Designing Digital Services in a Global Setting

International user studies have to take into consideration differences in culture, differences in organisational structures - and also how much funding is provided. So how can you set up international user studies within a service design setting? How can value be extracted/developed for digital services by following a user-centric strategy that is locally relevant.

This Master class enables you to understand the international service design perspective and optimise your own offers, so that you can successfully design services and holistic customer experience.

We encourage the participants to bring their own problem.

In this course you will learn about.

  • The concept of culture
  • Service design in a global setting
  • International personas
  • Doing UX and SD in Latin America - with a focus on local practical consideration
  • Doing UX and SD in China - with a focus on local practical considerations
  • Persuasive technologies for global and local markets

Read more about the various themes below.

After the course you will be able to:

  • Obtain valid and relevant local user insights with consideration to cultural differences
  • Research, write, and plan for international personas
  • Ideate upon and define wicked problems taking culture into consideration
  • Understand the differences in touch points around the globe
  • Develop Customer journeys, Service blueprints, Service ecosystem and Service Prototyping
  • Create service nudging
  • Plan global evaluations


The concept of culture
The value of understanding the concept of culture is that it provides the ability to identify and differentiate aspects of the of design process and the product in a cultural perspective. Furthermore, the concept of culture allow us to reflect on our own condition driven by beliefs and emotions.

Service design in a global setting
The value of understanding Service Design in a global setting is that it provides access to different service design methods and the ability to evaluate their usefulness when the context is global. Furthermore, it offers an understanding of the different methods that exists to empower stakeholders in co-designing service journeys that are relevant while embedding local socio-cultural perspectives. The value is getting a toolbox of service design methods that are evaluated against a global context and a set of methods to use for co-designing global and local service journeys.

The participants will learn to facilitate bottom-up driven open innovation strategies for digital inclusion. And they will see examples of the digitalisation of service touch-points in resource constrained environments in the global south, including the role of Internet of Things (IOT) and Big Data solutions.

Doing UX and SD in Latin America - with a focus on local practical consideration
A vast number of organizations in Latin America are being transformed by the adoption of human-centered design practices. From small startups to big corporations and major consultancies, there is a clear and patent interest in design as a way to achieve strategic innovation and the modification of old models for product development and service definition. The transformation cut all industries and sectors: from financial, to retail to government, to energy and health. This component of the course will draw from the studies and the experiences of the instructor as researcher, consultant, coach, and instructor devoted to understanding the adoption and adaptation of User Experience and Service Design Strategies in different countries in Latin America such as Mexico, Chile, Ecuador, Colombia, Brazil, and Costa Rica. It will be presented an analysis of the main challenges and opportunities for companies in this region aiming to become more human-centered regarding the innovation of products and services. The analysis will also take to the participants to understand the enormous opportunities in this region for consultants, agencies, and companies with human-centered design frameworks aiming to provide services to local business and the things to consider when adapting methods and strategies to culture and modus operandi.

Doing UX and SD in China - with a focus on local practical considerations
The value of the talk “Doing UX and SD in China” will provide insight into Zhengjie Liu’s experiences from the past 20 years working with many international companies on projects in China. It highlights what a business can benefit from customer-focused studies. Insights in how various social, economic, political and cultural factors from the specific local context might impact the success or failure of a product/service. This is hard to imagine or understand without doing an in-depth study through direct contact with the target population or market. It also shares the practical experiences on how to plan for and conduct such a project in China, no matter if it is to understand the customers/market for better decisions or to evaluate customer experience of a product/service for improvement.

The value is of learnign about this is to gain specific information on cultural issues relating to planning and conducting user research in China – relating both to market and evaluation.

Persuasive technologies for global and local markets
Persuasive design has been successfully used to improve customer conversion rates, brand loyalty and many other metrics. However, combining consumer psychology with persuasive strategies can be performed in a more targeted way, sensitive to the different cultures and countries. This is especially important for companies interested in expanding their digital products and services into the emergent markets, as well as adapting them to local contexts. With culturally-specific persuasive profiles, one can drive purchase behavior with messages that appeal to your customers' emotional needs. The value of Persuasive technologies for global and local markets are that with culturally-specific persuasive profiles, you can drive purchase behavior with messages that appeal to your customers' emotional needs.

International personas
The value of international personas is that you understand where the differences lies in your target audience, what unites your target group across borders and cultures and what separates them. You will furthermore get insights into how to or how not to communicate your international personas internally in your organization and externally to stakeholders.


Day 1: 09.00-17.00


Introduction to teachers and participants

Introduction to culture
What is culture? - culture is viewed differently whether you see it from a psychological or a social sciences perspective. We give a brief introduction to the different perspectives. The topics furthermore covers:

  • User Experience across cultures
  • Research mobile device usage in emerging markets
  • Co-design with end-users in emerging markets
  • Research Local UI patterns

Introduction to service design in a global setting.
Service design is mainly viewed in a local setting, but what happens when you have multiple stakeholders with several nationalities, user groups in different countries. Are the methods embedded in service design culturally aligned with those engaged in co-design the different journeys and touch points. The topics furthermore covers:

  • Design thinking
  • Identifying wicked problems cross-culturally.
  • Managing cultural and professional diversity in service design projects.


