. ISBN: 978-1-902546-65-0. Link:

·       Katzan, H. (2009). Principles of service systems: An ontological approach. Journal of Service Science, 2(2), 35–52. Link:

·       Maglio, P. P., Vargo, S., Caswell, N., & Spohrer, J. (2009). The service system is the basic abstraction of service science. Information Systems & e-Business Mgmt, 7, 395-406. Link:

Week 3 (Sep 28) Value Cocreation and Service-Dominant Logic

Assignment 1 Due before start of class on via Blackboard


·       Sampson, S. E. & Froehle, C. M. (2006). Foundations and Implications of a Proposed Unified Services Theory. Production and Operations Management, 15(2), 329-343. Link:

·       Vargo, S.L., Lusch, R.F. & Akaka, M. A. (2010). Advancing service science with service-dominant logic:  Clarifications and conceptual development. In: P.P. Maglio et al. (eds.), Handbook of Service Science, Service Science: Research and Innovations in the Service Economy, 133-156. Link:

·       Normann, R. and Ramirez, R. (1993). From Value Chain to Value Constellation: Designing Interactive Strategy. Harvard Business Review, 71(4), 65-77. Link:

Week 4 (Oct 5) Identifying and Describing Service Systems


·       Read the blog posts of your classmates and come to class ready to talk to each other and compare similar kinds of service systems

·       Lyons, K. & Tracy, S. (2013). Characterizing organizations as service systems. Human Factors and Ergonomics in Manufacturing, 23, 19–27. doi: 10.1002/hfm.20517 Link:

·       Tracy, S. & Lyons, K. (2013). Service systems and the social enterprise. Human Factors and Ergonomics in Manufacturing, 23, 28–36. doi: 10.1002/hfm.20516 Link:

October 12: Thanksgiving (no Class) (maybe do next week’s readings early :-)

Section 2: Modeling, Analysis and Design of Service Systems

Week 5 (Oct 19) Characterizing Organizations as Service Systems


·       Glushko, R. J. (2013). Describing service systems. Human Factors and Ergonomics in Manufacturing, 23, 11–18. doi: 10.1002/hfm.20514   Link:


Week 6 (Oct 26) Analysis and Modeling Techniques for Service Systems (Part I)

Guest Lecture:  “Service Systems Thinking” David Ing, Visiting Scholar, Aalto University Department of Industrial Engineering and Management and Past-president, International Society for the Systems Sciences


·       Flor N. V. & Maglio, P. P. (2004). Modeling business representational activity online: A case study of a customer-centered business. Knowledge-Based Systems, 17(1), 39-56. Link:

·       Kieliszewski, C. A., Maglio, P. P. & Melissa C. (2012). On modeling value constellations to understand complex service system interactions. European Management Journal, 30(5), 438–450. Link:

·       Alter, S. (2008). Service system fundamentals: Work system, value chain, and life cycle. IBM Systems Journal, 47(1), 71-85. Link:

Week 7 (Nov 2) Analysis and Modeling Techniques for Service Systems (Part II)

Guest Lecture:  “Service systems design: An intentional agent perspective” Dr. Lysanne Lessard, Assistant Professor, Telfer School of Management, University of Ottawa


·       Cohn, D. & Hull, R. (2009). Business Artifacts: A Data-centric Approach to Modeling Business Operations and Processes. Bulletin of the IEEE Computer Society Technical Committee on Data Engineering, 32(3).  Link:

·       Lessard, L. & Yu, E. (2013), Service systems design: An intentional agent perspective. Human Factors and Ergonomics in Manufacturing, 23, 68–75. Link:

·       Janner, T.,  Schroth, C.,  Schmid, B. (2008). Modelling Service Systems for Collaborative Innovation in the Enterprise Software Industry - The St. Gallen Media Reference Model Applied. Proceedings of the IEEE International Conference on Services Computing, July 08-11, 2008, Honolulu, HI.  Link:

Nov 9: Reading Week (no class)

