Dash 2018 Takeaways – How to Approach a Hackathon?

by Miikka Paakkinen

 

Last weekend I participated in the Dash 2018 design hackathon. During the event our team was challenged to design a new service business concept in less than 48 hours. The experience was wonderful, so I thought I’d share some key points on how to approach this type of a challenge.

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Point #1 – Keep the Pitch in Mind

 

  • To present a project, you’ll have to pitch it to your audience.

 

  • Having in mind what’s needed for a good pitch helps you define the key questions you need to answer during the project.

 

  • This helps you in choosing the way you work, the design tools you want to use, etc.

 

  • You might want to follow a design thinking model if a free-flowing way of working doesn’t feel natural to your group.

 

  • Here’s an example of a pitch structure that was suggested at Dash:

 

  1. Tag Line – The reason you exist for. Catch the interest of the judges.
  2. Problem – What is the problem you’re solving and who’s experiencing it?
  3. Solution – How are you solving the problem?
  4. Value – Why would someone give you money?
  5. Business Model – Who pays, how much, how often?
  6. Competitive Landscape – Map of competition + how are you different?
  7. Team – What’s your unfair advantage, why are you working on this problem?
  8. Traction – Why will it generate money, how much money per time unit?
  9. The Ask – What do you want from your audience?
  10. (Design Process) – This is specific to a design hackathon: you’ll need to be able to explain briefly how and why you got to your solution.

 

  • Points 2-5 are especially useful to keep in mind during the process. If you’re not solving a real problem that people face at a price they’re willing to pay while also generating profit, your project does not have real-world potential.

 

  • When it comes to the actual pitch, every second counts. If you’re lucky, you’ll have up to five minutes – use your time to deliver the essentials.

 

 

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Point #2 – Have Something Tangible to Show

 

  • It’s easier for your audience to understand your concept if you have something that in a very concrete way illustrates exactly how it works.

 

  • This could be, for example:
  •  
    1. Raw version of an app or software
    2. Interactive demo
    3. Animation of how your solution works
    4. Website
    5. Any sort of rapid prototype
    6. Video

 

  • This separates you from teams that have just a good concept or idea.

 

 

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Point #3 – Enjoy the Ride

 

  • Learn as much as you can from others.

 

  • Be open to new ideas and ways of working.

 

  • Don’t stress too much – you don’t have the time to achieve everything you want.

 

  • And most importantly: have fun with your new friends!

 

A big thank you to Aaltoes, the Dash crew and the challenge partners – see you again next year!

 

 

The author Miikka Paakkinen is an MBA student in Service Innovation and Design with a background in business management and information technology.

 


 

 

Design Sprint as Tool for Non-profits

By Salla Kuuluvainen

Last week I attended an event by Järjestöjen palvelumuotoilijat – Service Designers in Non-profit sector, an informal network by people who work in the NGO sector in Finland and are interested in service design. The event was organized by Kukunori, and organization that works with mental health and well-being.

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Saara Jäämies illustrating her experiences with sprints.

The theme of the evening was Design Sprint and how that process can be used in the non-profit sector. Design Sprint process originates from Google, where it was developed by Jake Knapp, who now has his own agency GV. The GV site has great resources and videos regarding Design Sprints, and Jake Knapp’s book Sprint – Solve Problems and Test New Ideas in Just 5 Days gives a thorough explanation of the sprint process.

 

What Is a sprint?

I sprint, as I just learned in the event is a 5 day design process model that allows a team or company create and test new ideas fast, and within the 5 days arrive at a fairly well-developed concept. The GV website defines sprint as a ”five-day process for answering critical business questions through design, prototyping, and testing ideas with customers.”

The sprint process in divided into days, which all have a specific outcome, e.g on Monday you start with defining a goal, learn more about the challenge and set targets, on a Tuesday you start to ideate solutions and recruit customers for testing, and so forth.

How Can You Use Sprint in Non-profit Organizations?

