Travellab: A Creative Concept for Developing Services at Helsinki Airport

Helsinki Airport (picture from Finavia).

Helsinki Airport (picture from Finavia).


What could make airport service experience more pleasurable for transfer passengers? Well, you could get some ideas as Kirsikka Vaajakallio and Jaakko Wäänänen from Diagonal, as well as Juha Vasko from Finavia presented their Travellab project at Service Design Breakfast last week. Diagonal’s Travellab is also a candidate for Service Design Achievement 2015 in Finland.



What Travellab?

Diagonal created the Travellab concept, which is a model for testing ideas at the airport. More precisely it’s a model for rapid prototyping and idea ranking created for Finavia to improve the transfer experience at Helsinki Airport. It’s also a great example of using service design tools and design thinking in a creative way to develop services.


Diagonal and Finavia presenting Travellab.

Diagonal and Finavia presenting Travellab.

Background of the project

Starting point for the project was Finavia’s strategy to make the Helsinki airport the most desired transit travel airport and to support this goal the Travellab was created. The project started with a positive problem as Finavia had been gathering service ideas during the years and already had 200+ existing ideas for enhancing the customer experience at the airport. However, some help was needed and the brief for Diagonal was to design a model for Finavia for prototyping and validating ideas in a consistent way. It had to be taken into consideration that transfer passengers spend relatively short amount of time at the airport, approximately 1,5h.


Travellab in action

With the brief in mind Diagonal then created the Travellab concept. By using their idea funnel technique, they first started by reducing the ideas from 200+ to 40-50 ideas, and in the end came up with 12 prototypes that were tested during the project (picture below is from the presentation). Another important focus was on measuring the impact and how that should be done, as well as what kind of business cases there could be for future purposes. Targeted benefits were also agreed before starting the project, mainly de-risking through prototyping, communicational benefits and maximizing media coverage, as well as strategic growth target of the airport.




During the Travellab project different ideas that have a true impact on the transit travellers’ experience were tested and the experiences was measured, assessed and further developed. After kick-off and preparation phase, Lab 1 and Lab 2 phases were the main prototyping periods taking altogether eight weeks. Finally, impact on customer experiences was measured and analyses were made. Diagonal also had international trainees to help in the project to be able to get the feedback in several languages. It was very important that the work was done together with the passengers, who loved testing the prototypes. Additionally, Finavia had a customer insight research ongoing in parallel so that the inputs from the research could be used for Travellab project.

In the below video you can see the Travellab in action. Yoga gate was the biggest hit of the prototypes.


Outcomes of the project

The results of the Travellab were systematically gone through with Finavia for their future actions. Diagonal also created a model for prototyping for Finavia’s further use. The model includes the experiences, challenges, learnings and knowhow that was gathered during the Travellab project. Furthermore, Diagonal created a ranking model that Finavia can use for evaluating prototyping results and to make investment decisions. Development work at Finavia is currently ongoing.

Travellab outcomes as numbers (picture from the presentation).

Travellab outcomes in numbers (picture from the presentation).


I think the Travellab project really showcased the impact and importance of prototyping and co-creating with the customers. It was also interesting to learn a bit more how airports operate and how the moneyflows are organized but that’s another topic altogether. As a sports lover I have to say that my personal favorite of the prototypes was the yoga gate and I hope that service will be available in the future too.

If you are interested to find out more about this project, go check out the whole Service Design Breakfast presentation.


Written by Heini Kauppinen, SID Student

4 interesting things I learned from service productisation

If Video-on-phonesomebody had said in 1984 that he had a vision of people watching Formula 1 from their phones in 2014, he would have been considered mentally ill. In 1994 he could have been hired into a start-up-firm going bankrupt later that year. In 2004 this idea had already landed on Steve Jobs’ office desk. And now in 2014 it’s part of our everyday life! In the end it was all about daring to think in a new way.

I was intrigued to take part in Aalto University’s seminar about Leadership in the productisation of services (LEAPS) a couple of weeks ago. The closing seminar showcased results of the LEAPS –project   that had lasted two years. The project focused on identifying and developing open and customer-driven methods for service productisation. LEAPS-project was carried out in collaboration between Aalto University, Tampere University of Technology and Innotiimi Oy.

Here are the 4 most interesting things I learned during the afternoon:

Everything can be viewed as a service

The keynote speaker, professor Anders Gustafsson from Service Research Center in Karlstad University, Sweden had a really interesting presentation. He talked a lot about service logic and that service is a perspective on value creation. The most important thing is to focus on value-in-use, especially on co-creation of value. He also concluded that everything can be viewed as a service. This was something we all agreed with, after hearing that already 70-80% of our GDP is service related. The service sector is constantly growing as traditionally goods based companies are starting to rely more on the service part of their business.

