Designers share – part 2: Service Experience Camp 2018

By Ninja Fedy

sxc organisersPhoto: Silviu Guiman

The topic of the fifth Service Experience Camp was “Crafting delight, delivering value” and it was organised in Berlin on November 2-3, 2018. The concept of this two-day event is a so-called unconference: a highly interactive event where service design professionals from all around the world gather together and learn from each other. This year’s camp offered a lot of interesting but relatively short key talks as well as peer-to-peer open sessions that were organised by the participants more or less spontaneously, on the spot.

The first day of the camp started off with an introduction by the organisers Katrin Dribbisch, Mauro Rego, Martin Jordan, Manuel Grossmann and Olga Scupin (photo below, from left) – a lovely bunch of people behind service design initiatives such as the Service Design Berlin community and a print publication, the Service Gazette.

sxc organisers closeupPhoto: Silviu Guiman

The agendas of the two days looked like this before the camp started and the empty slots got filled by the open sessions:

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Key talk by Maria Lumiaho

Maria Lumiaho, Design Director at the Finnish airline company Finnair, was the first guest on stage. Her talk was mainly about how they built up design capabilities and an in-house design team of 90 designers in just a few years and shared some personal experiences like how she as a new employee had asked for a slackbot being created to translate all the acronyms that were used in the airline business.

marialumiahoPhoto: Silviu Guiman

Finnair has to constantly be on top of different cultures and cultural changes all over the world as the company is targeting so many markets with Helsinki as a connection point between the East and the West. She encouraged all of us to start reading Chinese newspapers and reminded us how customer insights come from “all corners of the organisation”, not just designers.

Slides from the talk can be found at:

https://www.slideshare.net/ServiceExperienceCamp/creating-next-level-flight-experiences-maria-lumiaho (video of the talk will follow).

 

Open Sessions

The first key talk was followed by a call-to-action for the open sessions. Anyone in the audience could come up to the stage and pitch their idea about a 1-hour session on any topic. These session topics were then divided into smaller spaces at the event location, Kalkscheune in Berlin, and participants could freely choose the ones they were interested in. The format of the session was free: open discussion, workshop, lecture or a mix of these.

I will share my insight from a few sessions in a separate blog post.

sxc line  sxc pitch

sxc board manuel . sxc board put

Photos: Silviu Guiman

Other key talks

More key talks were given throughout the camp days by:

 

  • Temi Adeniyi from Blinkist – Data driven intuition and taking hunches seriously (video of the talk will follow)

 

 

 

  • Jay Kaufmann from Zalando – Reimagining fashion and designing at scale (video of the talk will follow)

 

 

Panel discussion

The camp ended with a panel discussion and a wrap-up where the keynote speakers shared their thoughts on current topics in service design. What stuck for me was Hanna Kops’ comment on how important it is to give designers space to do their work. I personally see lack of “empty space” to allow for creativity to flourish as something that is often missing in design projects.

The panelists also pointed out the importance of storytelling: telling about the value you are creating so that users understand it and business people can tell it on when you are not there to justify the design decisions that were based on real user needs.

panelPhoto: Silviu Guiman

Wrap-up

The Service Experience Camp 2018 was wrapped up by the hosts with distribution of prizes and a short introduction to what each of them will be doing in the near future as this event was sadly the last Service Experience Camp.

All the key talks are likely to be shared on Service Design Berlin’s social media accounts so keeping an eye on those will pay off if you are keen to learn more. Most of the slides from the key talks and open sessions can already be found at:

https://www.slideshare.net/ServiceExperienceCamp (including slides from this and previous years’ camps)

and the official photos at:

https://www.facebook.com/pg/servicedesignberlin/photos/?tab=album&album_id=2142090329169408

Thanks for reading! Next up will be part 3 of my series “Designers share”.

 

Designers share – part 1: video tour through Berlin

By Ninja Fedy

I’m on a personal mission: to start sharing knowledge in a more agile and transparent (aka. quick and dirty) way.  My first step on that path is a video I made about a Service Design Tour in Berlin. A first step in sharing insights from conferences and meet-ups that have been stuck in my mind, notebooks and laptop for way too long!