International personas
Creating and writing personas when you have a global audience is not a simple task and several strategies can be applied.
The topics furthermore covers:

  • Data gathering
  • Stereotypical illustrations
  • Naming
  • Use of personas in design and strategic processes

Planning and doing research in different cultural settings.
What do you have to consider when you are doing research in multiple countries?

Bring your own problem! - BYOP

Participants work with their own company issue throughout the days

  • Presentation of participant companies and issues

Day 2: 09.00-17.00


Persuasive technologies for global and local markets
We will explore novel systems and technologies to augment human cognition and to design better user experiences, in the context of global and local emerging markets. Theory-wise, this is achieved by combining insights from Cognitive Psychology, Behavioural Economics, Computer Engineering and Digital Media Design. Through experience design, we can also improve the way we understand processes such as decision making, creativity, learning and emotion regulation. The applications include consumer electronics, interactive furniture, work engagement tools, creativity support tools and anxiety-regulation systems.

  • Behavioral psychology and economics for nudging users
  • Augmenting user experience - practical techniques

Doing UX and SD in Latin America - with a focus on local practical considerations
Special Session by Victor M. Gonzalez (Doing UX and SD in Latin America - with a focus on local practical considerations)


Doing UX in China - with a focus on local practical considerations
Special Session by Zhengjie Liu (Doing UX in China - with a focus on local practical considerations)


Participants work with their own company issue with a focus on setting up a study.


Day 3:


Co-ideation of the company’s or participant’s problems
Through a specialized process we will address each of the participant’s BYOP and solve it following different creative thinking processes, including: lateral thinking, the “six thinking hats”, divergent production and others.


You are responsible for the conceptual and strategic design and development of international digital services.

You might be a user researcher, innovation lead, service planner or manager, business developer, project manager, marketing and sales manager, customer service manager, designer or design manager (UX, visual design) or IT architect, scrum master, product owners, or business consultant.



Víctor M. González (Ph.D., MSc, Cert. Eng) is a consultant and international expert on human-computer interaction and the design of optimal user experiences for interactive digital products. He is the Founder and Principal at Sperientia [studio+lab] a consultant agency helping companies in Mexico and Latin America to design and create better digital products and services. Based in Mexico City, he serves organizations in sectors such as retail, logistics, health, government, telecom, and finance. He has held positions as a lecturer, professor and researcher at the University of Manchester (UK), Universidad del Azuay (Ecuador), University of California, at Irvine, and the Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México (ITAM) where he currently teaches on innovation, design thinking, product design and strategic management of technology.

Zhengjie Liu is founding Director of Sino European Usability Center (SEUC), Professor of human-computer interaction (HCI) at Dalian Maritime University (DMU), His areas focus on HCI design, especially usability/user experience (UX), user-centered design (UCD) and maritime human factor. He has been working in HCI since 1989 and is recognized as a pioneer in this field and especially has helped the germination and growth of UX and UCD practice in industry in China. He founded SEUC in 2000 as the first research center dedicated to usability in China and led it to become a leading usability research, consultancy and education in this country. SEUC has conducted research and consultancy sponsored by many Fortune 500 multinational companies and leading Chinese companies and funded by EU and Chinese government.

Zhengjie Liu teaches HCI design, especially usability/user experience (UX), user-centered design (UCD) and maritime human factor.

Lene Nielsen is Associate Professor at IT University Copenhagen, Business IT and the leading expert on personas in Denmark. Besides the scientific research on personas, she has created personas for large international companies. These days she does coaching of companies that want to implement personas in their design processes. She has experience in innovation methods and in UX in agile development. Besides more than 80 scientific papers, she is the author of the book Personas - User focused design, 2nd ed. Springer Verlag, 2019.

Lene Nielsen has more than 20 years of teaching experience. She currently teaches concept development, UX in agile and service design – all with a focus on personas.

Pedro Campos is Professor at the Madeira Interactive Technologies Institute, Portugal, and a collaborator at the Intelligent Multimodal Interfaces Group at INESC-ID Lisbon. Pedro Campos has been teaching Human-Computer Interaction to Carnegie-Mellon University’s students for the last ten years, thus helping them shape the industry. He has authored more than 100 scientific publications in the field. He co-founded three successful tech-based companies over the last ten years and holds a patent pending to the European Patent Office.

Pedro Campos has been teaching Human-Computer Interaction to Carnegie-Mellon University’s students for the last ten years, thus helping them shape the industry

José Abdelnour Nocera

Jose Abdelnour-Nocera is Associate professor at university of West London. His expertise and interests lie in the role of cultural diversity in the design of people-centered systems. He has been involved in projects with different organisations in the domains of international development, health, business systems, service design and higher education. authored over a hundred publications in topics related to cultural aspects of design and development of interactive systems and services.

Jose Abdelnour-Nocera’s has taught in UK, Denmark and Venezuela at undergraduate, postgraduate and doctoral level.

Practical info

Time and place
The course runs over tre days in the autumn 2019 at the IT University of Copenhagen in Denmark.

Admittance and registration
Courses under ITU Professional Courses do not link to other educations at the IT University and do not release ECTS-points. Therefore there are no requirements when registrating for courses offered by ITU Professional Courses.

Please contact us if you are interested in taking the course.

The price is 12.500 DDK / 1680 EUR (excluding VAT).

There are no exams, but all participants will get a course certificate when the course is completed.