5th Service Innovation and Design seminar

by Riku Seppälä

I had the pleasure to attend the 5th annual service innovation and design seminar at Laurea Leppävaara 14th March 2013. This post is a part of Current Topics course unit.

The day kicked off with a keynote speech;

Building brands together –theory and practice from Nicholas Ind and Nick Coates.

The speech was partially based on the book; Brand Together by Nicholas Ind, Clare Fuller and Charles Trevall. The book is about co-creation and relationships with consumers.

The main themes from Nicholas’s speech that caught my eye were:

–          Branding is a participatory process

–          Transactions are shifting towards a relationship with the consumer

–          Brands are influencing consumers rather than controlling them

–          Brands should have a connection with a possible community of consumers who use a service/product

–          Build trust within a community.

–          Give feedback to the community

The second part of the first keynote speech was held by Nick Coates, who is a consultant at Promise. (http://www.promisecorp.com) Nick gave a very practical speech about the practice of co-creation. Nick presented a few case examples of service co-creation, including cases from McDonald’s, Orange, and a luxury hotel.

The main themes from Nick’s speech that caught my eye were:

–          Co-creation; involving customers, stakeholders to create winning insights, ideas, and strategies.

–          Wonderland; a place where customer creativity is possible

–          Self believe- group creativity

–          Service co-creation;

  • focus on the real customer pain
  • listen to customers  for possibilities to improve

Second keynote speech by Karan Shah, founder of Grow-Trees, an initiative for socially aware companies that wishes to have a “green image” Karan presented his company and business idea behind it.

Grow-Trees in a nutshell:

–          Companies can plant trees in rural parts of India to develop their image and help to reduce deforestation in India.

–          400 000 trees planted so far

–          Vision is to plant millions of trees and to go global


Benefits to the participating company:

–          Companies want to have  a “greener” image

–          Green companies have higher stock value and better image on the job market that other companies.

–          Companies can better engage with their stakeholders

–          Add value to the company by presenting them with a certificate

I would have liked to hear more about the problems behind deforestation in India and not so much about the company itself. In my mind, the presentation included too much info about the company itself and did not really focus on the big picture behind the dilemma. (growth of population, deforestation)

Workshop 1: Service business case simulation by Palmu Inc. Sami Kallio, Tuija Ojanen, and Hans Sadvik

For the first workshop, I participated in Palmu’s workshop about a service case simulation.

The workshop was about a service case for a fictional telecom company which had some issues to improve its service. Palmu presented a tool called business simulator which (at least what was shown to us) includes a process flow chart tool to improve services, and a tool to illustrate the monetary values of the changes made in the service process. The tool itself seemed very useful to visualize the changes made in the service process and that it included monetary values for each step of the way. In complex and often very abstractive services, it is useful to show the monetary value of the changes. (especially for the senior management who’s sitting on the money)

If you want to know more about the tool, you can check it out at https://simulator.palmu.fi.


Workshop 9 Creation of customer value and meaning- 

This workshop consisted of two presentations by Timo Sneck and Keijo Houhala

Mr Kouhala started the session with his presentation about municipalities’ value creation and the interface between privately owned companies and governmental, public institutions.

The main themes from Keijo’s speech that caught my eye were:

–          Are there tools to manage the change within private and public companies information interface?

–          Private companies seek to make a profit

–          State seeks to assure the continuity of social structures

–          Municipalities execute areas which are given to them by legislation

–          Interfaces à A private company can create value to public sector by offering services/products. This is obvious.

–          Value point: For example food safety, What is the value in food safety inspections? Safety for citizens.

The main themes from Timo’s speech that caught my eye were:

–          Managing the win win win interface between private companies, customers and public companies.

–          There should be constant innovation process going on in operation functions of municipalities.

Afternoon Keynote speeches

Alastair Fuad-Lake: Co-designing services to satisfy and sustain diverse capitals:

Orientation and measurement of value by applying the design CAPITALIA framework. Alastair is a professor of practice, emerging design practices at Aalto University.

The main themes from Alastair’s speech that caught my eye were:

–          Service economy has been around for a long time but we still struggle to design services.

–          Design is a critical element of service economy

–          How do we value and set value in service economy?


–          We need to co-design to create meaningful services

–          Develop open source methods and tools

–          Co-design is inclusive

–          We need to move from “traditional” way  of developing/designing services to “transformation” design.


Alastair showed a few interesting examples of co-design, for example The People’s Supermarket, which is a grocery store chain in the UK that “use” consumers as employees and volunteers to help in operating the stores.  More info at http://www.thepeoplessupermarket.org/.

Key benefits of co-design

key benefits of co design

Design CAPITALIA    

design capitalia

All in all, a very comprehensive presentation from Alastair about co-design with interesting examples. As always, the presentation consisted of a vast amount of information and too littel time.

Afternoon Keynote speeches

Göte Nyman: Reaching people through service design

The main themes from the Göte’s speech that caught my eye were:

–          How to understand the individual? From mass marketing to individual relationships

–          Creating value by reaching people

  • By force
  • By institution
  • By necessity

–> Reaching the bodies not the soul!

–          Care in service

  • Nro 1 motivation behind reaching people should be care, significant transformation in customer engagement

–          Big data will help us to predict the change that’s happening around us.

–          Underestimated problems:

  • Blindness to individual intentions
  • No relevant psychology of own customers


The 5th service innovation and design seminar consisted of keynote speeches and workshops of various subjects.  In my mind the keynote speakers maybe promoted their own work a bit too much and presented  a lot of examples that were just briefly explained. It is not always better to have numerous keynote speakers to present their case but maybe to have just a few world classa speakers.

The most rewarding session for me was Palmu Inc.’s  service busines case simulation. The session was set up very professionally and people at Palmu sure know their case. I also liked the fact that within their business simulator hard numbers (monetary value of the changes in service process) are presented in a very clear way. A lot ot the times service design is being seen as a very abstractive process with little or no clear signals of how it is going to affect the business. We as service design practitioners, need to convince the senior management to give a “green” light to our methods and work, what a better way than to show it in euros/dollars.


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