In the event we heard from three different kind of experiences with sprint: Milla Mäkinen told about their experiences in creating an inclusive strategy process for Kukunori, Saara Jäämies (also a service design student at Laurea!) told about experiences with using sprint in digital service design, and Nora Elstelä, Antti Haverinen and Hanna Jaakola told about their experiences with sprint process when starting a professional collaboration together.

Some takeaways from their experiences:

  • The design sprint process as itself is not very inclusive, since the customers are only included in process in the very end. For example Kukunori took their different stakeholders as full co-creators from the start of their process in order to have a really inclusive strategy. Most non-profits would like to co-design with their stakeholders and ”customers”, so it is a good idea to modify the sprint process in this regard.
  • When co-designing with a non-hierarchical collective, it’s good to take  into account the Decider role in sprint process, who usually is someone in the company leadership, and does not necessarily participate in the whole sprint. Who makes final decisions in the process?
  • The sprint in its original form is done in consecutive days, which can be difficult to organize in non-profit environments. Elstelä, Haverinen and Jaakola had experimented with a sprint which had some time days between the phases. They noticed that in this case it was important to use time in the beginning of each new sprint day to remember what happened the previous time, and use the same visualizations to help the memory.
  • Saara Jäämies remarked that the tools and methods in sprint process are especially good since they allow people to work both independently and in a group, thus allowing for different kinds of personalities to work together productively.

As a final takeaway I really loved the Kukunori space and it’s interior decoration with all kinds of quirky fun ways to visualize their strategy process and different team dynamics – I was a little surprised to find such a cool innovation space in the rather bleak suburb of Malmi in Helsinki. Good job for the interior, Milla Mäkinen!

 

 

 

 

Practise, practise, practise.

Michihito Mizutani from Siili Solutions held a short introduction to service design as a part of Design Track in School of Startups. Instead of inclusive theory lesson, he kept the workshop more hands on. His work history is strongly related to user experience and service design. Currently he is facilitating co-creation design workshops in different subfields such as Internet of Things, augmented reality, service design processes.

I enjoyed about having the opportunity to get hands on experience on different kinds of tools. I believe that practise is important in order to learn design process methods and facilitating workshops related in the matter. I also felt more confident after the workshop. Mizutani used a climbing metaphor to explain design process. You have a starting point and a goal where you want to go. The process happens in between and there is the work.

 

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The content of the workshop was well presented. After forming groups it was time to find a problem, create outcome (tomorrow headline) and between we used tools to solve the problem and figured out ways to illustrate and test the ideas. The problem ideating was well thought: first we all thought by ourselves general problems in everyday life and wrote them down to post it notes. After that we collected problems, clustered them and used three votes each to determine the ones that would proceed in the process. Common problems that got most votes were chosen to be worked with in teams. The reason I think problem ideating was well implemented was the level of work. Having common grounds helps the team to work with the solution. General identification is important because the team needs to be on the same page. In that sense problem finding was a good excerise.

 

Using tomorrow headlines, SAP scenes and Marvel POP for prototyping was good practise because you need to know the tools you use. It migh have been good to have a little bit more introduction to the tools, since some of us were using them for the first time. In order to use tools efficiently in short period time would require a short introduction to principles so that working would be more smooth.

 

 

For me the workshop gave opportunity to also reflect my skills as a facilitator and a member of a team. For example, I noticed that my team members had a little difficulty in defining the tomorrow headline in unison and what kind of prototype we would create. I tried to focus staying neutral and help teammates to collaborate. Some people have hard time to give up their initial idea when collaborating and co-creating. Making sure everyone gets heard isn’t easy, and I wanted to practise that also. It might have been good if the facilitator would have time to see each groups working process more. There were eight teams of three people going through the design process, which is a lot to juggle alone.

That juggling leads me to my key learnings when facilitating service design process. This workshop reminded me of my other course, where I’m currently planning and later executing a workshop. Some of these thing scame from this workshop and others are ideas that originated later. Firstly: timing. Timing is crucial factor for me when facilitating a design workshop. Having adequate time for all the steps in process ensures good results. Plannig tables according to aquired team sizes ready before the workshop, helps people to set up in the right places right away, so suffling tables around would’t be nececcary. In the beginning the whole group also might need support when narrowing down the options. For example  clustering might be done by facilitator to make things smooth. Clear instructions on diffecent phases are important, and I believe it is handy to leave them on display when working starts. People tend to forget easily.

