Humanity above bureaucracy drives results

I participated to the Future of Work seminar which was held this month at Hanken International Business School in Helsinki. It is time for new solutions says Buurtzorg`s establisher Jos de Blok. Keeping old working models and trying to improve efficiency has come to the end.


Why Buurtzorg? Jos de Blok had a long history working as a district nurse and before that he studied few years economics. He noticed with few co-workers that they were too concentrated to different products instead of patients.

Patient satisfaction went down. Many products, divided to activities, needed specialists. There where too many caregivers treating same patient. The most important thing, patient`s and nurse`s relationship could not be built. Patients and nurses got frustrated. At the same time costs went up as more specialists were needed, also schedule planners and different coordinators were needed to keep processes efficient. The middle management was growing because of the complexity. Professional nurses frustrated even more as they could not plan they own work anymore.

Nurses wanted to do their job as good as possible, but the system was actually against that will. The purpose must have been good in those health care companies, but still things went worse. Nurse job was not inspiring as you could not give your own input by influencing how the job should be done. I think that applies for other industries also. Management is lacking trust and thinking control is the answer to lead people. But control is not driving intrinsic motivation that leads to passion and totally different work spirit and productiveness.

Buurtzorg started 2007 with one team and has grown since that to 800 independed self-directed teams without managers. All employees are trusted and respected professionals. One team consists of max 12 nurses. Teams organize and are responsible for the entire process. Most of the nurses are generalists, so it is easy for the teams to plan themselves nursing/medical and social care. There are no products client needs to buy separately. The care is planned with the client. Nurses are concentrating to the client in a holistic way meaning to the patient`s illness and empathy needs and how to support her/him and help possible family members/volunteers to understand patient situation and how they can help. Patient needs to feel secure, so trust is important.

Client satisfaction results have been excellent. Nurses are motivated as they can plan how they treat different patients and how long it takes. They are in control of they own work and may built meaningful relationships with their clients. Cost structure is lower from average as middle management is not needed. There is more money left for the care itself and for innovation. Nurses, that do the job, are fairly paid. I see this as a win-win-win formula.

Teams have support they need. Teams may hire coach if they need help in cases they cannot solve themselves. At the moment there is 15 coaches available. The back office consists of 45 people which pay salaries to nurses and take care of the invoicing of the clients. There is not any schedule planners or other middle level managers. Teams take care of planning the work, hiring the nurses, the education and also the finance of the team. Everything is in ICT system, which has been made with the nurses. Simply and transparent system is easy to use and always with you. Production is not monitored, but outcome is by team members themselves. Different teams share they thoughts, innovation ideas and problems in a common web-community which is also an e-learning environment. Best ideas spread naturally. Teams feel they are autonomous, but still part of Buurtzorg and sharing the same values.

Buurtzorg vision

Buurtzorg wants to support the independence of the client by empowering patient with formal and informal networks, which latter are much more important. Buurtzorg`s teams are making this all possible. Buurtzorg`s principles are:

NEEDING = do what is needed and leave other things away

RETHINKING = reflect what you are doing and try to do better if you think you are not doing best you can

COMMON SENSE = use your common sense

Buurtzorg is great example of organisation which has succeeded without managers and bureaucracy. Of course it is much easier when you start from the scratch. The organisation do not have old habits, procedures and hierarchic structure that may prevent the change to happen. Working in Buurtzorg you get lot of freedom, but also responsibility. Nurses that are proactive, willing to improve themselves and always open for new ways of doing things are more suitable for self-directed teams than those that want somebody else to say what they need to do and just do the job they are told. So Buurtzorg does not suite for everybody.

If you are interested for new ways of organizing work take a look e.g. Fredric Laloux’s book Reinventing Organizations and Dr. Sharda Nandram`s , who studied deeply Buurtzorg organization, book called Organizational Innovation by Integrating Simplification.

If there is a will, there is a chance to make it happen.

Written by Marjukka Rantala – Laurea, Helsinki, Finland

TOMORROW is being made today

Tomorrow conference

Tomorrow conference was held at Helsinki music centre on 10th of June 2015.

I as a student had the privilege to attend to this thought-provoking and networking event with world-class speakers from diverse fields. Thanks to Lauri Ahonen, the event organizer and the front seat guests that made the participation for students possible.

For those of you that where not able to participate, I share some of the messages from few of the speakers.