Service Design Tour is an initiative that organises visits to design agencies across Europe. Until now, the tours have been organised mainly for students to bridge the gap between the academia and professional world. According to our host for the day, Kevin Fox, this tour was the first one organised for design professionals and as a satellite event for the Service Experience Camp. Other attendants came from around the world, including Asia, North and South America, Australia and Europe.

As knowledge sharing and personal development seem to be a on-going discussion in many design agencies I chose to make a video about the topic during the tour. I asked our hosts at the tour stops the following questions: “How do you share knowledge?” and “How much time do you use for personal development?”. Watch the video below for quick interviews on the topic and get a glance at the office space of four Berlin-based design agencies: Service Innovation Labs, Fjord, Aperto and Idean!

 

Takeaways and reminders from SXC18

Service Experience Camp is not just another conference. Thought by service designers, for service designers, it is a 2-day “unconference” whose new edition always tops up the previous ones thanks to an amazing selection of design leaders as speakers, a passionate and proactive audience of practitioners, and a long list of carefully planned details that make participants feel like they don’t need to worry about anything else than just enjoying rich conversations and an inspiring atmosphere.

Gathering around 300 people from all over Europe on the first weekend of November, unfortunately this year’s edition – the fifth –  was announced to be the last. Perhaps this was the reason why its bar-camp, a grassroots format to provide participants with an informal space to run their own sessions, was so successful.  In fact, throughout the two days participants held a total of 30 open sessions, alternated by keynote speeches, networking moments, and delicious meals.

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One of the sessions run by participants

 

Before SXC18: Service Design Tour

This year, the conference program was preceded by a day-long Service Design Tour across 4 Berlin-based service design agencies. Having planned a longer stay in town, as soon as it was announced I immediately reserved a spot to discover different agencies approaches to service design and collect insights on how they overcome their most pressing challenges.

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The Service Design Tour kicked off at Service Innovation Labs

 

Starting the day with a breakfast in Kreuzberg, we first spent a couple hours at Service innovation Labs and then moved to Aperto by IBM. After a quick lunch on the way we visited Fjord, and lastly, Idean.

Here is a summary of my key insights from the Service Design Tour.

 

  • Impact beats enthusiasm

Whether we mean “impact” as financial, societal, environmental, or most often as the effect of our work on the client, the random and enthusiastic use of design thinking in business contexts seems to have come of age, leaving room to an increasing tendency towards making sure our service design efforts have a meaning and leave a long lasting, positive footprint not only on our users and clients but also (sometimes) on a larger scale.

 

 

  • The rise of new professional roles, a.k.a. what the heck is a business designer?

Something that really caught my attention concerns the rise of the new role of business designers, which just a bunch of years ago was not common at all. Perhaps due to the two world of business and design increasingly leaning towards each other, not only all 4 agencies we visited have business designers in the team, but they are actively recruiting more! Hence, upon investigation, I now understand a business designer is someone who is in charge of researching, testing, measuring and implementing a range of business related aspects into the service development process (like business models, service pricing, etc.).

In addition to business designers, another emerging professional role seems to be that of legal designers, as in those figures who take care of different legal aspects to take into account in innovation, and that are no longer engaged as an external party as in the past. In facts, it seems like almost all agencies we visited, regardless of stressing their core value proposition around service design, try to build a team of different professionals whose aim is to address and overcome challenges in the innovation journey from many different points of view.   

 

  • Team work

As opposed to the classic consultancy offering, most of these service design agencies seem to believe in building up (internal) multidisciplinary teams around a challenge, rather than allocating individual consultants to project. I really liked learning about this, as I strongly believe that sharing the joys and sorrows of a winding road with someone that has your same mindset leads to greater results.

 

Service Experience Camp 2018

Following the past edition theme “struggling for change”, this year focused on the topic of “crafting delight”, meant as the art of crafting experiences that delight users.

