Hackathon / Day 2

Service Design Hackathon, Day 2. (29.1.2016)

Friday night after work at 6.pm, raining outside, it is no more real winter outside. I must turn my head in to creative gear. These were the first thoughts on that night before the game of Kiinteistömaailma Hackathon started again. Homework was completed, which was to think:

“Home service ”tripadvisor”– because of you and your home”

We also had to think of someone potential customer for our group and invite he/she for interview to Futurice for that night. Our guests were pensioners, living in Helsinki and Sipoo.

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After cup of coffee and interview our team was ready to start full on working again. This evening´s programme was to search for business goals and limitations of our business idea. Segmentation of our customers and most of all “Love the problem, not the solution!”  The point of the interviewing was to find customer´s needs, thinks and feels. Also to think what suprises us the most!


“Love the Problem, not the Solution” -Futurice


Our service idea started to get it´s shape. We noticed very important thing, future is missing totally on Kiinteistömaailma´s webpage. You may buy, rent or sell your house/ flat via Kiinteistömaailma, but the main thing “living” in the house is not important right now for Kiinteistömaailma, at least this became our feeling.

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Our topic “Service of living in the future – 2020?” wants to bring daily living in to Kiinteistömaailma´s strategy. We want to make new tab called “Living” on kiinteistömaailma´s webpage. When you click “Living”, opens up for customer Tripadvisor looking page, where customer may search quick and easy any kind of daily services (such as cleaner, nanny, plumber etc). At the same time it is all visible how good or bad this service is by the experience of other users. As today you must search separately and maybe for hours good and reliable services to make your daily life easier. By the time you had find what you were looking for, you are already tired to continue to contact such a service provider, which leads you of course not to use ..cleaner for example, because it feels too complicated after all.

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29.1.2016 towards our customers

Our customer focus was at the beginning people age 60+. Very soon we noticed through the interviewing that this generation isn’t very familiar with fast developing Internet. Older generation feels customer service face-to-face much more comfortable and so on we decided to change our customer segmentation. Via brainstorming and asking question “WHY? WHY? WHY?”… we ended up the day 2 of Hackathon.

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To be continued Day 3. (30.1.2016)

Written by Paula Nordfors – Laurea, Helsinki, Finland

Hackathon Kickstart / Day 1

On 21st of January Futurice and Kiinteistömaailma organized Service Design Hackathon in Helsinki. I get to participate first time in my life for such a happening. It is all very exciting, as I never heard of “Hackathon” before! Young creative and business minded people have arrived to Annakatu 32, to building called “Kamppi´s top end”. On the very last ( 8th) floor situates Futurice´s colourful office, full of creative atmosphere. It has been one of the coldest winter day in Helsinki,almost -20 degrees, so first of all I must get rid of my winter clothes before I enter for this new challenge. Few young programmer-looking guys are preparing some cappuccinos in the kitchen area, people are chatting with each other; everyone seems to be ready to hit the Hackathon!

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Erkki Heikkinen, Kiinteistömaailma

Programme started with CEO of Kiinteistömaailma, Erkki Heikkinen´s speech. He told us about Kiinteistömaailma´s strategy and history. We got to talk about today´s megatrends of housing and goals, which Kiinteistömaailma wants to reach. Hackathon is here to help them to innovate and create new services with service design methods. It is here to create something inventive and urban. Maybe it ends up even for “Tinder of Living”, who knows! We all know that way of housing and living is going through some major turning points these days. Aging, immigration, urbanization and community housing are not only trends of 21st century but also facts we need to take in to consideration.

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Risto Sarvas, Lean Service Creation procedure

Risto Sarvas, Creative Director from Futurice introduce us to so-called Service Creation checklist. What should you check before you start building up a service? First of all, “you can´t plan the future, you need to build it!” was Risto´s starting point. “And as you can´t know what you build, you need to experiment, fail & learn”. “Always find a problem worth of solving as value is in the iteration” adds Risto. “Love the problem, not solution as solutions you can always change!”. Was fascinating to realize that this is exactly what I have been studying the whole last semester in Laurea. So this is it- Service Design in real life!


What is your mood today?

Hackathon is working together. We audience were sorted in to groups by choosing different colour post-it. I choose orange: colour for visual mood. As an artist background it seems to be easiest choice for me always. Each group should have at least one post-it colour mood: business, technology, visual and human. Once we were into groups we had to choose a topic of Kiinteistömaailma´s one strategy options. Our group choose “Service of living in the future – 2020?”.