Pekka Haavisto, a Green member of Finnish Parliament and Member of Committee for Foreign Affairs, opened the conference. He encouraged us to know other continents cultures better by being open minded, exploring the world and stepping into the shoes of foreigners to see the world from the different angles. It was a good message to export field – knowing the culture and its people is the first priority to have successful business abroad.

Nassim Nicholas Taleb, the author of The Black Swan and Antifragile, raised issues like how companies that love errors are more likely to gain in the world where uncertainty is reality. When competition is everywhere the least expected happenings, the side-effects, can more often be the ones that lead to new business. Those that concentrate to lowering risks are also lowering their variability which means in the long run that their are dropping they ability to survival. Too centralized big countries, companies or projects are more fragile than the small ones.

For individual point of view I see that being always curious to new things, doing many things you love in life, having many incomes from different fields makes you strong and “antifragile”.


Write the futureTuuti Piippo, the author of Futuremakers, spread positive energy when describing the hero`s journey.

You do not need to know everything, but you definitely need to have the passion to learn. Everybody can be a hero. You need to have the courage to explore exciting things that you may be little scared off. Ask a lot of questions to learn and be humble to ask help. Then you need to be strong enough to go through the challenges in the journey where you are making failures and standing up again and again. I love her attitude.

I think her message raises a question for all of us: Are you the hero, the pilot, of your own life or just passenger?

1 billion gamers from all over the worldJane McGonigal, the author of Reality is Broken and SUPERBETTER, said that we should take games seriously. My first impression where that I do not want to see people playing more, drinking energy drinks, eating junk food and just lying on sofa in dark room. But then I let myself to rethink and really listen to her message.

She told how 1 billion gamers could be powerful resources for solving world challenges. Currently 81 % of people are not engaged with their work – that`s sad and costly. She said that the reality is broken when workplaces cannot engage their workforces. In gaming there is always clear goal. Challenges and learning new motivates gamers on the way to the final goal. And what is important they are fully engaged when playing. The picture below shows what kind of inspirational emotions are involved when gamers play.

Positive Emotions

Jane told about ReMISSION game designed for young people that are fighting against cancer. The study results show that specially designed game can have positive impact for healthy behavior. The second example she presented was alternate reality game that engages to play the future without oil in reality. People told their stories in videos, pictures, emails, blogs, comics and even phoned to tell how they live their lives without oil.

Gaming can be used as an efficient service design method acting as common platform for solving big worldwide issues. Super powered individuals that love gaming can generate ideas that are life changing innovations in the future. How? Firstly it is the power of diversity, the ordinary people from different cultures with variable skills, needs and motivations. Secondly, the innovation environment gaming creates naturally with all those positive emotions.

Collective intelligenceThis is a message to the game developers to sell to the potential customers: the companies, organizations, governments and associations that need such collective intelligence power. What would they like to ask from 1 Billion super powered individuals?

And if you do not like the selling part ask me to help.


Karin Tenelius, the owner of TUFF Leadership Training, stated clearly what it takes to have business without managers and how can you make it work. Making flat organization is hard, but rewards are big e.g. efficiency, profitability and service quality is much better in flat organizations. What is important it fosters innovation, creativity and business development. She warned that change is not easy. It would take long time and need fully committed leaders and organization. Open working culture is important: there is no right or wrong, only what works and doesn´t work. People need to feel this is my business. Feedback culture needs to be safe and empowering not correcting. Results are so good that TUFF is actually expanding to central Europe! As an entrepreneurial minded person I would love to work in a company that trusts its employees to do the excellent job, gives them the responsibility and decision-making power. I think that passion is an exceptional powerful growth driver and organizations which understand it and know how to keep it are the winners now and the future.


Sami Honkonen from Reaktor, the main sponsor of the conference, told about their company`s culture. On the left side picture you can see their company values and principles.

They are gaining from disorder which actually gives you the strength and the competition advantage. You could sense the passion – the intrinsic motivation.

Dave Gray, the author of Gamestorming and The Connected Company, encouraged us to draw with him as people tend to remember better when they visualize things. First he shook us a little bit. History is already written and future is still a story, so where can the change happen? Here and now. You can create your future, but first you need to design it and before you design it you need to imagine it.

