Finland is a Forerunner in Service Design

Service Design network Finland organised a post-conference event to discuss what were the most interesting topics in the actual SDN –conference that was organised in 2.-3.11 in Madrid. The aftermath about the conference was actually only a minor part of the event organised in Hellon office in Helsinki, but what was interesting was that attendees got to hear two actual keynotes from the Madrid conference: Mikko Koivisto, Lead Service Designer & Customer Experience Director @Hellon, discussed “How Service Design became a big thing in Finland” and Mariann Parts, Client Service Director @Hellon, shared her keynote about “Selling Service Design – an adaptive sales approach”.


It was interesting to hear expert’s view on why service design is so big in Finland. Mikko Koivisto had discussed with several service design experts in order to collect his thoughts as a keynote.

WHY?
There was, and is, a huge need for service design in Finland because companies are searching for opportunities to improve their competitive advantages. Also Finnish customers are raising their expectations, as they are quality-oriented and experience-driven when buying services. Digitalisation as a megatrend has obviously had an impact in making service design important, but also Finland’s need to safeguard the welfare society; public sector has been the biggest service design promoter and driver in Finland, unlike in many other countries.

HOW?
The culture in Finland creates an environment that is suitable for service design approach. Finnish society and work culture is typically non-hierarchical, that of course is needed in order to leverage multi-disciplinary field of service design. Also so called “talkoo”-spirit enables Finns to participate in service design workshops and similar without incentives, which is not the case in other cultures. Also Finland’s service design network has created a good foundation to service design to nourish. There’s a top-notch service design research (Christian Grönroos!) and education in Finland as well as long design tradition where service design is a logical continuum.

WHAT?

  • Big companies like KONE and Nokia were the first ones to leverage service design and by doing so led the way for other companies incorporate service design.
  • Service design terminology was translated in Finnish.
  • There are excellent sales force that sells service design in Finland.
  • Public sector is funding service design experiments.
  • There’s lot of publications and books from the field of service design.

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Koivisto mentioned that especially Helsinki’s World Design Capital year in 2012 had a positive impact on how design is seen in Finland.

Mikko Koivisto also shared key steps how other countries could learn from Finland in order to leverage service design:

  1. RAISE AWARENESS
    Be open and share, forget the jargon and get out of the design bubble. Speak in the way that everyone understands. Public sector should lead the way.
  1. EDUCATE PROFESSIONAL
    Even though SD is big thing in Finland, there is not enough educated professionals here!
  1. SUPPORT ORGANISATIONS TO TRANSFORM
  2. PROOF IMPACT
    There should be more co-operation with business!

In her keynote, Mariann Parts gave excellent tips how to sell service design:

#1: IDENTIFY YOUR CUSTOMER
In order to customize your pitch, check the person you are selling to from Linkedin. There’s two types of customers: Problem solver, whose focus is on output, and SD enthusiast, who is interested in tools and methods. By understanding their knowledge level, it is easier to speak the same language.

#2: KNOW THEIR STRATEGY
This one should be no-brainer, do your homework!

#3: UNDERSTAND THAT YOUR CLIENT HAS A CLIENT WHO HAS A CLIENT…
You should link your project to all of them.

#4: PROOF WITH CASE STUDIES
To support your pitch showcase previous projects. Take max 3 case studies with you. Note that in order to collect case studies that will be useful later on, the team should always push with KPI’s in each project, otherwise cases do not work. You can measure e.g. loyalty, employee experience.

#5: INDENTIFY PROJECT SCOPE
In order to identify the scope, ask your customer what are the three most important things to achieve with the project? Then ask what is the most important (from those three)? That is your scope.

#6: BE EMPATHIC
Read the verbal and non-verbal, and ask relevant questions. In the end it comes to who do you want to do business with.

#7: YOU ARE NOT ALONE
Buying service design is always a somewhat leap of faith, therefore using client quotes e.g. can be helpful when selling sd.

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Who are you selling to? Read the whole article: here


Besides these two keynotes, it seemed that one thing had caught attention in Madrid event: Joe MacLeod’s keynote about Ends. Macleod argues that designers should consider the whole lifecycle of the service, also the end of it. His website can be found here, and slides here.

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This blog post was written by,
Emmi Kinnunen
SID student

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