For me it makes sense, that when organizing a design workshop, it might be a good idea to have two persons present. Then you have two sets of eyes and hands to help teams to work efficiently. Some teams need help from the facilitator in order to move forward. Having two people facilitating gives opportunity to keep everything in order: clear instructions, support for the teams, timing, handing out supplies etc. Nothing is more frustrating than running out of time just before it is time to present your results to the other participants. That would leave the workshop incomplete.

More info and ideas:

https://www.siili.com

http://www.servicedesigntools.org/tools/14

https://experience.sap.com/designservices/approach/scenes

https://marvelapp.com/pop/

 

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

Employee Experience at Tieto

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I attended a talk about Tieto’s employee experience this week and it was very inspiring to learn how Tieto make use of Jacob Morgan’s thoughts on employee experience to strive to be the best on the market for both employees and external customers.

Jacob Morgan is the father of the Employee Experience Equation, which essentially means the combination of technology, physical space and culture that create the employee experience. Tieto have adopted this model to create their employee experience, something that plays a crucial role at Tieto to not only to hire and retain the best talent, but also as based on their own research, it directly translates to the customer experience.

This was very interesting to learn as even though the topic was employee experience, the customers were put at the heart of the service. Even though internal customers are just as important as the external ones, we often tend to design services with the external customers in mind first, but should not forget the impact an organisation’s internal customers (i.e. employees) have on the value that customers create.

The Employee Experience Equation in practice

As Morgan discusses, the employee experience boils down to 3 areas. At Tieto, these mean the following:

Technology

Having the best technology in use that makes working more efficient. When new technology is being considered, the employees are interviewed to increase buy-in. Data privacy and security also plays a big role as Tieto employees are experts in this, the same standard is required from the technology choices.

Physical space

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One of the best-known examples of the physical space within the employee experience at Tieto is the Empathic Building which can be experienced in the Keilaniemi offices. The Empathic Building allows a completely new way of interacting with your colleagues from finding their location based on tags they wear (all voluntary so if an employee feels like they don’t want to be tracked, they don’t have to) to seeing which rooms and desks are free. But the physical space is a lot more, there are a variety of spaces employees can choose from depending on what their day looks like (from quiet spaces to group working areas or even areas meant just for relaxing). There is also an in-house Support Centre where anyone can get help with their IT or healthcare, which is one of the key areas that Tieto employees feel is important.

Culture

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With over 15,000 employees globally, creating a culture of inclusion has been very important. The aim of Tieto culture is for everyone to feel included, valued, respected and heard which is achieved by celebrating diversity and bringing employees from different locations together, either digitally or physically. There are, for example, several Tieto Communities where likeminded people can network within the company and learn from each other.

 
Tieto are continuously investing in their employee experience and it was great to hear how they have utilised the Employee Experience Equation. If you ever get the chance to visit the Tieto offices, I can warmly recommend them as it serves as a nice inspiration for what employee experience can look like.

Two different solution spaces

 

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As a part of School of Startups, Toni Perämäki from Valohai wanted to show us a structured way of finding customers via Lean Startup method. The one way of ideating is to build, measure and learn in a cycle. The key question in Lean Startup is: Do I have a problem worth solving? One idea is to make a list of problems (3-5) that your idea would be solving. You need to think many sectors in the beginning of the process. These include reviewing the customer pain, considering the size of the market and is it reachable. Also you need to think technical feasibility: are you able to build your product/service?

Even though Toni was telling about customer discovery through Lean Startup methology, I was able to find a lot of similarity to Design Thinking. First of all, they both are used in innovation processes to create something new. Iteration is a key action in both methods. Design process is always about iteration when building products or services. The Build-Measure-Learn feedback loop in Learn Startup is operating solemnly in the solution space in order to create Minimum Viable Products. That loop is very similar to Design Thinking prototypes and testing. They both collect feedback.