 

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Top 3 talks

Like in the past years, this edition’s content was very well curated from A to Z. Yet there are 3 talks that, in my opinion, will stay memorable:

1) Designing for Future life events  – Karolina Kohler, Lead Design Researcher @ Kaiser X Labs

Having never worked in the insurance industry nor bought myself an insurance, I had hardly reflected upon how different the characteristics of an insurance service are in comparison to any other service. Through her fun, engaging speech, Karolina Kohler walked us through her reflections on how aspects like value proposition, touchpoints and loyalty require a different approach in designing insurance services. In facts, in this context the purpose is not to delight users with enjoyable experience, but rather to provide concrete and efficient help whenever a tragic moment in life happens. And since that future tragic moment is something people prefer to not think about and that, by definition, is unexpected, insurance services are like “buying shoes that you receive yearly updates on, but never wear”, “or buying a movie by only knowing the title but without being able to watch it before the next 30 years”. Through a bunch of simple examples we all realised the design of insurance service runs on completely different premises than any other services!

 

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Karolina Kohler, Lead Design Researcher @ Kaiser X Labs

 

2) How making accessible services benefits all users – Alistair Duggin – Head of accessibility @ Government Digital Services UK

1/7 people in the world suffers from disability, and with an average of population age continuing to rise, it is likely that sooner or later disabilities will affect us – either directly or indirectly. With the mission of designing digital services that any citizen in the UK can use, Alistair Duggin reminded us how solutions designed for extreme users may positively impact other “less extreme” users. For instance, providing users the option to indicate whether they prefer to be contacted via written text only, they not only remove barriers for people with speaking impairments, but also for people who can’t answer calls during the day or that have very limited time to check their phone.  

 

3) Future-proof design for urban mobility in growing cities – Hanna Kops, Head of Experience @ Transport for London

Starting her speech with a blunt statement: “design is not about solving problems, it is about creating a space for people to experience something differently”, Hanna Kops set the stage in no time, walking the audience through a few important moments that marked the interesting story of the London tube. One of these is when the first pocket map of the tube was distributed in town: it was visual, tangible, and it helped people have a reference when defining London’s boundaries. By including all tube lines – from the central ones to those that touch upon the greater London geographical area, this first version of the London tube made people living in the most remote outskirts start feeling like they belonged to the city. “If the tube gets me home, I am a londoner too”. By redesigning the way people would experience public transport as a public space, over time London created a culture of public transport, by design.

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Hanna Kops, Head of Experience @ Transport for London

 

Cool hacks

During the conference I spotted a few practical example of cool workarounds that people have come up with to overcome their daily challenges.

  •  Lost in Jargon

The airline industry, like any other industry, is packed with acronyms and abbreviations. To deal with complex jargon, Maria Lumiaho and her team at Finnair created a Slack bot that, upon request, will suggest what these acronyms stand for whenever being lost in jargon during a meeting.

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Finnair team’s slackbot to navigate through acronyms and abbreviations

 

  •  Spread the news

To deal with complex stakeholder engagement, Frankie Abralind from Sibley Memorial Hospital hospital came up with the idea of making weekly postcard-like micro reports of his team work’s status updates and started distributing them on desks of key internal stakeholders, with the aim of informing them and making them feel like their involvement counts.

 

 

Takeaways and reminders

 

  • Stakeholder management goes beyond PR, a.k.a. design for perseverance

 

In a session about stakeholder engagement, we all found each other on the same page in facing lots of difficulties engaging with people in the organisations where we work. The conclusion drawn during this sessions was that we should apply some simple tricks like inviting people for coffee or having a smoke together to set up a space to communicate informally. I must admit, I was pretty disappointed about it. In facts, stakeholder engagement needs to push itself way beyond the basics of PR to really be effective. Thankfully, later Frankie Abralind reminded us during his talk that no matter the environment where we work, the only way to break through is to be persistent, make and update internal stakeholder maps on a regular basis, and create ownership over progresses by keeping everyone informed. In a nutshell: try, try again, and again.  

 

  • Will ethics in design ever go beyond recommendations?  

 

Two years ago I was sitting in the main room listening to a talk about ethics in design. In this edition, two years later and in the same room, here we go again. For how interesting it always is to listen to different people’s perspectives on the topic, I couldn’t do but noticing that in the meanwhile conversations about ethical design are still where they used to be, meaning they haven’t really moved beyond a set of general recommendations about aspects to take into account. So the question is: will they ever?

