As Retail Management Specialisation Course Director Yuri Romanenkov explains: “This year was the third time we offered our Bachelor programme students a unique specialisation course in Retail Management. This lets them explore the many facets of a rapidly evolving industry. Creating distinctive, eye-catching experiences for shoppers and building more service elements is increasingly critical for retailers in order to get ahead and stay ahead of competitors, which is why we are so excited to augment our specialisation course with a module on Service Design”.

Service design is a customer-centric approach to innovation that integrates technical feasibility, business viability, and human desirability. The aim of the course is to empower Bachelor programme last year students with a practical hands-on learning experience in how to deliver a better customer experience and more innovative solutions in the retail industry.

The module was developed in close cooperation with SSE Riga’s long-term cooperation partner Rimi and technical partner RTU Design Factory.

This combined learning/training experience covers theoretical concepts of service design methodology and tools plus practical experience in working on a service design project to solve an actual customer experience challenge elaborated and defined by Rimi.

The task involved students working in small teams to develop new designs for the Rimi shopping trolley and improvements for the overall customer shopping journey. Students went through the full service-design cycle:

  • customer research and empathy creation;
  • problem definition from the customer’s viewpoint;
  • ideation and new concept definition;
  • prototyping performed at the RTU Design Factory and testing;
  • final pitch presentations to the sponsors.

The highlight of the experience took place at RTU Design Factory working practically on a shopping trolley prototype with prototyping tolls and technical machinery under the guidance of RTU product design experts and during the final presentations to the panel.

At the end of the module students presented their final wok to the panel, which consisted of Rimi CEO Edgar Sesemann, Rimi in-store digital solution manager Dana Stolere-Rusina, RTU Design Factory Communication Head Nadina Elekse, SSE Riga Rector Anders Paalzow, and Service Design Module Lead and SSE Riga Lecturer Kristina Nadricka.

This project is a shining example of the added value of cooperation between two academic institutions combining their strengths and in conjunction with business, to deliver better value both for students and for business in terms of liking theory with practice. 

A short student-created video about the course: