Archive by Author | Eliisa Sarkkinen

Industrial Transformation

I attended on the 2nd of June 2015 to a Fimecc Future Industrial Services (FutIS) WP2 Final Seminar hosted by Program Manager Mr. Pekka Helle. This seminar had both researchers presenting results as well as the industrial and garco sector presenting their cases. FutIS is organized by the Finnish Metals and Engineering Competence Cluster (Fimecc) and aims to ease the industry’s transformation by research and development in the area a service business. Over twenty companies and eight research institutes collaborate in this joint program with a budget of 35 million euros. After attending to this seminar I feel strongly that the biggest challenge is to turn up side down (bouleverser) the way of looking from the point of view of the industrial needs to doing business from the point of view of the customer.

Mr. Pekka Helle, Programme Manager

Henri Paukku, Project Manager, Customer Solutions MacGregor

Mr. Henri Paukku, Project Manager, Customer Solutions

Transformation starts from understanding customer’s business logic, processes, long-term targets, segments and motives and adding a lot of co-creating and team-work with all the relevant stakeholders. Mr. Henri Paukku, Project Manager at MacGregor Finland Oy gave an example of bottle necks in the container ship solution offering. He explained how removing one bottle neck usually increases the problems in the next phase if the whole chain hasn’t been cleared.

Business logs

Example of a business logic (MacGregor)

Bigger ships have bigger capacity but if the terminals aren’t fit to it, there is a gap between capacity and functionality. Data collecting and collaboration between different parties is extremely important. Attitude towards data gathering and traditional logistic chain needs to change. The idea is to make bigger profit, utilization and increase the cash flow. Mr. Pekka Helle stated that with good Solutions design and service innovations, investment costs are lower, the revenue curve higher and the profit lifetime longer. 

Continue reading


This spring I attended the Futures thinking and foresight methodologies course where Samu Mielonen was a guest lecturer. He is strongly enthusiastic about intuition and intuitive intelligence. His presentation was very exiting and I felt that I want to hear more. This is why I attended an evening event of Futures Specialist on the 26th of May where Samu Mielonen gave more insight into what is intuition and how to utilize it.

People use many words of intuition: instinct, predictability, insight and subconsciousness. We’ve started to notice that intuition has a meaning in our way of making decisions and how our feelings create our actions. Intuition could be regarded also as a key element in service design, as it could support customer’s positive intuitive feelings.


According to Samu Mielonen we have much more knowledge than we understand. We don’t use all our intuitive capabilities. We rather rationalize. I’m wondering, how to combine intuition and service design? Rationalizing in services is used when comparing prices. Intuition is strongly connected to quality perceptions and earlier experiences. It is personal and can’t be put into numbers. Could intuitive thinking be supported in service design by trust and emotional factors? As Mielonen said, we have barriers which hinder us from using our intuitive thinking. In service design these barriers and obstacles can be lowered by creating customer loyalty and strong brands. Therefore wouldn’t successful brands be the ones that support intuitive feelings?

Samu presented two systems which we use: the emotional intuitive system and the rule based conscious reasoning system. The idea is that these two system constitute creative thinking which needs both systems, not only rationalizing. The intuitive system is rapid, parallel, non-linear, associative and slow learning. The conscious reasoning system is slow, linear, step-wise, deductive and changes quickly. Mielonen presented also the thought that splitting thinking into left and right brain thinking is no longer valid. Logical and mathematical thinking is seen mixed with creative and artistic thinking. I feel there is a paradox between intuition and rationalizing. Our intuitive feelings might be based on earlier intuitive experiences as well as rational experience but by time these two get mixed and our gut feeling might include “older” rationalizing. We should give more respect to our intuitive feelings because they stem from our history, both rational and intuitive experience.

Continue reading

The Pharmacy for People

Some people are just excellent in developing new ideas and turning them into succesful concepts. A pharmacy in Helsinki, Ympyrätalon apteekki, started its services with a totally new concept: The Pharmacy for People. A Finnish service design company, Diagonal, created this concept together with a pharmacy chain of 120 private pharmacies, Yhteistyöapteekit (YTA), and especially with the pharmacy Ympyrätalon apteekki. But all this wouldn’t have happened without the commitment and enthusiasm of one person, the proprietary pharmacist of Ympyrätalon apteekki, Mrs. Tiina Vaitomaa, and the will to be pioneers in new innovative business models by the whole chain. The process has been boundary breaking, and so is Valtomaa. She is willing to try new ideas and test them. The Pharmacy for People has won several rewards in a Finnish design, The Fennia Prize and Kultahuiput.

