Service Design Network Conference at Helsinki

On 3th of September a seminar organized by SDN Helsinki took place at Maxine restaurant. I had a pleasure to be part of the organizing team. The seminar was sold out so we were very pleased.

The day started with interesting topics and keynote speakers. Mikko-Pekka Hanski, co-founder at Idean, pointed out how companies are changing from service providers to customer experience makers with customers.

Tarja MeristöTarja Meristö, futurologist and principal lecturer, told how the customer needs are changing in the future and how services are used then.

FJORD Teemu ÄijäläTeemu Äijälä, Service Design Director from Fjord, presented many interesting examples of living services e.g. Amazon Echo and Dash Button. Äijälä spoke about the fact that customers’ expectations do not compare with similar services. Expectations go across the industries. Customers compare e.g. a visit to doctor to a shopping experience through Amazon.

FJORD Teemu Äijälä

Kamil Michlewski, Brand stategy consultant, academic and author, told how design attitude is rising and why Silicon Valley, IBM or MCKinsey are suddenly all into design. Big companies are hiring more service designers and investments made to service design have grown remarkably.

Kamil Michlewski

Sari Äijälä, project manager from ISS, explained how to insure that the good ideas and procedures developed through service design projects are rooted into practical everyday management.

Lauri ToivonenLauri Toivonen, Director, Head of Marketing at SOK, “Data expires like a good wine, UI expires like a fish.”

Jaakko Wäänänen, CEO, strategist from Diagonal told how service design can solve some of the problems occurred in projects aimed to enhance customer experience.

Companies’ representatives presented interesting case examples. E.g. Marjukka Mäkelä, Manager, Industrial design and User experience, from ABB showed how they used service design in an Ambassadors program. The results were significant.

In the afternoon it was time for workshops. The seminar audience was divided into three groups which topics were Design thinking and empathy as a part of company’s DNA, Futures Fit First step towards future stable service design and Digital services as a part of customer experience.


I interviewed few of the seminar guests.Tiilimäki Elisa from Respondeo Oy told why she would recommend service design for other companies. –The products are quite similar today so it is the service that makes the difference.

One goal for our seminar was to get together designers and business representatives. And we succeed in it.

-Yes I met a couple of interesting people and we are going to meet later on and talk about the possibilities of co-operation, Tiilimäki said.

Taina Mäkijärvi from Nordea has used service design at work in several projects. She told about the benefits of service design.

-Service design changes the culture in the organisation. Customer oriented approach is the key word. Service design speeds up the processes. It makes the services delivered to the customers to be more what the customers want and hope for. That is how service design produces savings and brings more revenue. We have also discovered that employees who have been part of our service design projects have been more satisfied and happy at work. Employees are really committed to the projects and their faces are shining.

In these words it is good to end this blog post.

Text and pictures by Laura Rinta-Jouppi, Service Innovation and Design MBA –student.

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