When reinventing organizations it is good to understand why we act as we act and for what we pay attention. Liminal thinkingWe have our own pyramid of beliefs that are raised from our experiences, theory and judgement. Dave draw a picture of many pyramids with different beliefs conflicting with each other. Why? We have this self-sealing logic bubble, which only accepts ideas that have internal coherence. The ones that we do not understand and see obvious to us we tend to reject. Usually  persons with same kind of experiences are living in a same bubble. To gain something new and innovative you need to come out of that bubble. Staying inside of the bubble means being safe and protecting oneself from the outside fog and fear, the uncertainty. So in other words protecting oneself from the new ideas that come outside of the internal coherence.

Dave told that Liminal thinking is a skill that is important when connecting people and ideas as it expands our way to understand the world, to see and to communicate better. It is important skill as nobody knows everything. Your belief pyramid, the one you think is the ground, the whole reality and the obvious truth can be narrow or wide depending on your experiences. First it is good that you start exploring consciously your belief pyramid from top to down which you have unconsciously built from down to top. After then you can also try to understand how others belief what they believe by suspending judgement and disbelief. When you are hearing something you think is crazy or does not make any sense, you need to understand that what you are hearing makes sense to them. So you are missing something if it does not make sense to you. Ask yourself what would I need to believe in order to think that.

When thinking about Dave`s message it is clear that those that are living in the bubbles and think they do not need to change or be open minded and explore alternative beliefs are those that are not going to survive in the long run. The narrower the pyramid is the narrower your reality and understanding is. So if you have lived all your life in the same place or e.g. worked in the same company/industry your experiences are usually narrower than persons that have either seen the world or seen many industries.  I think companies could benefit from this kind of thinking widely in business development e.g. when innovating new business with customers, but also when changing company`s culture or e.g. when recruiting new staff.

My final conclusion how to face an uncertain tomorrow is simple by being curious, open minded and enthusiastic to explore new things.

Written by Marjukka Rantala – Laurea, Helsinki, Finland

Industrial Transformation

I attended on the 2nd of June 2015 to a Fimecc Future Industrial Services (FutIS) WP2 Final Seminar hosted by Program Manager Mr. Pekka Helle. This seminar had both researchers presenting results as well as the industrial and garco sector presenting their cases. FutIS is organized by the Finnish Metals and Engineering Competence Cluster (Fimecc) and aims to ease the industry’s transformation by research and development in the area a service business. Over twenty companies and eight research institutes collaborate in this joint program with a budget of 35 million euros. After attending to this seminar I feel strongly that the biggest challenge is to turn up side down (bouleverser) the way of looking from the point of view of the industrial needs to doing business from the point of view of the customer.

Mr. Pekka Helle, Programme Manager

Henri Paukku, Project Manager, Customer Solutions MacGregor

Mr. Henri Paukku, Project Manager, Customer Solutions

Transformation starts from understanding customer’s business logic, processes, long-term targets, segments and motives and adding a lot of co-creating and team-work with all the relevant stakeholders. Mr. Henri Paukku, Project Manager at MacGregor Finland Oy gave an example of bottle necks in the container ship solution offering. He explained how removing one bottle neck usually increases the problems in the next phase if the whole chain hasn’t been cleared.

Business logs

Example of a business logic (MacGregor)

Bigger ships have bigger capacity but if the terminals aren’t fit to it, there is a gap between capacity and functionality. Data collecting and collaboration between different parties is extremely important. Attitude towards data gathering and traditional logistic chain needs to change. The idea is to make bigger profit, utilization and increase the cash flow. Mr. Pekka Helle stated that with good Solutions design and service innovations, investment costs are lower, the revenue curve higher and the profit lifetime longer. 

According to D.Sc. (Tech.) Pekka Töytäri, Post-doctoral researcher from Aalto School of Science, it is often the case that customer’s don’t know why they want to have Solution design and what they can accomplish with it.

Mr. Pekka Töytäri

D.Sc. (Tech.) Pekka Töytäri

When deciding on a new innovation combined with solution design there comes the question of pricing. As pricing solutions is not the same as pricing product costs, new ways of pricing through value-based pricing can be used. In a simple way of looking, value-based pricing is the price between the economic benefits from the buyer’s point of view and the costs from the seller’s point of view. Unfortunately value-based pricing is not that easy to define in real life. D.Sc. (Tech.) Pekka Töytäri propose the following steps for value based selling:

  1. Planning
    1. Selecting the target segment
    2. Value research
    3. Preparing value propositions
  2. Implementing
    1. Selecting customers
    2. Building trust and credibility
    3. Sharing and adapting value propositions
    4. Building shared solutions (concepts)
    5. Quantifying value
  3. Leverage
    1. Verify value read and leverage in marketing and sales

Töytäri presented barriers to value-based pricing. According to him the first problem is that customers and seller disagree about what matters, what is important. Sellers and customers should speak the same language in terms of management accounting, otherwise the project is rejected already in the early stages. Whereas customers might think that it is only the installation costs, purchase price and delivery cost that matter, sellers might be focused on presenting value in maintenance costs, energy costs, durability and inventory cost, relationship management costs, re-sale values etc. Having same goals and measures is therefore important in order to communicate the benefits of the whole project. Dedicating people, consults, to educate customers of these issues is one solution.