 

  • The measurement tension

 

From these two days, it emerged really clearly that nowadays everybody is busy measuring the tangible and mostly the intangible (yes, against all odds even More Than Metrics has fallen into the measuring trap), yet everybody is still struggling to prove the value of service design and having troubles showing that we are actually able to bridge concepts to implementation.

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A snapshot from a session of SXC18

  • Many in distress make the sorrow less

 

300 people is not a huge number. However, the audience at SXC18 was a very specific crowd of passionate people who are deeply involved in practicing and advocating for service design, from an organisational to a a global level. To this extent, the fact that that the service design community might not be enormous, but that on the other hand is very active, collaborative and dedicated was a good reminder. No matter how challenging our journey as practitioners can be, it made me feel like we are all allies in driving a disruptive, powerful mindset change.  

 

(For, With, By) People

How to design work

Last week I had a change to participate to a full day and very interesting seminar co-hosted by Pisku-project and NewWOWCrafting -project. The event was held at the Aalto University Design Factory that was described as a sandbox that is open for testing and learning goals.

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Organisation consultants Annika Ranta and Matti Hirvanen, Humap.

Facilitators, quite skilled ones if I may add, were from Humap, which is a consulting company that creates new ways of doing strategic development. They offer small and courageus experiments that helps organizations grow into great results. Digital strategic development and redesigning the organization’s shared knowledge is at the core of Humap operation.

In the beginning the facilitators introduced us to digital co-creation space called Howspace. It was fast to work together with this platform and it quickly gave us visual information about our common responses.

 

 

I enjoyed the fact that we all were able to contribute fast and the questions were well thought. Easy to answer. In addition to the survey, there was also opportunity to discuss the topics on the go and the facilitators also added remarks and questions to the wall. It made sure that all the participants were actually able to co-create and contirubute to the common subject at hand.

 

Work crafting in Finnish companies

After the introduction and warm up the project managers and a reseacher opened up and explained the two projects goals and implementations. The aim of the NewWoW project is to offer information and insight on how people working in a mobile and multi-locational manner craft their working time, work habits and the various workspaces they use. This part of the NewWoW project will focus on people working at microenterprises and small and medium sized enterprises, as these groups are the most likely to individually make use of the benefits offered by mobile work in a manner that is healthy and safe. The goal of the project is to identify the practices of working time and workspace management crafted by employees involved in multi-locational work in order to balance their own resources with the demands of the job, thereby improving the well-being of the employees and the productivity of their work. In addition, the project aims to combine this information with co-creation methods in order to develop and try out modern methods for crafting work and to prepare coaching materials on the subject matter.

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Howspace view.

Project managers explained that there are three different perspectives for work crafting. Work tasks, which might be the most common one. How much one has work, how demanding work is, is there support, what actually is the work one does. I believe that the two latter ones are less explored topics: Work relations and work cognitions. These two try to reveal the social aspect of the work. Who one works with, how much they collaborate, who belongs to the work community, what is the meaning of work. Work crafting is developing the work through and by the workers themselves.

In the following moments the project managers from both projects guided us through the methods they are using and what the results have been so far. The work crafting methods are often in indivial methods, so it is good to ask how the organisation can support in the process. What kind of collaborative rules work places can develops and what kind of different time structures are needed for the work? In addition to operative time that measures the time to complete the main task, it is also important to realise the time for reflection and social interactions because these create collaborate learning and trust in the works places.

In the panel discussion following, there was a lot of good examples of small companies that have already been doing work crafting. It means designing the workload, workspaces and mutual work habits together.

 

Adapting to automation

After the lunch future reseacher and certified business coach Ilkka Halava guided us swiflty through the problems in the modern working world. According to Mr.Halava, the biggest challenges are in the understanding. We should end the structural wastage and start taking the pragmatic steps towards the solutions. He said that at the moment the change in the work is automating everything dull, dirty and dangerous to robotics so that in the future most essential work skills are in emphatetic interaction. The value is in the interaction and it is important to understand and foresight, This is a great place for design thinking.

 

The last activity for the day was to collaborate in groups and discuss about work time, work space and work habits. Great discussion and I truly enjoyed working with the people in my group.