I got the chance to hear about this excellent concept and its service design process in the Service Design Drinks event on the 2nd of June 2015 in Ympyräntalon apteekki.  The event was hosted by Mrs. Tiina Vaitomaa, the Proprietary pharmacist of Ympyrätalon apteekki.

Service Design Drinks on the 2nd of June 2015

Service Design Drinks on the 2nd of June 2015

Tiina Vaikalma

Mrs. Tiina Vaitomaa, Proprietary Pharmacist

Mr. Mikko Koivisto, the Leading Service Designer in Diagonal started by describing the service design process.

The process consisted of three phases:

1. Understanding the customer and gathering knowledge

2. Concept definition

3. Design and implementation

The first phase was done by interviews, observing, mystery shopping, visiting customers and checking their medicine cabinet, making trend analysis etc. It was done in a very comprehensive way and with a lot of collaboration with the pharmacies. One result from the first phase was that customers desire more services than what is being offered. Another main result was that suppliers had too much power and the pharmacies had become mediators. This resulted in lower contribution margins and revenue. Also more focus on pricing was needed.

Continue reading

Solita’s service design with love

In stead of talking about added value, should we talk about loved value? How to define, how specific services bring us such a happiness and a good feeling, that we want to use it again? Is it intuition that service designers should trust more?

Solita, a Finnish digital business consulting and services company, opened up their service design ideas to the public in Solita HUB Goes Design event on the 26th of May. This event was placed in Lasipalatsi, Helsinki.

Minna Pinola, the Director of Marketing and Communications at Solita, started the event. She presented the company and how its 350 people are located in Helsinki, Tampere and Oulu. Solita is already 18 years old and has concluded over 75 projects in the past. She stated that their idea is to create something new and better businesses and services with customers, and offer solutions to digital business and enterprise information management.

Service Design Methods (Solita)

Picture 1. Service Design Methods (Solita)

In order to make great service design, it is important to understand the customer and how they act. Solita underlines the meaning of empathy. According to Riikka Pasanen, Principal Consultant of Solita, identifying critical touchpoints and added value in the service process is important in service design. She pointed out that customers care mostly about the brand and how the service works, they don’t distinguish services between digital ones and non-digital ones. If something seems to make customers happy, we should emphasize it! Make things easier for the customer. She presented shortly their various methods (see picture 1) and emphasized the importance of prototyping and testing in real contexts. She also pointed out that service design doesn’t work alone and is never ready. It must be supported my customer analyses and surveys as well as continuous iteration and development.

Co-design and ideation in workshops is common in Solita. They have noticed that doing together and asking the personnel is the best way to commit and create a common memory to all the people involved in the service design process. This interaction prospers innovative ideas. Customers can be asked for their opinion, as Solita does directly through Facebook. I see this as a very open way of communicating.

Mikko Väätäinen, Business Designer in Solita (picture 2), pointed out that amazing service experiences have good service design behind them. From the point of view of the customer service offering might seem chaotic. A well planned concept, business model and architecture makes the service differ from others (see picture 3).

Picture 2. Mikko Väätäinen, Business Designer in Solita

Three layers in Service Design by Solita

Picture 3. Three layers in Service Design by Solita

Lassen Tammilehto, Senior Consultant in Solita, talked about feelings. He pointed out that customer experience is mostly based on feelings, not rational thoughts. These feelings should be supported by positive signals and great service design. This is something rather simple to say but not always so easy to remember. The talk about bad experience spreads like an epidemic. Companies should remember that it is the “moment of truth” which designates the decision to buy or use the service. Take care of your customers and develop yourself to their processes.