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We talked about lot of today’s technology contra people´s wishes of presence. Technology is taking place of daily life. It has it´s good sides but also bad ones. So we started to look our topic from “how people will like to live in the future” point of view. We figured out several good ideas, which I of course won’t tell you yet :) ! Hackthon has started in our group; we hanged our idea boards on the wall – grabbed post-its and pens. Creative ideas started to fly around our table.

To be continued Day 2. (29.-30.1.2016)

Written by Paula Nordfors – Laurea, Helsinki, Finland

Service Experience Camp 2015

In the middle of November I’ve attended the Service Experience Camp in Berlin – a service design event that is a mixture of keynotes and bar camp sessions. It’s one of those few events that are truly holistically designed – with great attention paid to the speakers diversity, space that allows for meaningful conversation, tasty food and participants wellbeing ( yoga stretching was involved) . Body, mind and soul are being well cared for during the 48 hours. So if you are a service designer or service design student – you should definitely experience it.


This year’s camp was focused around the theme “Struggling for change”. Here are my main takeaways:

Designing “un-sexy “ services 

A lot of services that we use everyday such as energy, water or waste management are with time becoming invisible to us. Most of us probably don’t even think of them in terms of “services”. Nowadays when the cost of switching for e.g. energy provider has been radically reduced, providers of those services are facing a challenge of making their services memorable and valuable to the customer. Trying to create differentiators other than price. In her keynote, dr. Kristina Rodig, Head of Customer Insight & Innovation at E.ON discussed the difficulty of delivering delightful customer journey for gas and electricity customers. After discovering that customers only contact E.ON every half of year with questions related either to the end of the year bill or contract, the company has embarked on the mission to create innovative concept that will keep customers engaged during the whole year. The ideas developed through out the project included: an early warning system helping customers to check the balance of their energy consumption, new bill layout and payment reminders with storyline. Slide deck is available here


Foto credits: E.ON

Service design in the corporation –  how to effectively bring service design in house

 This is not a new topic, what I however found interesting was the visible change of the corporations’ commitment to the service design. It looks like we are approaching another level of service design maturity – the numbers of in house service designers has rapidly increased and organizations have started providing service design training for their employees. Companies that contract service design agencies no longer asked for just a solution, more often they want to use this opportunity to train their employees in service design. As a repercussion this change pushes service designers to become better facilitators and effectively teach project members throughout the length of the project.

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The CLUMSY Manifesto

This text is about not only looking at design from the perspective of care, but also about reclaiming agility for what it actually is. Too often, “failing fast”, “failing early” and “failing often” are nowadays applied as excuses for not thinking things through, rather than as actual design agility where iterations improve the service being developed, and where people really learn from their mistakes.

The CLUMSY Manifesto highly respects agility. It is not an objection, but a productive counterpoint. I believe that the problems underlying the current misuses of agility are the same that systems scientists like Oliver and Langford described over three decades ago: the user experience and the design experience may not be the same. Service Design addresses this gap well, but as soon as it collides with existing practices in organizations, its impact may start to wither. Like cultures eat strategy, systems architecture sure as hell eats user experiences. To put it stereotypically, left brain has a tendency to veto the right in any large scale design, unless there are people present who are adept in both modes of thinking. To foster such processes, the CLUMSY Manifesto was born.

CLUMSY design should be:

Careful. No amount of failing fast will do good if the key failure was done before the ideation phase. That failure may be for example not taking into account existing legislation, APIs, user patterns, value ecosystems, or upcoming trends, or taking those into account but not trying to alter them sufficiently. Being careful does not mean checking absolutely everything in advance, nor a lack of taking risks. It means not using “we’ll sort it out later” as an excuse for being intellectually lazy.

Liberating. With the background research properly done and applied, design is free to concentrate on that which is possible, and on changing the realms of possibility by e.g., lobbying and network forming. Restrictions foster creativity and in time even impossibilities can be achieved. Those who speak of limitations should be treated as a loyal opposition, not obstructions to be overcome. Keep the “Yes, and…” in active use.

User-centered. Users should be present at all times in the design process, either for real or as extrapolations from sufficient field research, represented through things such as stories and personas. Even a single omission can turn user experiences into process flowchart arrows, and getting the real user back into the implied user can be very difficult.

Marketable. There is no point in creating a great product or service if it does not reach a sufficient number of users. Marginal popularity and cult status may feel great, but rarely carries a societal impact. Especially not in the short term – and companies tend to kill off projects that only result in something ten years later. Same way as basic research is not appreciated without obvious USPs, despite its crucial importance in the long run, result visibility is mandatory for most designs. If it is the customer who defines the value of a service, design is effectively worthless if it never reaches the market proper where its value is ultimately determined.