Week 8 (Nov 16) Service Design Techniques

Assignment 2 due before start of class on Blackboard


·       Glushko, R. J. & Tabas, L. (2008). Bridging the 'Front Stage' and 'Back Stage' in Service System Design. Proceedings of the 41st Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences, Jan. 2008 Link:

·       Patricio, L., Fisk, R. P., Falcao e Cunha, J. (2008). Designing Multi-Interface Service Experiences – The Service Experience Blueprint. Journal of Service Research, 10(4), 318-334. Link:

·       Bitner, M. J., Ostrom, A. & Morgan, F. (2008). Service blueprinting: A practical technique for service innovation. California Management Review, 50, 66-94.  Link:

Section 3: Innovation in Service Systems

Week 9 (Nov 23) Social Features in Service Systems


·       Linders, D. (2012). From e-government to we-government: Defining a typology for citizen coproduction in the age of social media. Government Information Quarterly, 29(4), 446-454. Link:

·       Lyons, K. & Marks, S. (2012). A Distributed-Cognition Based Method for Finding Social Feature Opportunities in Business Services. Published in Proceedings of the First International Conference on Human Side of Service Engineering, July 21-25, 2012, 10 pages, San Francisco, CA.  Link:

·       Lyons, K. & Lessard, L. (2012). S-FIT: A technique for integrating social features in existing information systems. Published in Proceedings of the 7th Annual iSchool Conference (iConference), February 7-10, 2012, 263-270. Toronto, ON. Link:

Week 10 (Nov 30) Service Innovation

Guest Lecture: “Analyzing the perceived end user value of the Service Thesauri terms”, Nancy Isozaki, Director, Corporate Information Policy, Corporate Information Management Services, City Clerk's Office, City of Toronto


·       Damanpour, F., Walker, R. M., & Avellaneda, C. N. (2009). Combinative effects of innovation types and organizational performance: A longitudinal study of service organizations. Journal of Management Studies, 46(4), 650-675. Link:

·       Lusch, R. F., & Nambisan, S. (2015). Service innovation: A service-dominant logic perspective. MIS Quarterly, 39(1), 155-175. Link:

·       Brown, T. and Martin, R. (2015). Design for Action: How to use design thinking to make great things actually happen. Harvard Business Review, 93(9), 57-64. Link:

Week 11 (Dec 7) Information Technology Innovation in Service Systems


·       Glushko, R. J. & Nomorosa, K. J.  (2013). Substituting Information for Interaction: A Framework for Personalization in Service Encounters and Service Systems. Journal of Service Research, in press 2013. Link:

·       Stroulia, E. (2010). Smart services across the real and virtual worlds. The smart internet: current research and future applications, Springer-Verlag, Berlin, Heidelberg, 2010  Link:

·       Barrett, M., Davidson, E., Prabhu, J., & Vargo, S. L. (2015). Service innovation in the digital age: key contributions and future directions. MIS Quarterly, 39(1), 135-154. Link:

Week 12 (Dec 14) Business Model Innovation in Service Systems

              Assignment 3 due before start of class on Blackboard


·       Berry, L.L., Shankar, V., Parish. J.T., Cadwallader, S. & Dotzel, T. (2006). Creating New Markets through Service Innovation, MIT Sloan Management Review, 47(2), Winter 2006, 56-63.  Link:

·       Lyons, K., Playford, C., Messinger, P. R., Niu, R. H. & Stroulia, E. (2009). Business models in emerging online services. In M. L. Nelson, M. J. Shaw, & T. J. Strader (Eds.), Lecture Notes in Business Information Processing, 36(1), 44-55. DOI: 10.1007/978‐3‐642‐03132‐8_4  Link:

·       Johnson, M. W., Christensen, C. M., & Kagermann, H. (2008). Reinventing your business model. Harvard Business Review, 86(12), 57-68. Link: (persistent link does not provide access to full text article but you can get it by searching for Harvard Business Review in the UofT library)


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General Expectations:

1.       Communication Policy: Please do not email questions to the instructor or TA. If you have a question, there is a pretty good chance that other people in the course have the same question or, at least, will benefit from the answer.  Please post all questions to Blackboard (using the most appropriate forum) so that everyone in the course can benefit from your questions and our answers.  Questions posted to Blackboard will be answered within two (2) business days. Students are encouraged to post answers to the questions of other students where appropriate.