Big change: yShowroomingou have to get the customers to pay for the services

Anders Gustafsson also talked about companies traditionally giving services for free to sell products. This can generally be considered as a big problem. The companies have to make a transformation: customers have to start paying for the services. As a solution to this problem, Gustafsson mentioned bronze, silver and gold levels for customers as an example. You have to find a way to make the service part somehow visible to the customer.

5 steps for successful productisation workshops

Jarno Poskela from Innotiimi Oy had an inspiring presentation about the five steps that are needed for successful productisation workshops:

  • You need motivated experts
  • Create a productisation path by using service development model, that includes organizing, service process, service concept and the resulting service
  • Have the courage to use various kinds of tools and innovate
  • Activity curve is good to be taken into account, as the intensity of action fluctuates over time
  • Facilitation is an important part of the workshops: opening – implementation – ending

GoalClear goals needed

You can make service productisation a success when you know what you’re looking for and have clear goals. Choose the right services that have a strong need in the market for productisation.

For further information, please see the presentation material here (mostly in Finnish). You can also visit the web site of LEAPS-project’s handbook for productisation of services (in Finnish) for ideas and thoughts.

Written by Marja Roine, Master’s Degree Student (Customer-oriented Service Development)

Building Mobile Wallet Pivo

The series in the Service Design Breakfast (#SDA15) continued with an exciting topic on November 5th, when OP-Pohjola, the largest national bank in Finland, and design company Nordkapp presented how they designed and developed the Mobile Wallet Pivo – one of the most successful banking applications in Finland.

Pivo Wallet has an intuitive and simple UI.

Pivo Wallet has an intuitive and simple UI.

What is Pivo?

Pivo is a digital wallet application for smart phones. With an intuitive and simple UI, it offers an easy way for customers to glance at their account balance, while simultaneously viewing their purchase history and an estimate for future spending based on their buying habits. It helps customers to be in control of their daily spending and to know what they can afford. Pivo has also integrated loyalty programs into the service offering, such as PINS and Cityshoppari, enabling the customer to find offers and coupons based on their interest and location. Thus, Pivo is a platform for mobile payments, focusing on the purchase moment, before and after the actual payment. The aim has been to develop one common brand for other partners and banks to build on.

Continuous feedback from the customers

A Lean UX design process was used to develop Pivo Wallet, with the continuous circle of thinking, iterating and measuring. Customers have been involved throughout the entire design process. Actually they were involved already before the concrete concept was defined. Feedback was asked from customers based on a vague idea using a video prototype communicating the concept thinking. A lot of qualitative and quantitative user research was made already in the beginning of the process. The hypotheses were validated with interviews, demos, usability tests as well as private alpha and public beta tests. Pivo also has an active user base providing continuous feedback and improvement ideas via Facebook, Twitter and email.

Lean UX process was used to develop Pivo Wallet.

Lean UX design process was used to develop Pivo Wallet.

The UI is the actual product

The design process had an articulated vision from the beginning. Mood boards were used to capture the visual look and feel for clean, minimalistic and modern UI. The goal was to do one thing well. It was interesting to hear that inspiration and analogies were searched from other mobile applications that usually have excellent UIs, such as weather applications.

There were four elements chosen as design attributes for the UI development:

  • Well designed (simple, minimalistic, modern)
  • Human (e.g. personalized greetings)
  • Intelligent (e.g. estimate the future spending)
  • Credible (reliability for a bank application)
Simple, minimalistic and intuitive UI has been the core of designing Pivo Wallet.

Simple, minimalistic and intuitive UI has been the core of designing Pivo Wallet.

Pivo Wallet has been very successful. Since its launch in May 2013 there has been over 350 000 downloads. 33% of the users open Pivo every day and 66% on a weekly basis. The average rating for Pivo Wallet in iTunes app store is 4,5/5. Pivo Wallet also won a Reddot Award for communication design in 2014.

More information about the Pivo #SDA15 presentation can be found at Slideshare and Pivo Wallet website.

Susanna Turunen, Laurea SID 2014 student

Making of Pivo, the Mobile Wallet

The Service Design Achievement presentations continued at Nordkapp’s office as Sami Niemelä, Creative Director, from Nordkapp and Jussi Juntunen, Service Designer, from OP-Pohjola presented the story of Pivo, the Finnish mobile wallet application. The other parties included in the Pivo project were N2 marketing, and Toinen Phd media agency.

Jussi started by introducing the Pivo team that is located in Oulu, Finland. It was interesting to notice how much the team had grown since the start of the project. Jussi continued by telling a little bit of background of the Pivo. OP-Pohjola, the largest national bank in Finland, had noticed that there is a need for a Finnish mobile wallet and they wanted to create it themselves before a global competitor steps in. They also wanted to separate the new resulting brand from the OP-Pohjola brand, so they needed to create a new brand from the start as well. This was because OP wanted the app to be expanded to other banks. The aim was to create a personal financing application that offers a beautiful and effortless way to follow and understand daily consumption, and tap into various offers and loyalty programs at once.