 

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I want to write forth about the top three learnings from this seminar. Firstly, the seminar reminded me that there a alot of talented and enthusiastic people who are doing research and development regarding ocuupational health. I believe that designing work is important because work changes just like people and consumers behavior. As the services provided are more user oriented, I stronly believe that the work also needs to be crafted along the way. Secondly the days agenda showed me how good tools help you facilitate a workshop and how people can be motivated to be more inspirational. Third, but not the least reminder was that your own occupational healt is important and that is something you can desing yourself.

 

The author Siru Sirén is MBA student in Futures Studies and Customer-Oriented Services in Laurea UAS// Licenced social service professional

 

More info and ideas:

https://newwow.turkuamk.fi/in-english/

https://www.humap.com/en/

https://www.howspace.com

 

 

Let’s Play Participatory Budgeting!

Event: “OmaStadi” Participatory Budgeting Ideation Workshop Organized by the City of Helsinki, hosted by the city coach Antti Sarpo
Place: Vallila Library, Helsinki
Time: 13.11.2018

The latest Helsinki City Strategy sets the outlines for city decision-making in the years 2017–2021. The strategy emphasizes participation of the citizens and interaction between the citizens and the city. Having the foundations in the knowledge and know-how of the citizens, The Participation and Interaction Model of the City of Helsinki was created to guideline these efforts of enabling participation and interaction.

The idea is to invite City residents and its partners to join the development of the City, the services, and neighborhoods by enabling of spontaneous activities and creation of equal opportunities for participation with the aim of creating a positive city experience. The model states, that the decision-making in the city should be open and participatory. Helsinki also recruited 7 local workers, “city coaches”, to facilitate participation in each housing area. They help the residents to participate by promoting initiatives and development proposals, creating discussion and being present in their respective housing areas.

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Participatory Budgeting as a Concrete Means to Co-Develope the City

For the residents of the City of Helsinki, a concrete means to participate in developing the city is participatory budgeting. Some 4.4 million euros will be allocated annually to the initiatives ideated by the residents. Some 900 000 euros is allocated to the projects concerning the entire City of Helsinki, and to the 5 greater housing areas have been allocated money according to the number of residents they have. How the budget is spent, is being voted upon, based on the proposals made by the City residents. The voting age limit is 12.

During the autumn of 2018, the city coaches have been promoting the participatory budgeting project, which really kicked off on the 15thof November, when the online service for the resident’s ideas was released. The city coaches have been organizing also co-creative ideation workshops in each housing areas. To help facilitate the workshops, a participatory game called “OmaStadi” was created by the service design company Hellon.

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Let’s play!

I took part in the ideation workshop organized in my housing area Hermanni-Vallila. Some 20 people attended the workshop, everyone filled with enthusiasm to develop their own neighborhood. After the introduction to the Participatory Model and participatory budgeting in Helsinki, we were handed out the “OmaStadi” participatory game and explained how to play it. We had some 1 h 30 minutes to play the game, with the aim of resulting in 1 to 2 ideas we would then download in the “OmaStadi” online service.

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It was time to play! We organized ourselves in teams and prepared for the ideation game by choosing the instructor, the bookkeeper, the joker, and timekeeper. The game began by exploring “the City Corners” cards and choosing 1 or 2 areas on which we concentrate on ideating. Then we had a free-flowing discussion on the challenges of the areas chosen with the aim of choosing one challenge we want to solve. In the second phase, we had some help in ideation using “the Ideas & Solutions” cards. We brainstormed ideas first individually and then collectively. We also used “the City Residents” cards to open up new perspectives on our ideas.

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In the third phase, we used “the Precondition” cards to validate our ideas with the preconditions of participatory budgeting. We had to choose 1 to 3 most suitable ideas or further develop ideas to fit the preconditions. Next, we used the “Good City” cards to test which of the ideas work towards the City’s objectives and scored the ideas if they fitted the objectives mentioned in the cards. The more the idea was given points, the better possibilities it has to succeed in the process in the future. We had to choose the idea that scored best and was perceived best by our team for elaborating. Lastly, it was time to present the idea to the City of Helsinki. All teams presented their ideas and wrote them down to an idea sheet. The bookkeeper is responsible for downloading the idea to the OmaStadi online service.

