Better service for elderly people – Global Service Jam 2015 challenge


The Global Service Jam is a non-profit volunteer event organized by an informal network of service design enthusiasts. The Jam has a staff of none and a budget of nearly nothing. Amazing! I heard about the Jam when I started my MBA studies in Services Innovation and Design Programme at Laurea University of Applied Sciences. And in 2015 I was able to join this inspiring activity!

The secret theme was revealed globally on Friday Feb 27 at 6.30pm (local time)… The ideation began immediately and the theme was.. not known!  See the starting video here. For me it took some time to realize that we don’t actually have a theme. We were divided in groups. Members of each group got empty A4 papers, one for each person. Then you were asked to fold up the paper to 8 segments and to write one challenge to every segment. When that was done, you handed over your ideas to a person next to you. Everyone shared three stars for the ideas on the paper and handed the paper over again to the next person.. That continued until you got your own paper back, and shared three stars to your own ideas. It was possible to give all the stars to one idea, or share the three stars between the eight ideas. Finally, we counted the stars given to each challenge and picked up the ideas with the most of stars. We grouped those ideas and decided what the challenge we want to get grips with is.

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The focus of Global Service Jam this year was on prototyping and a key jam philosophy was “doing, not talking”. Global Service Jam lasted 48 hours and it is a long time to do team work. If we noticed that we are stuck and the planning is not going forward, we took the main philosophy do, not talk into the use again. We concentrated more on doing, and suddenly noticed that our project work started to be productive again.

Our team was interested in studying services available for elderly people in Finland. These days all the services go online and many aged persons don’t know how to use computers. Loneliness is also a growing problem among older people. Personal contacts get limited in this online world.

Our team consisted of four persons. Marja is Finnish, I’m also Finnish. Ecaterina (Cathy) was from Romania and Catherine from Kenya. We decided to study user experiences, so went to Leppävaara Espoo to interview people on the street. Catherine and I were a pair, and Marja and Cathy another pair. We discussed with people about this topic and it was interesting to notice that people were willing to talk – even in Finland, where people don’t normally open up to strangers on the street. This also showed how important this topic was. Younger people talked about their grandparents who need help with online services. Middle-aged people discussed about their parents, and of course we talked with elderly people as well.


What we learnt: We found out that people over 70 don’t typically use computers, and they don’t even want to learn. Sometimes children and/or grandchildren help but they may live far way. Companies and supervisors (so-called trustees) are not trusteed. Elderly people believed that banks will offer services for them in the future too, but personal services get more expensive all the time. Trustworthy parties are libraries, banks and public service points (yhteispalvelupiste in Finnish). Major problem is that all the gadgets like mobile phones get more technical year by year. Devices get smaller. If you call for example to a health care service number, and an answerphone asks you to press number one and then a # key, that can be difficult if you don’t see well, or you cannot hear well.

We created a persona, Annikki 80 years old, who was a person we wanted to plan for.


And empathy map helped us to develop a service concept further.


I want to thank mentors who volunteered to help teams in a service development work. All you needed to do was to press the rubber chicken and the help was there.

In case of emergency

Based on the feedback we received by interviews, we started to plan a new service for elderly people. The idea was to found a Café Safe Haven that provides needed services in a cozy and home-like environment. It would be a place to meet people, to remove loneliness, and to solve every day problems in a secure environment (next to the familiar place like a library). We built a prototype of the café and filmed a customer journey video for our final presentation that took place on Sunday Feb 29.


The services could be refunded by government or RAY (Finnish Slot Machine Association that does charity). And members could afford to pay a small membership fee with the money they save when they don’t need to pay expensive service fees for banks anymore.

It was educational and also fun to create a totally new service in 48 hours’ timeframe. I definitely courage everyone interested in Services Design to take a chance to participate in next Global Service Jam! It is worth it! Trust me.

Anne Hirvonen, 1st year student in SID program, Laurea University of Applied Sciences


Global Service Jam:

Harnessing Third Sector for Innovations

Panel members

According to a long-time entrepreneur Anne Berner, Finland is facing perhaps the biggest economic troubles of its independence, because of ageing population, global recession and lack of innovation. According to her, we need quick fixes, some of which we must implement right away and a long-term strategy to thrive under these systemic challenges.

I attended to a panel discussion Mitä seuraavaksi, Suomi (i.e. What next, Finland)? at Aalto Startup Sauna to learn more about what design and growth companies could offer to combat the negative effects of the challenges. Members of the panel consisted of enterpreneurs Miki Kuusi (Slush), Nelli Lähteenmäki (You-app), Lars-Michaël Paqvalén (Kiosked), serial entrepreneur Mika Mäkeläinen and Anne Berner (Vallila Interior).