Understanding customers is crucial in both points of views. Who are the customers that the idea would help? In this part Toni urged us used user personas and value proposition canvas to help you understand the motivation and also the gain and pain of customers. These both are methods used in Design Thinking. User personas are based on fictional characters whose profile gathers up the features of an existing social group. In this way the personas assume the attributes of the groups they represent: from their social and demographic characteristics, to their own goals, challenges, behaviour and backgrounds. Value Proposition Canvas is a simple way to understand your customers needs, and design products and services they want. It works in conjunction with the Business Model Canvas and other strategic management and execution tools and processes.

 

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Value Proposition Canvas

 

In order of validating your concept Toni adviced us to think of ways of testing idea before prototyping or having a ready product. Good ways are storytelling and demos. Also used in Design Thinking.

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About customer understanding

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Toni introduced us to few (many) rules that I find useful when trying to understand customers. When gathering information, don’t use surveys. Surveys are too structured and it’s not a dialog. Also don’t use focus groups. People tend to change their opinion due to external influence. You don’t want people to follow some strongheahed persons ideas under group pressure.

Don’t ask what they want. The idea is to experience and understand the problem. Don’t go in alone. You get more insight of the problem at hand when comparing gathered information. Select neutral location. People need to feel comfortable. Use pen and paper to make notes. It it important to document results but having a lapotop between you and customer is not a good idea.

 

More info and ideas:

https://valohai.com

http://www.servicedesigntools.org

https://strategyzer.com/canvas/value-proposition-canvas

https://www.boardofinnovation.com/blog/2017/07/18/lean-startup-versus-design-thinking/

 

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

Design thinking – an influential combination of tools, methods and a mindset

by Jenni Leppänen

Design thinking has gained worldwide hype over the past decade. Its tools and methods are being discussed and implemented also in many fields not traditionally seen as designing fields, e.g. services. Design thinking is defined as a “process of continuously redesigning a business using insight derived from customer intimacy” (Jeanne Liedtka 2014). There’s nothing new in focusing on the customer’s needs and adapting one’s offering accordingly, so what’s all the hype about?

Gathering in-depth insight

Design thinking makes its mission to truly understand the customer and his world. Doing a round of customer satisfaction surveys online once a year is not sufficient – in the design thinking approach you put a lot of effort in gathering in-depth information from your customers on an ongoing basis. In other words, you need to procure and maintain a holistic understanding of your customer’s context, activities, practices and experiences. To truly understand how the business’s current and possible future offering appear in the customers’ context, you invite them to co-create the services with you. There are dozens of tools available – a great summary is the practical “Evolution 6^2” model, the Innovation & Design Thinking Model by Katja Tschimmel.

Evolution 6-2

E6^2 introduces altogether 36 tools in each phase of the whole design process:

  • Emergence (of a challenge and an opportunity),
  • Empathy (towards the customer in his context),
  • Experimentation (for generating ideas and concepts),
  • Elaboration (on solutions),
  • Exposition (visually presenting the new solution) and
  • Extension (implementing the solutions).

The list includes many wide-spread tools, such as interviewing, user journey maps and questionnaires, and also innovative tools, such as intent statement, insight map and evaluation matrix. The templates are available on Pinterest of Mindshake Portugal.

More focused collaboration

However, knowing the tools is not enough to alone explain the success of design thinking. A successful designer has a mindset that supports the design process and implementation of tools. As an example, in the beginning of the development phase, you are expected to be optimistic, curious and playful – to throw in ideas on the ideal world, with no rules or limitations for imagination. Traditionally, the so-called “engineering mind” would jump quickly into assessing the feasibility of the idea, but a “designer mind” would explore future possibilities in different directions, against stereotypes.

