There are two I’s in Service Design

Original designers are set apart from the others on how well they can use previous and varied experience in creating something new. These designers also usually have a curiosity about the surrounding world, they keep wondering why are things the way they are and how could they be better. What sets apart a designer from an artist, is that while creating something beautiful, it needs to be functional rather than just ”art”. Also designers usually have to deal with also constraints from time and resources.

Designers are solution oriented, instead of problem oriented thinkers. Sometimes during the design process, when finding the solution, the original problem actually changes to something else. Designers can use different models and tools to guide their creative process. These Design Thinking tools can also help to manage the innovation project. One of these Design Thinking process visualisation tools is the E6 squared -model created by Katja Tschimmel.


The six phases of the model are Emergence, Empathy, Experimentation, Elaboration, Exposition and Extension. All the phases have a variety of tools to use depending on the project’s needs.

The Emergence phase is about recognizing current and possible future trends and looking for insights and opportunities based on these emerging trends. The Empathy phase is about understanding the possible users and stakeholders of the innovation. The Experimentation phase is about generating more ideas and building on the first idea of the service to come up with new concepts that go against the obvious. The Elaboration phase is about improving and refining the concept by making the ideas more concrete. In this phase the different ideas are evaluated and then the best one is selected for further development. The Exposition phase is about describing the result of the innovation project in a visual way, that helps contextualise and explain the solution. In this stage the business focus of the solution really comes out. The Design process is an iterative process so in the Extension phase the solution is implemented and then feedback is gathered to develop the service.

Many of the tools in the E6 squared -model use drawing because designers usually work by sketching out their ideas. Many designers really think by drawing because Design Thinking is really about visualising your ideas. Design is usually also a collaborative effort between different people. Pictures can really help carry across ideas better than words, because especially when working in a multicultural group with a common language that might not be anyones mother tongue, pictures can lead to less misunderstandings.


Collaboration can really result in unique design. Some times the collaboration doesn’t even need to be team work. Designers feel the need to share their thoughts with someone even when, especially when, working alone on a project. Sharing your thoughts with someone who has a similar job but a different background gives a more varied experience base for both of you as designers. These varied experiences and collaborative efforts are more fruitful than going on it alone.

Design Thinking is about being creative in a curious, collaborative and structured way to find solutions to problems we might not even recognize at first.

Picture source:

Written by Katariina Salonen


Cross, Nigel. 2011. Design Thinking. Understanding how designers think and work. Oxford: Berg Publishers.

Maaranen, Satu. 8.9.2015. Tapaa Suunnittelija! -event. Designmuseum. Helsinki.

Tschimmel, Katja. 2012. Design Thinking as an effective toolkit for Innovation. In: Proceedings of the XXIII ISPIM Conference: Action for Innovation: Innovating from Experience. Barcelona.

Tschimmel, Katja. 2015. Mindshake Design Thinking Cards.

Tschimmel, Katja & Valenca, Mariana. Practical Design Thinking. (lecture). Held on 4.9.2015. Laurea University of Applied Sciences.

3 thoughts on “There are two I’s in Service Design

  1. Very clarifying text of designing. I specially liked the first and second paragraphs, as an artist myself I can understand well the difference between “art” and design; this post succeed well to open this point of view.

  2. Very clear introduction into Design Thinking and Katja’s E6 squared -model. I especially enjoyed the beginning where you clarify the differences between art and design. It would have been great to also read about your personal viewpoints, how do you find Design Thinking, what it means to you and how did you find the course+reading? Maybe I’ll ask you next time we’ll meet 🙂

  3. You wrote it down well, the difference of art and design. That is actually something you still have to explain. As I feel many people do not know what designer role in company is. And I have had comments like “Those just come and design something what cannot be done and it is expensive and useless. So no point to hire designers. “ I just hope that design thinking would bring more value to this “designer process” and also give more understanding that you do not have to be designer to work same way.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s