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Young designer from Norway, experiments with using visualization tools and methods from service design thinking, to enhance engagement of previous prisoners and troubled youth

Caroline Chaffin, a Norwegian student who is about to graduate with an MBA degree in Service Innovation and Design, wanted to do something different for her Master thesis. With a previous background from Healthcare and Social entrepreneurship, she wanted to find a case company with a social purpose, which allowed her to work close with the end-users of the service offering. She states that: «When working as a social entrepreneur, nurse or service designer, what I find in common is being an ambassador for the end-users, and having the ability to create real value, for real people. This was a requirement when starting my thesis journey».

Caroline is an active networker and found the case company for her thesis, by attending the Norwegian Social Entrepreneurship conference, in Oslo February 2014. The conference was hosted by one of Norway’s largest investors within the field; FERD, and Monsterbedriften won the title as social entrepreneurs of the year.

Monsterbedriften is a Norwegian social entrepreneur, who wants to help former prisoners and people who have not completed their education, or have trouble getting work. Helping youth who are found among a marginalized group in the society, is an important target group, which has increased in Norway during the last decade.

Caroline used Monsterbedriften as a case company in her thesis, and the focus was on the internal customers. In the case company the internal customers are the staff, and can also be considered as end-users. This is argued by the company’s vision: to help as many people as possible get a new start in life and pay it forward, which emphasize giving staff, a life outside unemployment, drugs and criminality.

Monsterbedriften’s service offering towards internal customers involves work experience, housing, coaching and a family environment. Unlike traditional businesses where the service takes place during a specific time, the service offering in Monsterbedriften often becomes «the staff´s entire world», and they have their own values (Monsterbedriften values).

The title of Caroline’s thesis was: «Enhancing engagement of internal customers in a social business through extensive use of visualization». The purpose of her thesis was to enhance engagement of internal customers in a social business. The aim was to apply service thinking, service design methods and visualization tools for enhancement of customer engagement. The project took place from February-November 2014. An overview can be found in Model 1.

                                                                                  Model 1: Purpose and aim of thesis. 

thesis model .001

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The Near Future of Retail – bridging physical and digital worlds

According to EuroCis 2015 “customers are looking for the ultimate customer journey across all channels”. The 4.0 shopping experience looks “smart, convenient and fully networked” from “at home or at store, off or online”(1). At the end of February 2015 trade visitors from over 60 countries gathered at Düsseldorf in Germany to fetch information from 318 exhibitors on the latest solutions, trends and products in retail information technologies. Myself, I participated the EuroCis event on Wednesday 25th and Thursday 26th. Past year I visited their related event Euroshop 2014, which is also about retail but with a wider theme.

A Tour of EuroCis2015

According to Bell Pottinger Digital (3) trends which will shape our world in 2015 are for example technological such as: Near field communication, Internet of things and beacons, and behavioral such as ‘real-time’, meaning for example real-time marketing. For those who don’t know,’beacons’ are small technical devices designed to “attract attention to a specific location(4)”. Bridging digital and physical in retail context provides a great challenge. I dare to say we have only seen a scratch of a surface on this field. There is room for innovations and innovative thinking. For example beacons can be used in various fields of business and design in a creative way. Let’s team up for futures thinking!

As a setting, the idea of bridging physical and digital worlds, sounds inviting, but according to IBM’s Institute of Business Value survey, explored in news feed of (2) retailers fail to meet customer’s digital expectations. WGSN has interviewed Kali Klena who led the IBM study, according to Klena: “Consumers are having rich digital experiences and their expectations are rising.” Consumers are for example requiring inventory visibility and a personalised communication with a retailer when they are online (48% of the shoppers according to study). 44% of the shoppers wanted on-demand communication while being in the store.

3 service design challenges in retail

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Experiences from the Global Service Jam Helsinki 2015

10393857_741350965951185_8017900955231328757_nGlobal Service Jam is a yearly event enabling anyone interested in service design and design thinking to co-create, experiment and develop new solutions inspired by a shared theme.  This year, the Jam was arranged in 100 cities during the weekend of February 27th – March 1st all around the world.

In the Jam, the participants will go through the entire service design process in one weekend, gathering customer insight, creating new service concepts in interdisciplinary teams, building prototypes and testing the new concepts with real customers.

For me it was the first time I have ever participated in the Global Service Jam. I had high expectations and have to say that my expectations were exceeded. The Jam is an absolutely fantastic event to learn about service design, customer oriented service development, creative methods, concept development along with meeting new people and getting new friends. It is a 48 hour journey, focusing on “doing and not talking”, creating solutions based on real customer needs – and having a lot of fun!  The following video will provide a glimpse of what the Global Service is all about and revealing what the shared theme for 2015 Jam was.