Another barrier in the value-based pricing is how to proof the value and quantify it. There might reluctance as well as lack of trust and data. Providing quantified proofs of value helps in convincing customers of the benefits of doing Solution design. This proof from the industry point of view can be for example estimates of higher revenues as well as lower energy and maintenance costs. I wonder if Design ROI could be used in the future as a tool of proof for predicting financial outcomes of design. Design ROI is not yet considered as a general tool but it is being developed. It should ease long-term investment plans as it measures the design investment’s benefits and impacts. It quantifies soft aspects of design, such as brand value, image and other immaterial capital.

The third barrier is how to defend your own share of value. There comes the question of fairness. Value-based pricing is a good way of showing, how value is shared. Emphasize should be put in communicating the value and how it is shared.

Taija Turunen, Professor at Aalto University

D. Sc. (Tech.) Taija Turunen, Professor at Aalto University

D.Sc. ( Tech.) Taija Turunen, Professor at Aalto University, School of Business, presented an interesting framework of capabilities for a value based solutions business. This framework was develop through capabilities survey and interviews. Her conclusions for today’s industrial change is that future’s business models connect people, create networks and let the market decide what the customer wants. Three types of open, collaborative and flexible business models were defined during the study:

  1. connecting platforms (example of a platform is LinkedIn)
  2. integrating platforms (manufacturing provider is an integrator as it integrates several stakeholders)
  3. sharing platforms (this can be used when the company doesn’t know what the customer wants, example AirB&B)

These business models support service and value based strategies. Turunen points out that the structure of the company needs to support the business model and the inner organizational measures. The KPI’s must be fair, transparent and motivating. A separate solution design team can be established to drive solutions business together with external and internal network.

After breaking the barriers the direction is from partnership to ecosystems. Different stakeholders together by co-creation constitute value networks. Solution design is a bundle of networks, new innovations and new ways of pricing through value-based pricing. Fimecc is a great forum for networks to develop into ecosystems. This seminar proved its importance and showed me how much work there is still left for us to narrow the gap between traditional thinking and the solution and service design centered thinking.


Written by Eliisa Sarkkinen –  Laurea, Helsinki, Finland

Ympyrätalon apteekki, an exceptional pharmacy

2nd of June Service Design Network Drinks was organized by Diagonal and a pharmacy Ympyrätalon apteekki.

Do you use pharmacy services only when you are sick or have a hangover? Traditionally pharmacy has been seen as a place taking care of sick people. Now the focus is turning also towards healthy people who want to take care of their well-being. The focus is on the well-being.

Mr. Mikko Koivisto a leading service designer from Diagonal told about the process how they managed to renew traditional business like pharmacy.

SDN Drinks

The project consisted of three parts: customer understanding, concept phase and design and implementation. During the customer understanding part many service design methods was used e.g. mystery shopping, interviews, observation, shop-along, customer journey map, personas and benchmarking.

Customers and employees of the pharmacy was involved at the ideation phase that produced new service ideas. The goal of the concept phase was to produce visualisations of the ideas and concepts discovered through research. The ideas were tested at pharmacies. The employees of the pharmacy were educated to a new service concept and they took it as their own. A manual was produced to summarize all the key elements of the new concepts and services. The manual was also a practical tool to communicate the concepts to the other apothecaries of the (YTA) Yhteistyöapteekit pharmacy chain.



At the moment Ympyrätalo pharmacy offers over hundred different kinds of services. An apothecary Tiina Vaitomaa said that the most popular service at the moment is a salt therapy. It is especially common among singers who have to take good care of their voice.

SDN Drinks2Mrs. Vaitomaa told that the key to success is to do co-operation with other companies because alone it is difficult to succeed. Mrs. Vaitomaa is an exceptional brave and innovative apothecary. She advises to innovate and test new things. One of the most important thing is to find multi-talented and committed employees. In the future consume of the services increases significantly and Ympyrätalon apteekki is already ready for that change.