After talking about feelings, Tammilehto talked about “Minimum Lovable Products”. The service must be lovable, it is the tie between the brand and the customer. A loved service differs from others. It made me think that when people love the service, they want it to continue, they start co-working and want your service to prosper and develop. I think he’s right, love commits. If you offer something plain, feelings are more neutral which is almost as bad as negative feelings. It is not enough to have a “Minimum Viable Product, MVP” or service which is enough and serves its purpose, it must make people fall in love with it. These MVP’s are commonly created when there is a strong time pressure and an urge for quick results. This way the quality might suffer. Anyway, why hurry, if with a little patience and good prioritizing the service gets more customers? Making products lovable is important especially in the digital service contexts as the range of offers and competition is so huge and unpredictable. When thinking about personal service context, the competition is stronger in cities as there are usually more rivals. Well planned service design brings more results.


Picture 3. Model of a Minimum Lovable Product by Tammilehto L.

Lasse Tammilehto presented a model of this idea of a lovable service (picture 3). In order to win the early adopters and finally the big audience, the service must be usable, functional and reliable, which make the basis of a sufficient service. In the top is the WOW-effect which is needed for the service to be loved.

Tammilehto showed a result by Google according to which the first 50 milliseconds determines whether the customers believes a service is reliable or not. According to Jere Käpyaho, Senior Consultant, digital services should be always mobile or they are out-of-date already in the beginning. Right amount of right information on the right screen is important. He states that “context is the king!” in mobile services.

Services are a bundle of service pieces and a service designer has to be able to make them match in many flexible ways. Developing a lovable, easy, positive service to the right people in the right time is important. Mobile services, feelings and usability must feel easy. If using a service is complicated to use, customers don’t fall in love with it.

Written by Eliisa Sarkkinen –  Helsinki, Finland, as part of an assignment for the course “Current Topics in Service Design”

The Inspirational New Children’s Hospital 2017

I am glad to have participated in The Service Day 2015 on the 18th of March. As a new student in the field of service design and innovation it really made me open my eyes to how much service design has already spread into the health sector. I saw a lot of commonalities in the projects, which were presented. All of these projects included a great holistic view of the all the parts tied with the service and even better, an innovative fresh way of organizing them in a new customer centric and efficient way. This holistic view of customer insight was a part of all of the projects.

What impressed me was how these projects really had people believing in them. In their minds there was little space for pessimism, a bit of sanity and a huge believe in the idea and a great deal of professionalism. What comes out when all these talented people with a different background are put in the same room, are these incredible service design projects.

People need other people, and what all these projects had in common was an impressive amount of collaboration. Good service design is creating together. This is where I emphasize the word co-creation! The best sand castles are built with many hands and ideas.

Children have the best imagination together, so why not adults? One raising castle is the new pediatric hospital, which has been largely discussed in the media and a lot of debate (e.g. 1a, 1b) has been going on about the funding of the project, which hasn’t followed the traditional norms of building public buildings. A foundation for building a new children’s public hospital was founded in 2012 and the hospital is going to be ready in 2017.


Anne Berner presenting the  Children's Hospital 2017 project

Anne Berner presenting the Children’s Hospital 2017 project

Anne Berner had the first presentation in the Service Day 2015. As her presentation really impressed me, this blog post is devoted to her project. Among many other duties Anne Berner is the Chairman of the board of the Association and Foundation New Children’s hospital 2017. She pointed out that in the beginning of the project it wasn’t known who owns the project and who is in charge of it. She says that this was not easy as it wasn’t clear if it is the county of Helsinki or the state paying the bill. The solution was an open fundraising campaign, so that everyone anywhere could partake in the project. But … especially the media and part of the Finnish public seemed to think this was wrong. Happily not everyone. The funding is based on donations which some people think is begging.

The way Anne Berner talked during the Service Day made me believe that this project is in the right hands. She has a humble and an iterative attitude towards the project which characterizes a good service design. She is very well aware of the critics and sees even the negative discussion around the hospital as positive. She takes critique in a constructive and strengthening way, which is necessary in service design. She also says that the more there is discussion, the more important the campaign becomes. According to her, best innovations are built only with criticism. Myself, I think this project is revolutionary and shakes the traditional thoughts of service into a new service design way of thinking. She pointed out that there has always been a lot of community effort in Finland, especially during and after the wars. Hospitals have been built using fundraisers before, so why should it be different now?

Continue reading