During the Jam we also had inspiring presentations by Jani Turku from IMPROVement and Anton Schubert, the Head of Design at Futurice. The key message from Jani Turku was that creating new services requires you to allow yourself to play, be human, listen, say “yes, and…” instead of “no, but…”, dare to try new things and to be open-minded.

Anton Schubert talked about the importance of prototyping and how everything can actually be tested. It is just the matter of using the right tools and methods. Prototyping is about learning, failing safely and inexpensively, i.e. failing often to succeed sooner, as stated by David Kelley, the founder of IDEO.

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What would Marc Stickdorn do?

2015-02-28 16.04.11

Doing not talking

Just 3 short weeks after our Service Processes and Methods course was the Global Service Jam 2015. What a blast…and what an excuse to bring out the shiny new tools that Marc gave us. I don’t know about anyone else from the SID programme but I was able to utilise both the tools taught to us as well as the facilitation methods.

I know it sounds crazy but after all those Marc Stickdorn heads were circulated for his birthday photo, I couldn’t get his lessons from earlier in February out of my head. That is why I took one of those heads and wrote him a thought bubble. “What would Marc Stickdorn do?” I was inspired by all the Christians in the US who try to answer difficult problems by asking themselves what Jesus would do. It was the same thing (in my mind anyway).

I was trying to channel my inner Marc to have the strength and clarity to proceed through the next 48 hours to change the world…well, that is what we were told we were doing.

Letting go: the theme is what? Huh? Did he just say….?

As a first-timer I felt strangely calm (it might have been naivete) as the process started. The anticipation of the revealing of the theme and the inspirational talks by Jani Turku and Anton Schubert were a great start to the event. I really enjoyed the humour and the ease at which Jani was able to teach us some lessons about interaction and fun. Who knew it could be so interesting repeating 1, 2, 3, 1, 2, 3! But I also enjoyed Anton’s inspiring story of his “humble beginnings” as a mechanic.

As for the challenge…I think that everyone was stumped when the theme was revealed. I even sarcastically joked that “that must be the theme” when the instructions for the origami fortune teller was revealed…unfortunately I was right. What a theme. Not what I expected at all. But it really put us all in the same boat. This isn’t something that one person could say that they knew and that they were an authority on…it was a leveller for sure. The atmosphere when everyone (finally) realised the theme was electric. The buzz was confusion, anticipation…but mostly confusion from what I saw.

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Helsinki Service Design Jam – Case study: Ice to the eskimos

Jamming is about forming teams, developing ideas, prototyping and sharing them with the world. (1) It’s also about “improvising e.g. dancing around the idea”, as our guest lecturer Jani Turku, put it on Saturday morning. And at the end, a new piece of art is born, co-created by all the team members. As a part time musician, I’m familiar with a word ‘jamming’ in terms of music. Helsinki Jam was my first service design jam and based on this experience, jamming services is not so different from playing music.

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Left: Jamming is also about rubber chickens and (right) eating, but more about this later

In music, jam sessions may be based on a theme or a chord, or they may be fully improvisational. Likewise, our service design jam had a secret theme, which was revealed on Friday evening. A lot happens between revealing a theme on Friday and pitching a project on Sunday. Teams form a problem, they go out on a research trip to find out if the problem is worth solving, they question their project, they built a prototype, and finally they pitch their end results to an audience. In this particular jam session, our team created a prototype ‘Ice to the Eskimos – How to become a sales person of your dreams’. An app for retail, to help with the process of inducting new staff members to organization. The app gamifies information flow and it can be used both for educational and social purposes. So, how did we end up here?

Doing not talking

Friday night opened with welcome words by two speakers: Håkan Mitts and Minna-Kaarina Forssén from Aalto University. Followed by the presentation of futures thinking by futures specialists Anu K. Nousiainen and Minna Koskelo from Helsinki Futures Thinking network and was closed with practical issues presented by Mikko Heiskala and Jaakko Porokuokka. The secret theme was introduced (you can watch it from the link below)

Based on the rebus, we were asked to write down eight problems, which were then to be developed further in teams. Our team: Annina Antinranta(myself), Emma Dahl, Mira Kirvesmäki and Xiang Ye (and Katja Stolt who was present on Friday) discussed first about subjects such as safety issues, finding information, written versus visual information etc. Finally we narrowed down our problem to safety instructions. Our initial question was:‘ Do people know what to do in a case of an emergency?’

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In Jams, multidisciplinary teams work under a statement: Doing, not talking. Instead of talking about something to come, one should show a prototype and test it. According to Håkan Mitts,  when teams go out and start doing research, their problem usually transforms to something else. This happened to our team as well.

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