Text and pictures by Laura Rinta-Jouppi SID student 2014


This spring I attended the Futures thinking and foresight methodologies course where Samu Mielonen was a guest lecturer. He is strongly enthusiastic about intuition and intuitive intelligence. His presentation was very exiting and I felt that I want to hear more. This is why I attended an evening event of Futures Specialist on the 26th of May where Samu Mielonen gave more insight into what is intuition and how to utilize it.

People use many words of intuition: instinct, predictability, insight and subconsciousness. We’ve started to notice that intuition has a meaning in our way of making decisions and how our feelings create our actions. Intuition could be regarded also as a key element in service design, as it could support customer’s positive intuitive feelings.


According to Samu Mielonen we have much more knowledge than we understand. We don’t use all our intuitive capabilities. We rather rationalize. I’m wondering, how to combine intuition and service design? Rationalizing in services is used when comparing prices. Intuition is strongly connected to quality perceptions and earlier experiences. It is personal and can’t be put into numbers. Could intuitive thinking be supported in service design by trust and emotional factors? As Mielonen said, we have barriers which hinder us from using our intuitive thinking. In service design these barriers and obstacles can be lowered by creating customer loyalty and strong brands. Therefore wouldn’t successful brands be the ones that support intuitive feelings?

Samu presented two systems which we use: the emotional intuitive system and the rule based conscious reasoning system. The idea is that these two system constitute creative thinking which needs both systems, not only rationalizing. The intuitive system is rapid, parallel, non-linear, associative and slow learning. The conscious reasoning system is slow, linear, step-wise, deductive and changes quickly. Mielonen presented also the thought that splitting thinking into left and right brain thinking is no longer valid. Logical and mathematical thinking is seen mixed with creative and artistic thinking. I feel there is a paradox between intuition and rationalizing. Our intuitive feelings might be based on earlier intuitive experiences as well as rational experience but by time these two get mixed and our gut feeling might include “older” rationalizing. We should give more respect to our intuitive feelings because they stem from our history, both rational and intuitive experience.

Intuitive feelings help us in life critical situations and when we have to react quickly. Intuition is also used when catching a ball on a football field, like Mielonen explained. Instead of calculating, we use our intuitive gut feeling. Below is a picture made by Samu Mielonen about how risk avoidance leads to standard results whereas intuition leads to new ideas. Intuition is more playful and innovative. It is merciful and leaves us the space to make decisions that we feel are our own’s. When we listen to our intuition, we are more likely to be happy. Even the mistakes we make, are our own and we can be proud of them.

Samu Mielonen's view of how

Samu Mielonen’s view of how insight can be built into new ideas

So, how to use intuition in personal life? Samu Mielonen suggests the following steps:

  1. Remove distractions -> quiet down and turn inwards
  2. Observe and Linger -> don’t make premature generalizations
  3. Apply and test -> Give your self feedback
  4. Have Fun!

These same steps can be used in service design: learn and study in peace, observe, test and have fun! Intuition in service design shouldn’t be forgotten as services include emotional aspects and service itself is emotional work. The human aspect is there and so is intuition and our own ways of thinking.

We should design the service process so that it supports our intuitive thinking and helps the ones avoiding risks. Customer journeys and other tools provide insight to intuitive decisions and the touchpoints where it matters most. Rational decisions might not lead to happy customers where as decisions made by intuition lead to satisfaction especially if these intuitive feelings are supported by good quality perceptions. I see that intuition is the core of our thoughts and when we notice that our intuitive feelings are right, we learn to trust them more and we learn to listen to ourselves.

In service design we talk much about customer insight. We could start talking about customer intuition, something more deeper than insight. Something that people are sceptic about but what still exists. Therefore service design in its best can lead customer’s intuition towards wanted actions. In the end customers shouldn’t even notice a well planned journey of intuition: it is hidden and feels like things are just happening by themselves even though there is a lot of service design behind.