SYmbiotic. No successful design exists in a vacuum. The ecosystem has to be advantageous to the design, and the design in turn for the ecosystems and at least some of their value networks. If it is not, either the design or the ecosystem has to change. Likewise, care and agility have to exist in symbiosis, if we are to create something that is successful, optimal and as user-friendly as possible.

Herbert Simon wrote in the 60’s that design is really about adjusting an internal process of some tool or concept to fit the outside reality. As service and user experience designers we are particularly well equipped in both tools and perspectives to be able to facilitate such alignment. Let us thus be agile and clumsy at the same time. Humans usually are, and that’s for whom we are designing.

J. Tuomas Harviainen
(The author teaches business science and information systems, holds a Ph.D. from the University of Tampere, and is a recent graduate of the Laurea SID MBA program.)

Bringing big data back to the customers

The amount of digital trace we leave behind us every day is no doubt already large, growing and increasingly unstructured. In other words, it is big, as Big Data term proponents like to say. At the same time humans have a need to create information, knowledge, understanding and wisdom out of any data (Ackoff 1989, Rowley 2007, Bellinger et al 2015), big or small. Luckily, technology which enables us to do it at scale is there. So things seem to be all right and a lot of value seems to be generated on a daily basis. But is it really so? In search for fresh answers I attended the Aalto Digital breakfast on Big Data in the Industry where data experts from Yle, Smartly, M-Brain, Supercell and Tieto presented their uses of Big Data to create value for their customers.

It is everywhere, and the companies benefit from it

Based on Rossi et al (2015) big data has found its applications in nearly every field of business (see Figure 1) through digitalization of services. An example is gaming industry which remains the frontrunner with using the data to figure out who, when, where and how is playing their games. Another example are media and retail industry which are finding out which content the customers are likely to like and purchase next based on their earlier preferences. Further example is market and media intelligence which uses massive datasets to identify trends and assist and simplify decision making within companies.

Big data in business and society

Big data in business and society (Vakkuri 2015, Digi Breakfast on Big Data in the Industry)

It therefore appears that both businesses and end-user customers benefit and realize value from Big Data, big time. Business users mostly benefit by being able to more precisely target their offers to customers that are most likely to (dis)engage, or validate whether the existing offer has sufficient engagement. End customers eventually benefit from the offer that might best fit their own aspirations and needs. Most use cases are, however, still largely business driven. It is still not that often that end customers fully consciously give up their digital-trace in order to be offered tailored data products and services. The general feeling is still that of companies being in the driver position and end customers merely following them. This does not look like co-creating value with the customer but still very much trading goods for money. Humans’ behavior is considered to be mere sequence of numbers, and a lot of them. The general focus is on quantity of data since it gives sufficient statistical significance. The assumption is thereby that humans are statistically predictable creatures, which will behave the same in the future as they have behaved in the past. But is that really true? It is almost commonly accepted that most of the human decisions are based on emotions at least as much as on facts and numbers.

But how to really bring it back to the customer?

While being powerful, Big Data analytics technologies still seem to mostly generate information and at best knowledge, at least based on definitions of Ackof (1989). They seldom stretch to answer the question of “why (does the customer behave like she behaves)“, based on pure numerical data. The data which, when brought together, could eventually answer these questions is locked into corporate silos. As suggested by Vakkuri (2015) efforts similar to data.gov and Helsinki Region Infoshare could be extended nationwide to bridge this gap. Even if available, in order to answer the “why” question a lot depends on the domain knowledge and intuition of a data scientist. As summarized by Valtonen et al (2015), the huge amounts of data can be analyzed automatically to generate information and knowledge which gets outdated fast, but it is still human touch that is needed to make sense of it and turn it into longer lasting wisdom.

Some of the key skills to reach to level of information and knowledge mentioned by Rossi et al (2015) are statistics, scripting, software development, parallel computation platforms, presentation skills and last, but not least, domain knowledge. While these may be sufficient to communicate with the customer indirectly, i.e. through data, one has to remember that the gained insights are thereby bound to be “thin”. In order to collect “thick” data and get to the level of wisdom one requires ethnographic research methods as well (Madsbjerg & Rasmussen, M.B. 2014). This still seems to remain out of the big data scientist toolkit, without obvious reason.

The customers nowadays offer their digital existence to businesses, and pretty much for free. But is their story understood by the businesses? Are customers getting in return what they really value? We might be just a conversation away from finding out.


