Fastest Prototypers in the West (well, North actually)

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The opportunity to hone my service design skills came again when I signed up for the Fast Prototyping Competition. To be perfectly honest, I didn’t even read the description, I just signed up as I knew that it would be a good experience and a great challenge. Probably because I didn’t read the description, I didn’t realise that it would be a limited event. But with about 20 people attending it was small and highly motivating. The actual name that was given on the day for this event was “Aaltoes-Fjord Service Design Challenge”. There were three guys there from Fjord to help guide us through this process- Juska Teittinen, Mox Soini, and Ville Päivätie.

Fjord’s Process

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We had just 9 hours to do ¾ of a Double Diamond (or 3/5 circles of the Fjord process) and present our work. It was fast prototyping alright! One of the greatest features for me was the fact that we were doing work for a real client. Fjord had come with a big client for the Finnish market to see if we could help them out with their service concepts. We were given the brief of a large travel company in Finland. It has identified 5 market segments and wanted an idea for as many segments as possible. So in this case, there were 4 teams and therefore 4 different segments were used. I really don’t know if we are allowed to share the client’s name, so I will not do that here

Our team, consisting of Marjukka Rantala, Jaakko Porokuokka, Teija Hakaoja and myself, were designated the segment of Enjoy Family Fun. Which meant travel with kids. I have to say that I was really happy about this theme and we were lucky to have 3 of the four of us who were parents. And it was great to have one non-parent as this added a nice dimension to the discussions. It made us think about why. Many times, you take things as a given when you are part of the demographic you are looking at but when it came to explaining “why” to someone who wasn’t, it really helped to define what we were talking about and make sure we were understanding things the same way.

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In the end, I believe that our team came up with a new service innovation by flipping the conventional wisdom and making the children the customers of the travel company rather than the parents. Using this new perspective, we were able to define various areas where the service to these families is lacking. I really think that our creation ‘has legs’ as they say. I think that it is possibly a bit of a game changer in the industry- it would certainly be something new.  But probably everybody thinks that of their baby.

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In the end we did not win this competition. But it was a great experience and I would love to do it again soon. We got many good tips and were commended for our use of role play in our presentation and the ‘innovativeness’ of our idea.

By the end of the competition, my two daughters had shown up (after being picked up by me briefly during the last presentation – sorry Antti but I had to!). After the competition was over I took the opportunity to ask some questions to Juska and Mox. Mainly about how to transition into the Service Design industry and what are companies really looking for when they seem to only want visual designers (an overstatement but one that was understood).  And Juska pointed out that my children were one of my greatest assets in thinking like a service designer. He just said “their way of looking at life” (or something close). I went away a little puzzled needing to think more about it. And that’s exactly what I did…his comment inspired my first ever LinkedIn post “9 reasons 3 year olds are just small service designers”. I hope you like it.

Written by Pamela Spokes, SID 2014

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