Written by Eliisa Sarkkinen –  Laurea, Helsinki, Finland

The Pharmacy for People

Some people are just excellent in developing new ideas and turning them into succesful concepts. A pharmacy in Helsinki, Ympyrätalon apteekki, started its services with a totally new concept: The Pharmacy for People. A Finnish service design company, Diagonal, created this concept together with a pharmacy chain of 120 private pharmacies, Yhteistyöapteekit (YTA), and especially with the pharmacy Ympyrätalon apteekki. But all this wouldn’t have happened without the commitment and enthusiasm of one person, the proprietary pharmacist of Ympyrätalon apteekki, Mrs. Tiina Vaitomaa, and the will to be pioneers in new innovative business models by the whole chain. The process has been boundary breaking, and so is Valtomaa. She is willing to try new ideas and test them. The Pharmacy for People has won several rewards in a Finnish design, The Fennia Prize and Kultahuiput.

I got the chance to hear about this excellent concept and its service design process in the Service Design Drinks event on the 2nd of June 2015 in Ympyräntalon apteekki.  The event was hosted by Mrs. Tiina Vaitomaa, the Proprietary pharmacist of Ympyrätalon apteekki.

Service Design Drinks on the 2nd of June 2015

Service Design Drinks on the 2nd of June 2015

Tiina Vaikalma

Mrs. Tiina Vaitomaa, Proprietary Pharmacist

Mr. Mikko Koivisto, the Leading Service Designer in Diagonal started by describing the service design process.

The process consisted of three phases:

1. Understanding the customer and gathering knowledge

2. Concept definition

3. Design and implementation

The first phase was done by interviews, observing, mystery shopping, visiting customers and checking their medicine cabinet, making trend analysis etc. It was done in a very comprehensive way and with a lot of collaboration with the pharmacies. One result from the first phase was that customers desire more services than what is being offered. Another main result was that suppliers had too much power and the pharmacies had become mediators. This resulted in lower contribution margins and revenue. Also more focus on pricing was needed.

Prototype of a prescription encounter

Prototype of a prescription encounter

The second phase was about building the concept. This was done together with customers and staff in various workshops. Prototypes were tested and ideas launched into real environment. Customer journeys and videos were also used.

Concept ideation phase

Concept ideation phase

What amazed me was how dramatically Ympyrätalon apteekki changed its traditional service set to a completely new way of offering services to customers. Some might avoid these kind of ideas for being too risky but with the right attitude and trust in new innovations this concept became successful. This new service concept was also well communicated to the staff of YTA pharmacies. The service concept and business model was summarized in a manual to help the personnel of the YTA pharmacies in their daily duties. The manual is meant to give practical help as well as to motivate the staff in keeping up in the new way of serving customers. According to Vaitomaa the staff has taken this concept as their own and is standing behind these ideas.

So, what changed? The concept is tries to expand from serving sick people to taking care of their well-being. The idea is to motivate people to take care of themselves and their illnesses in a healthier and more sustainable way. Feedback is constantly taken into account and customers are listened. Vaitomaa emphasizes that cost accounting is also in a key role in making the services efficient, customer specific and long-lasting.

One example of the new service offerings is a Well-being bar which serves information, literature, well-being products and smoothies etc.

The welfare bar

The well-being bar

Something totally new is that the Ympyrätalon apteekki offers beauty and health treatments of different kind. This concept of mixing well-being and beauty treatments into a pharmacy environment is new. Also the medical services are offered much more widely compared to regular pharmacies. The idea is to offer tests, medication and control in one place.

Room for treatments

Room for treatments

Customers with prescriptions can choose between quick standing service counters or “unhurried booths”, that offer a more private service experience.

Standing encounters for faster prescription service

Standing counters for faster prescription service

Presciption encounters for more service which require privacy an time

Prescription booths for customers who require privacy and time


A play corner for children

Taina Vaitomaa pointed out how important it is to have multi-skilled staff with the right attitude towards change. Communicating inside and outside the organization is important and responsibilities need to be clear. People make the change and this concept is really revolutionary. Ms. Vaitomaa also emphasized the importance of good partnerships and a large network. I warmly recommend to visit the pharmacy and test their service concept in practice and I am looking forward for more of these innovative business ideas!


From left Juha Kronqvist (Senior Service Designer at Diagonal), Tiina Vaitomaa (Proprietary Pharmacist, Ympyrätalon Apteekki), Mikko Koivisto, (Leading Service Designer at Diagonal)

From left Mr. Juha Kronqvist (Senior Service Designer at Diagonal), Mrs. Tiina Vaitomaa (Proprietary Pharmacist, Ympyrätalon Apteekki), Mr. Mikko Koivisto, (Leading Service Designer at Diagonal)

Written by Eliisa Sarkkinen –  Laurea, Helsinki, Finland

Solita’s service design with love

In stead of talking about added value, should we talk about loved value? How to define, how specific services bring us such a happiness and a good feeling, that we want to use it again? Is it intuition that service designers should trust more?