Rossi A., Ojala M., Kärkäs P., Valtonen K., Vakkuri M. Digi Breakfast on Big Data in the Industry, http://digi.aalto.fi/en/aalto_digi_strenghts/data_science/, Accessed on 14.Dec.2015

Ackoff, R. L. 1989. “From Data to Wisdom”, Journal of Applies Systems Analysis, Volume 16, 1989 p 3-9.

Rowley J. 2007. The wisdom hierarchy: representations of the DIKW hierarchy, Journal of Information Science, 2007, 33(2), p 163-180

Bellinger G, Castro D., Mills A. 2015. Data, Information, Knowledge and Wisdom, http://www.systems-thinking.org/dikw/dikw.htm, Accessed on 14. Dec. 2015

Madsbjerg, C., Rasmussen, M.B. 2014, The Power Of “Thick” Data, http://www.redassociates.com/press-1/2015/8/18/wall-street-journal-the-power-of-thick-data, Accessed on 11.Dec.2015

A service perspective on being born too soon

An estimated 15 million babies are born too soon every year. Preterm birth rates increase globally and affect rich countries as much as poor countries. USA, for example is one of the ten countries with the highest numbers of preterm births. The burden of preterm birth is substantial: According to a global rapport from the WHO, 1.1million babies die from preterm birth complications every year (Howson et al. 2012). However, the same WHO report suggests that over 75% of death of preterm birth can be prevented through feasible, cost-effective solutions including the Kangaroo Care method.

Applied Kangaroo Care, foto by Lærdal

The Kangaroo Care (KC) method is proven to have significant positive effects on both survival, growth, development and long term development of preterm infants in addition to parent-child-bonding and stress reduction (Conde-Agudelo and Belizán 2011). It is provided through parents (or substitutes) and with the support of health workers undertaken in neonatal intensive care units. Skin-to-skin contact in chest-to-chest position on the parents´s breast is providing the infant with the warmth that the little body cannot yet hold or produce itself. In addition, the infant is experiencing continuous stimulation through the parent´s own gentile body activity like the sound of the heartbeat, lung activity motion or voice.

The challenge

I felt this current topic was definitely worth spending my theses time and effort on. Even more, when I found out about the big gap between the high potential of the method and today’s actual implementation rate, as is shown in figure 2. What is the reason for bad acceptance and how can implementation be increased?

The KC implementation gap

Design / Methodology 

The main purpose of the thesis was to identify opportunities for scaling up Kangaroo Care (KC) method based on the five principles of service design defined by Stickdorn et al.(2010) I had chosen to apply design thinking methodology on 2 distinct settings, low resource settings and developed settings. The research question was explored through different workshops with experts and main user groups, covering various qualitative design tools as shown in the illustration of the design process in figure 3. The findings were analyzed on the background of the theoretical framework covering the research questions and the topic of value co-creation.

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I had a great time at the Aalto Service Factory (ASF) that held its final event to celebrate the six years of its existence. To those who don’t know ASF, it is an open collaboration platform for service research and education atthe Aalto University.

First we learnt about the ASF network and its activities from Virpi Tuunainen and Minna-Kaarina Forssén, who held the opening presentations. It was interesting for me to find out what everything ASF does while concentrating on three target groups – researchers and teachers, students and practitioners. It organizes research presentation events called ASF Meets & Talks and events for sharing research that go by the name of Networking Evening Seminars. It has the 300 member strong ASF club, it publishes the quarterly ASF Newsletter with topics on service domain news and the monthly ASF blog with practice-oriented articles. Furthermore, ASF hosts the Researchers´ Breakfasts and another breakfast event called Early Birds that aim to build research consortiums.



Minna-Kaarina Forssén, ASF Business Collaboration Manager

ASF is also very agile in students activities. There is the yearly seminar on service industry job opportunities Young Student – Go services! and Aalto Introduction to Services organise every year. Mrs. Forssén pointed out that ASF is now finishing but the use of its good practices will continue at the Finnish Service Alliance. Check it out at http://www.servicealliance.fi.





The keynote speaker was KONE’s Senior Vice President for Development, Digitalisation Strategy, and Service Business, the amazing Kati Hagros who was previously KONE´s CIO. She talked about Digitalization in industrial services context. She emphasized the role of services in KONE’s portfolio. Already in the 1970´s, half of the company´s revenue came from services. Mrs. Hagros mentioned that KONE combines business, technology and services to create a superior customer experience.

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