Design thinking is all about collaboration. According to Liedtka, “the highest payoff from adopting a design-thinking approach was not necessarily in identifying a solution, but rather in innovating how people worked together to envision and implement the new possibilities they discovered”. In the organizations Liedtka studied, team members stayed longer with the problem, and examined the topic through various design tools and methods. Having thorough research findings as a foundation made positive behavioral changes in the way teams worked together: team members listened to each other to truly understand their colleague’s perspectives, and to build on them – there was no need to guess and argue over your personal perception on the customer’s preferences. The focus therefore was on envisioning new possibilities together, instead of searching for weaknesses in others’ ideas and strengths in their favorite suggestions. Empathy towards the customer also helped gain focus and speed.

Learning opportunities

Another key word in design thinking is iteration. Instead of spending time on perfecting an action plan with your colleagues, you start small and experiment early on with various concepts and prototypes. It is quicker and cheaper to fail early, although failing in front of actual customers might seem discouraging. In the book “Creative Confidence” Tom and David Kelley (2013) argue that we all are creative, but many people don’t have the confidence to even try experimenting something new, as the prospect of failure is too paralyzing. In the iterative design thinking every experience is an opportunity you can learn from. Failures are crucial for innovation, and it is the only way to create something very new. Tolerance of mistakes is increased, and confidence in being creative boosted, when practicing and experimenting becomes a part of your daily life. You also gain small successful experiences. “Like a muscle, your creative abilities will grow and strengthen with practice. Continuing to exercise them will keep them in shape.”

 

References:

Tschimmel, Katja. 2018. E.62 Mindshake – Innovation & Design Thinking Model

Liedtka, Jeanne. 2014. Innovative ways companies are using design thinking. Strategy & Leadership. Vol. 42 No. 2 2014, pp. 40-45, Q Emerald Group Publishing Limited.

Kelley, David and Kelley, Tom. 2013. Creative Confidence: Unleashing the Creative Potential Within Us All. Crown Business.

Innovating and Designing New Organizations

By Salla Kuuluvainen

I participated in the Social Tools Conference organized by Pixelache Helsinki, an artist collective. I have been taking part in Pixelache events for a quite a while since I feel that they are a great source for finding out about ”weak signals” conserning the future and trends.

Decentralization as Trend

This time the topic of their event was decentralized organizations, which is a topic that has been discussed and debated a lot in more forward thinking management business circles. Teal organizations and Frederic Laloux’ book Reinventing organizations has sparked a lot of interest – even in Finland there is an active Teal organizations community.

There has been lots of more or less successful companies taking the organization more towards decentralization and selforganization, as a successful example could be mentioned Buurtzorg from The Netherlands and as a less successful Zappos, which suffered from an attempt at selfmanagement.

Learnings from Founders of Loomio and the Hum

At Social Tools Confrence I attended a workshop by Nati Lombardo and Richard D. Bartlett, the founders of Loomio and the Hum, which help organizations and groups becoming wanting to become less hierarchical, Loomio by offering software for organizing and the Hum through consultancy and workshops.

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At the workshop I thought especially about how design thinking could be applied towards social organizing. The Hum team had created a system of 12 principles that should be applied when designing for decentralization, but the principles were not formulated as tools or a timebound process, instead more as a framework.

The principles included things like decisionmaking, creating trust, planning for communications and discussing power relations in the organization. I could easily see how some of those principles could be combined with a a Design Thinking tools to provide a timebound process for designing a decentralized organization: e.g. for creating psychological safety in a team, some tools that are used in Design Thinking process in the empathy phase could be used, like creating empathy maps of team members.128763AA-1EF7-47DD-94F9-5A348C2A304B

What Do You Need to Take Into Account?

Generally I learned at the workshop that when designing an organization there are lots of things that need to be taken into account – it’s not only about structures, but also about culture and those things that are often either taken for granted or not spoken about, e.g who is doing care work at the office, like organizing birthday gifts for collagues or seeing to general well-being. An organization is never a given, but an entity that can be purposefully designed, like a service or product, and decentralization is a way of designing organizations in a new, very contemporary way.

I thought the workshop was simply great, one of the best ones that I had attended in while, and can heartily recommend Nat and Richard for anybody who is wants to learn in an engaging way about decentralization in practice.

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An exercise in team skills and attributes – what are we like to work with?