Solita, a Finnish digital business consulting and services company, opened up their service design ideas to the public in Solita HUB Goes Design event on the 26th of May. This event was placed in Lasipalatsi, Helsinki.

Minna Pinola, the Director of Marketing and Communications at Solita, started the event. She presented the company and how its 350 people are located in Helsinki, Tampere and Oulu. Solita is already 18 years old and has concluded over 75 projects in the past. She stated that their idea is to create something new and better businesses and services with customers, and offer solutions to digital business and enterprise information management.

Service Design Methods (Solita)

Picture 1. Service Design Methods (Solita)

In order to make great service design, it is important to understand the customer and how they act. Solita underlines the meaning of empathy. According to Riikka Pasanen, Principal Consultant of Solita, identifying critical touchpoints and added value in the service process is important in service design. She pointed out that customers care mostly about the brand and how the service works, they don’t distinguish services between digital ones and non-digital ones. If something seems to make customers happy, we should emphasize it! Make things easier for the customer. She presented shortly their various methods (see picture 1) and emphasized the importance of prototyping and testing in real contexts. She also pointed out that service design doesn’t work alone and is never ready. It must be supported my customer analyses and surveys as well as continuous iteration and development.

Co-design and ideation in workshops is common in Solita. They have noticed that doing together and asking the personnel is the best way to commit and create a common memory to all the people involved in the service design process. This interaction prospers innovative ideas. Customers can be asked for their opinion, as Solita does directly through Facebook. I see this as a very open way of communicating.

Mikko Väätäinen, Business Designer in Solita (picture 2), pointed out that amazing service experiences have good service design behind them. From the point of view of the customer service offering might seem chaotic. A well planned concept, business model and architecture makes the service differ from others (see picture 3).

Picture 2. Mikko Väätäinen, Business Designer in Solita

Three layers in Service Design by Solita

Picture 3. Three layers in Service Design by Solita

Lassen Tammilehto, Senior Consultant in Solita, talked about feelings. He pointed out that customer experience is mostly based on feelings, not rational thoughts. These feelings should be supported by positive signals and great service design. This is something rather simple to say but not always so easy to remember. The talk about bad experience spreads like an epidemic. Companies should remember that it is the “moment of truth” which designates the decision to buy or use the service. Take care of your customers and develop yourself to their processes.

After talking about feelings, Tammilehto talked about “Minimum Lovable Products”. The service must be lovable, it is the tie between the brand and the customer. A loved service differs from others. It made me think that when people love the service, they want it to continue, they start co-working and want your service to prosper and develop. I think he’s right, love commits. If you offer something plain, feelings are more neutral which is almost as bad as negative feelings. It is not enough to have a “Minimum Viable Product, MVP” or service which is enough and serves its purpose, it must make people fall in love with it. These MVP’s are commonly created when there is a strong time pressure and an urge for quick results. This way the quality might suffer. Anyway, why hurry, if with a little patience and good prioritizing the service gets more customers? Making products lovable is important especially in the digital service contexts as the range of offers and competition is so huge and unpredictable. When thinking about personal service context, the competition is stronger in cities as there are usually more rivals. Well planned service design brings more results.


Picture 3. Model of a Minimum Lovable Product by Tammilehto L.

Lasse Tammilehto presented a model of this idea of a lovable service (picture 3). In order to win the early adopters and finally the big audience, the service must be usable, functional and reliable, which make the basis of a sufficient service. In the top is the WOW-effect which is needed for the service to be loved.

Tammilehto showed a result by Google according to which the first 50 milliseconds determines whether the customers believes a service is reliable or not. According to Jere Käpyaho, Senior Consultant, digital services should be always mobile or they are out-of-date already in the beginning. Right amount of right information on the right screen is important. He states that “context is the king!” in mobile services.

Services are a bundle of service pieces and a service designer has to be able to make them match in many flexible ways. Developing a lovable, easy, positive service to the right people in the right time is important. Mobile services, feelings and usability must feel easy. If using a service is complicated to use, customers don’t fall in love with it.

Written by Eliisa Sarkkinen –  Helsinki, Finland, as part of an assignment for the course “Current Topics in Service Design”