The ideas varied from enhancing a playground nearby to taking over an old tram hall for creating community house and to a thorough concept of enhancing the Vaasa square in Kurvi including infrastructure changes, plantation of trees, organizing events such local food market and flea market, starting a community house, cooperation with local businesses, and hiring a community worker (“Talonmies”) for the square. We had such fun!

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How to reach people?

The OmaStadi cards are available also in Swedish, English and in plain Finnish (“selkokieli”). In the event, there was also a group of residents who didn’t speak Finnish. This group was facilitated by a voluntary organization Nicehearts and their Neighborhood Mothers division. The City of Helsinki organizes ideation workshops also in English, but this kind of organizations volunteer to help facilitation also in some workshops organized in Finnish. They said the experience was inspiring also for their group English-speaking group.

However, it can be asked how democratic the participatory budgeting actually is? Who are willing and able to attend open ideation meetings and workshops? Do they reach all the citizen groups, especially the ones with something hindering the participation? Has the message of participatory budgeting even reached all residents? A lot has been done to tackle these issues: the ideation workshops are normally open, but the City also trains some people to facilitate the game so that it can be played in housing cooperatives, among friends, etc. The City also brings the ideation game to different groups of people who have some hinders to take part otherwise, such as retired and disabled people, schools, etc. What can be discussed, is the communication about participatory budgeting in the first place. Many people do not know anything about it, at least this is my impression when I have talked to my friends and networks. So, this is one thing which the City of Helsinki needs to develop in the next round.

What’s next?

After the period of leaving the ideas to the online service, the ideas will be translated/modified into coherent plans in co-creative workshops and meetings organized in March-April 2019. The City residents are invited to the workshops. In addition, the budgets for those plans will be made during that period of time by the City of Helsinki. In May 2019, the voting of the plans will be organized, and in June the implementation of the voted plans will start. The people who have been crafting the initial ideas can take part to the implementation.

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Participatory budgeting is an interesting initiative, and the City of Helsinki has taken a significant step towards open and participatory decision-making, not so common even globally. Can’t wait for the next workshops elaborating on the selected ideas, and finally the voting in May to come!

 

Hackathons as Design Experiences

 

I participated recently in two hackathons, Emotion Hack Day hosted by YLE and researcher Katri Saarikivi, and Climathon by Climate-KIC, hosted by Urban Academy. Hackathons are events that generate solutions to a challenge, and usually the solutions are technical in nature, like applications or programs. It seems though that the idea of hackathons has broadened somehow to include all kinds of idea contests, since both of the hackathons approved of all kinds of innovations. In both events I was especially interested in process design of the events.

The challenge in Emotion Hack was about solutions for an internet for more joy, and for Climathon about creating sustainable food solutions for food hub at Teurastamo area in Helsinki. At Emotion Hack I participated as a team member, and at Climathon as an organizer with minor responsibilities.

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Ideation process at Emotion Hack

Observations on Hackathon Process Design

The hackathons followed loose design pattern as following:

  • Presentation of challenge
  • Inspiration talks related to the challenge
  • Team formation
  • Ideation
  • Group work on idea
  • Mentoring
  • Final presentations
  • Choosing a winner

At Climathon there was also an excursion to the challenge location site, Teurastamo, arranged.

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Climathon teams and mentors visiting the Teurastamo area and food entrepreneurs there.

The order of the different phases was little bit different in both hackathons, as well as facilitation support offered for the teams. At Emotion Hack there an ideation process was conducted before team formation, and at Climathon the teams were formed first. At Climathon the excursion to the area seemed to be considered important by the organizers, and at Emotion Hack Day a lot of emphasis was put on personal support by mentors.

In both of the hackathons the facilitators did not explain a how an ideation process works or offer tools for participants to work with. Also the teams did not have much time to get to know each other or go through their individual interests or skills, which I as participant found to be a major obstacle when working with 2 complete strangers. Of course the time is a very limited resource at hackathons, but I still would have felt working together with the team would have been much more efficient if there would have been time for getting to know each other. Also I think it would have been great to get some help on creating common understanding on the whole process of concept creation, which can be very different for people from different backgrounds. What I also found quite surprising in both hackathons is that they did not include any kind of empathy phase with trying to understand a customer’s viewpoint on the product.