Sami and Jussi presenting the story of Pivo app.

Sami and Jussi presenting the story of Pivo app.

In the beginning of the project the OP’s Pivo team had free hands to start developing the app and they started to try things out, making prototypes and interviewing people. From the very start the team had a common understanding of the vision based on a moodboard that Jussi had made. They had decided to make the coolest app in Finland. They came up with the idea of “Am I broke?” -concept, which meant basically a quick glance to one’s finances in the form of a graph in the app. To build the Pivo app flat design was used.

Nordkapp then stepped in somewhere in the middle of the project. The intense development time was approximately 7-9 months. Sami from Nordkapp talked about LEAN design and the importance of iteration, but reminded also about the “over iteration” that could possibly happen. At some point you just have to make decisions. With the brand name, for example, they came up with different name ideas like Lompsa before Pivo was chosen. A brand workshop was also held and they conceived four different brand attributes describing the brand. These attributes were; well designed, human, intelligent and credible.

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Seamless Service Productisation

What is productisation of services? How to make services seem vivid? What is service innovation? These were some of the questions to be answered in a half day seminar I took part in at Aalto University, Otaniemi a couple of weeks ago.

The seminar was opened by Miia Martinsuo, Professor from Tampere University of Technology. The seminar’s purpose was to go through the results from the LEAPS (Leadership in the Productisation of Services) –project, which Miia introduced in her opening speech. LEAPS -project aimed at understanding service productisation and productisation processes as common learning and development platform for service personnel, management, and customers. The project’s goal was to identify leadership models that support such processes. The project lasted 3 years (2012-2014) and was mainly funded by TEKES Serve –programme. The partners included were Elisa, LähiTapiola, Innotiimi and QPR Software. Miia also shortly talked about what seamless service productisation and vivid services mean by using metaphors of knitting a seamless pullover and how the material of the pullover seems vivid.

Katriina Järvi presenting at the service productisation seminar.

Katriina Järvi presenting at the service productisation seminar.

A Journey to Seamless Service Productisation

Next Katriina Järvi, Project Manager from Aalto University, opened up the subject of seamless productisation of services. She explained how to weave seamless services from many different viewpoints by taking us through a journey, or hike, to seamless productisation. Katriina explained that getting ready for the seamless productisation of services is just like preparing for a hike and you first have to start raising your fitness level in order to reach your goal. While getting fit, you have to consider what to pack in your backpack and create a common understanding of the goal. The productisation process is a planned but flexible process. Katriina instructed to pack at least the following ingredients in your backpack.

  • The first take away to be packed is the two levels of the service productisation; external and internal. External productisation is the part that is visible to customers and internal productisation includes for example the internal processes and responsibilities and how those are implemented.
  • Secondly you have to remember that it’s not always simple and easy. There are risks and challenges to be taken into account. People are different so there has to be room for customization. You should also practice co-creation.
  • Third take away is the service concept including service promise, process, and resources.
  • Fourth thing to pack in your back is the service procuctisation cycle. The phases in the cycle are; clarify goals (recognize the need for productisation), map current situation, shake current views, form a common vision, and assess and simulate end result.

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Pivo is not a mobile Czech application for finding good beer, it’s an internationally acclaimed Finnish mobile system for tracking and predicting one’s personal finances. It is also a contender for the #sda15. Built around a graph, the systems shows the user’s expenditures and works as a reminder of what exactly is spent and where. Two things set it apart from your typical mobile bank app: its focus, and the elegant design.


Sami Niemelä (Nordkapp) and Jussi Juntunen (OP) presenting the innovation.

Basically, the user interface is the product itself. As simple as possible, the design plan has from the start sought to create something that only does one thing, and does it well. In one graph, it shows what the designers – OP, Nordkapp and their associates – though most important when a customer looks at his or her (now virtual) wallet’s contents: “Am I f*ed?” Also, it gives insight into more long-term customer needs such as “Can I afford this?”. Continue reading

Days #1-3 in my Design Studies

Keep calm out of the box

An example of public sector and design approach.

“I want to develop and improve public services” was my answer to the question “What are your personal objectives to study Service Innovation and Design”. “Good luck” said the teacher and her voice was full of cheer and encouragement – I think. Although the quality of public services is relatively good in Finland there is always room for improvement.

It was my day #1 at Laurea University of Applied Sciences in September 2014 in Finland. The Master’s Degree Program in Service Innovation and Design (alongside a full-time job) was about to start. Twenty-six students from all over the world, full of energy and enthusiasm, were there to learn about customer focused service development and innovations.

On day #2 we started our first course “Design Thinking”. So my aim was to learn how to develop and improve public services and therefore I needed to learn the basics first; Design Thinking (DT) models and DT tools.


In our course we learned that there are several DT models. Tschimmel, Katja (2012, 6-10) introduces five different models. In our course we had a chance to learn more about one DT model created by Gijs van Wulfen: the FORTH innovation method.

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