2.       Readings: It is important to complete the required readings before class in order to fully benefit from the class activities. 

3.       Participation and Attendance:  Discussion and interaction in the classes are important ways to learn. Sharing your experiences and ideas with your classmates is central to your learning experience in this course.  As such, you should attend and participate in every class.  There will be exercises and discussions in which you will participate in your class.  Some of the activities will be very helpful in completing your assignments.

4.       What I expect in a paper:  I expect the paper to be well-written, well-organized and easy to follow. It should flow easily from one point to the next. Papers should have proper sentence structure, spelling, vocabulary and grammar. Each point should be articulated clearly and completely without being overly verbose.  Papers should demonstrate your understanding of the topics you are studying in the course and your confidence in using the terms, techniques and issues you have learned.  I expect the main point, thesis or debate in the essay to be clearly stated and well argued. There should be a suitable number of points or arguments made and they should be presented in a logical order.  For papers that include a debate, it should be clear which side of the discussion you (the writer) are taking and you should provide evidence to support your reasons for taking that side. For other arguments or points you are making, the background research you reference should sufficiently support the arguments put forward.  As always, references must be properly included and cited. In general, you should be creative, critical, bold, provocative, strong and confident in your ability to make your point(s), sufficiently argue your point(s), and generally in your ability to contribute to the learning and engagement of your readers.  The best way to gain confidence in your ability to make a point, argue it sufficiently, and make a contribution with your writing is to practise and then practise again. An excellent place to practise is in your professional masters program and courses like this one.

5.       Late policy:  Students are expected to manage their time effectively.  If no extension has been granted, the late submission of an assignment carries a penalty of one grade point (e.g., from A to A-) for each week to a maximum of two weeks. After the two weeks, any passing assignment receives a B- or below grade.

6.       Grading Policies: Please consult the iSchool’s Grade Interpretation Guidelines and the University Assessment and Grading Practices Policy. These documents form the basis for grading in the course.

7.       Writing Support: As stated in the iSchool’s Grade Interpretation Guidelines, “work that is not well written and grammatically correct will not generally be considered eligible for a grade in the A range, regardless of its quality in other respects”. With this in mind, please make use of the writing support provided to graduate students by the SGS Office of English Language and Writing Support.  The services are designed to target the needs of both native and non-native speakers and all programs are free. Please consult the current workshop schedule for more information.

8.       Academic integrity: The essence of academic life revolves around respect not only for the ideas of others, but also their rights to those ideas and their promulgation. It is therefore essential that all of us engaged in the life of the mind take the utmost care that the ideas and expressions of ideas of other people always be appropriately handled, and, where necessary, cited. For writing assignments, when ideas or materials of others are used, they must be cited. You may use any formal citation format, as long as it is used consistently in your paper, the source material can be located and the citation verified. What is most important is that the material be cited. In any situation, if you have a question, please post it to Blackboard. Such attention to ideas and acknowledgment of their sources is central not only to academic life, but life in general.   Please consult the University’s site on Academic Integrity. The iSchool has a zero-tolerance policy on plagiarism as defined in section B.I.1.(d) of the University’s Code of Behaviour on Academic Matters.  You should acquaint yourself with the Code. Please review the material in Cite it Right and if you require further clarification, consult the site How Not to Plagiarize.

9.       Accommodations: Students with diverse learning styles and needs are welcome in this course. If you have a disability or a health consideration that may require accommodations, please feel free to approach me and/or the Accessibility Services Office as soon as possible. The Accessibility Services staff are available by appointment to assess needs, provide referrals and arrange appropriate accommodations. The sooner you let them and I know your needs, the quicker we can assist you in achieving your learning goals in this course.

10.   Important Dates:  Final date to drop fall session full (Y) or half (F) courses without academic penalty:  Nov 2, 2015

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