Few days ago I had a great privilege to participate in the workshop sponsored by Futurice, the powerhouse of digital services. The workshop named “Creating tomorrow’s services, together” was organized as part of IxDA’s Interaction Week and Interaction16 conference, which is taking place 1.-4.March in Helsinki.
It takes a framework and toolkit …
The workshop hosts Ricardo Brito, Paul Houghton and Jane Vita kindly gave us an introduction of service design process in Futurice. The process is based around three fundamental pillars, namely Business, Technology and Service Design. The key ingredient of their success is Lean Service Creation, which has its roots in lean startup, lean agile development and service design. The process enables teams of T-shaped individuals to look at the service in a holistic way and thereby maximize chances of service success. At the same time it makes it possible to “succeed faster by failing early” and pivoting if needed.
While it only sounds logical, our hosts assured us that getting people of different background to talk to each other in a meaningful way can be a nightmare. Futurice’s IoT service toolkit is an attempt to attack this problem. Its purpose is threefold. First, it establishes a common language for people with different backgrounds. Second, it guides participants’ thinking and gets them used to the fact that nearly everything around us might be connected to the Internet. Last but not least, it enables team to work together and co-create.
… And getting hands dirty …
We were given a ready set of trend cards, well known tool of Futures Thinkers. Each selected the ones that resonated strongest with one’s own interests and the teams emerged around those. Our team focused on the smart cities and the future of mobility within them. We started divergence phase by ideating the most pressing mobility problems of the smart cities. After a while we converged and decided to focus on the problem of people with limited mobility. We identified two personas, “native digital” and the “old school”.
IoT service kit came into play to help us diverge again. With it’s ready set of cards and 3D printed models it quickly enriched our conventional thinking with urban connected furniture, wi-fi stations, beacons, drones, self-driving cars, assistive robots, kinetic suits, horizontal elevators and all kinds of connected sensors. After quick post-it brainstorming and clustering we converged again and decided on the core enablers of our service offering, i.e. autonomous cars and assistive robots. We moved on to create storyboards and journey maps for the key use cases. We did another quick round of divergence around the business model and relatively quickly agreed on the mixture of the private-public funding and related value network.
… To solve wicked problems
Time for a pitch! The concept was rather complete given very limited time and certainly enough to be proud of. Comments quickly enriched the concept and pointed out the possible problems. It would have helped if we knew the IoT toolkit in advance so we had the common language already established before the brief. Some participants pointed out that the limited set of predetermined scenarios might limit the thinking. However, the kit is open source and modifiable, so that should not be a major problem. Experience anyway says that some amount of limiting might even be healthy, if we are to solve the problems within given amount of time. In any case, IoT kit has proved its point, especially during divergence and ideation phases. Well done Futurice!
Brito R., Houghton P. and Vita J. 2016: Creating tomorrow’s services, together, http://interaction16.ixda.org/workshops/creating-tomorrows-services-together/, Accessed on 3.Mar.2016
Futurice 2016, IoT service kit, http://iotservicekit.com/, Accessed on 3.Mar.2016