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My team at Emotion Hack working with the our idea: an app that would remind you of things you are grateful for in life after too much time online.

What I liked about the facilitation at Climathon was that there was a lot of time to define the problem that the team was trying to solve, before diving into creating a solution. At Emotion Hack I appreciated the atmosphere with games and laughter, and really putting effort into having a fun day together as well as offering technical assistance with producing a video on the final solution, which I thought was a great way of showcasing the solution.

The winner of Helsinki Climathon was called Winter Garden, you can read more about it here.

You can see all the solutions created at Emotion Hack at YLE Areena. Sadly, I was not in the winning team, which was defined by newsreporter Matti Rönkä’s reaction – the one that made him smile most was the winner!

Future Service Design: Designing Solutions for Systemic Problems

What kind of future is waiting for us service innovation and design students? How service design is transforming and what kind of skills are needed when working in the service design field in the future? These questions were discussed from several perspectives in the super interesting Palmu Society 10 + 10 event organized in Tennispalatsi.

Many interesting points were pointed out  from new job descriptions to how companies should organize themselves in such way that creativity is easy to release to pace up innovation. Perhaps the most relevant takeaway was that service design is “scaling up” from improving existing single services designed for the obvious user, and that it is going beyond the mere interaction of people and services. Due to the shift in focus, also the designing will change.

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From designing services to changing people’s behavior

When exploring future service design challenges, we are merely not talking about improving the quality of single services. In future, service design will be solving more holistic problems and tapping into systemic changes that require changing people’s behavior. As good services are already mainstream (a fact that rightfully can be argued by many), service design in moving from designing services to designing people’s behavior. In the future, service designers are designing solutions to societal issues of larger scale, for instance immigrants’ adaptation to a new country or helping people to survive exhaustion. In many cases, there are no services yet to improve, so they need to be innovated and designed.

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When designing solutions to societal issues, there is always also business potential to be discovered. It is about finding the link between changing behavior, new habits and business. One fictional example showcased how a health care business could partner with a gym and together they create business opportunities when tapping into the exhaustion problem.

New KPIs and even deeper customer insight to support “super moments”

When dealing with more more holistic and systemic problems with the aim of changing human behavior, the objectives and goals of a design process also change. The KPIs should be connected to the change of people’s behavior rather than the mere interaction between the customer and the service. Therefore, more attention should be put into getting even deeper customer insight, when trying to understand people’s behavior and reasoning as well as trying to find ways how to support that change.

For instance, when solving problems regarding people’s exhaustion, service designers should go way deeper in people’s behavior, to go in the homes and dig into the daily life of the exhausted people in order to be able to find ways to change people’s behavior – and eventually find (business or humanitarian) solutions for those problems. Somehow this did not sound so alien to me as a service innovation and design student at Laurea. But I guess, in practice, getting truly deep customer insight can be easy to overlook by the clients as it is very time-consuming and expensive.

The concept of “super moments” was mentioned several times playing the most important role in understanding the customer. A “super moment” is the point where the behavioral change can be accomplished and when a person is finding and adapting a new thought. People need support in taking a new direction, and service designers need to find the tools for them. This will also have an effect on the actual designing of a service. It will be further explored, how new technology and AI, such as machine learning, can be used to support the “super moments”.

Johannes
Picture: Palmu

New Skills are Required from Service Designers

As service design, or whatever this field will be called in the future, will go even deeper in the people’s behavior and reasoning, and new technology such as AI will be utilized more and in more creative ways, new skills are required from service designers. When technology is exploited even more, there will be even more need for people who are dealing with the technology.

For instance, it needs to be carefully considered which tasks can be given for algorithms to solve and how the machines and AI need to be “taught” and “coached” how to see and understand human behavior. This can only be done by people. Even more skills from different fields such as psychology, behavioral sciences, ethnography and technology, but also business skills are even more required in the service design field. Service designers will specialize more, one good example is the trendy “business designer” job title.

IMG_3192The result of voting the future job titles in the service design field.

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The event got me thinking a lot about the issue of ethics when it comes to changing the human behavior. We, the future service designers and innovators, need to be even more aware of the motives that drive and biases that affect us, the design projects and the clients, as future service design will play an important role in making more impactful changes in the society, even changing culture.