As part of their resilience, SMEs should be flexible in business approaches to adapt to the challenges brought by the COVID-19 pandemic and other unexpected circumstances. However, given the small size of their workforces and structures, SMEs are often less clear in their strategic approach. This includes adopting design thinking and design innovation, which is a holistic approach to system changes and process innovation aimed at enabling maximum returns.
According to the European Academy of Design (2019), SMEs around the world often lack an innovation culture. Compared to global giants such as Amazon, SpaceX, Apple, and Salesforce, which possess the resources for highly evolved innovation cultures, average SMEs have much fewer resources and therefore feel less compelled to promote innovation. 
Service design thinking, however, is not the sole purview of large global companies. The principles, methodologies, and tools of service design thinking are applicable to small enterprises. Developing the appropriate service design thinking tools for SMEs will therefore enable the creation of innovation cultures that are essential for the continued growth and sustainable operations of SMEs. This e-learning course will introduce the participants to the key concepts, benefits, and applications of service design thinking to optimize the profitability and business sustainability of SMEs across APO member countries.

This course has the following objectives.

1) Introduce the concepts, tools, and methodologies of service thinking for SMEs.

2) Enhance the adoption of service-thinking approaches in SME operations.

3) Examine future trends in service thinking and their application for the business sustainability and productivity of SMEs.

Module 1: Introduction to service thinking: Benefits to SMEs

Module 2: Essential service-thinking concepts and applications for SME operations

Module 3: Case studies I: Service thinking in the food and beverage industry

Module 4: Case studies II: Service thinking in the hospitality and tourism industry

Module 5: Future trends in service thinking and service design for SMEs

Final examination

Course Duration in Hours: 30 hours
Skill Level: Beginner
Upcoming Course: No
New Course: Yes