Archive by Author | marikajarvinen

Future of Service Design – does it exist?

Ever thought about this? Is service design just one ism, which comes like a wave: First small, getting strong and then fading away. When reaching the end of its existing curve, the ism is so worn out that no-one even wants to hear the words “service design”.

PaneeliAalto University Executive Education arranged on the 1st of June 2017, on International Service Design Day, networking event around this very interesting theme. Speakers and panelists who game from different backgrounds looked at the topic in a versatile and detailed way. They represented front line service design expertise: Peter Barkman, Managing Director from Palmu Helsinki, Laura Franck, Client Service Director from Hellon, Ulla Jones, Business Designer from OP Financial Group and Pekka Toivonen, CEO of Muotohiomo. Next I will raise some points from the discussion to give some thoughts to this important heading.

Transformation is the point

Service design have to grow from project oriented way of doing to be way of thinking that leads to cultural change and transformation in organization. “Human” and “experience” should be taken as a part of business plan in the organization. The experts see that service design as a concepts and the term might disappear. The content itself becomes an everyday part of organizational approaches and practices. Whatever the term that is used, important is to make measurable changes with goal of creating better experiences and focus on customer.

All in – heterogeneously

Service design has changed the whole design doing. Design is done by co-creating with customers, not alone in a studio. Important in the future is to do together. Create ideas that can be shared. Create feeling of belonging. There is no individual nor group that cannot co-create. Heterogeneous people are needed in design. People with different backgrounds are an asset. Service design wants T-shaped people, who have deep skills in one discipline and broad ability to work outside core area.

More broadly – more deeply

There was also discussion that should service design know how be civic, which is already learned at school. On the other hand experts pointed out that customer understanding will be more professional in the future. Designers should keep themselves at the top of the wave in their ability to answer the needs of changing business environment. One problem that was raised was about in-house design agencies. At the moment large companies have too small design units. There is not enough impact and results remain low. IT-firms have recently bought service design agencies. This raised a question: Is there need for agencies specialized only in design in the future? Maybe maybe not.

Digitalization needs empathy and creativity

In the midst of a strong change due digitalization, human might be forgotten. Empathy skills is needed more than ever. The approach of service design may even be a necessity for organizations to survive in a changing environment. One expert pointed out that “Machine won human in chess, but machine and human won machine in chess.” Ability to communicate separates us from the machine. Human is at his best in creative processes.

Selling and buying skills are crucial

The lack of skills of selling service design to organization and management is huge problem at the moment. Problem is also that service design is hard to buy, people inside the organization do not have service design inquiry skills.  These might be the dead or alive –issues for service design.

New tools and skills are needed

Experts agreed that service design to survive, new service design tools have to be created. Tools that are inspirational and get the whole organization to realize the ongoing change.  To accept vagueness is a necessity in the whole design process. Skills to empty one’s mind, skills to concentrate on the essential even if world around is a mess, is huge asset in the future. Designer with big ears and open mind are wanted. Methods for empathy and listening are needed.

To concentrate on what happened yesterday or what is happening today is not enough. Equipment for futures thinking and foresight is needed. In the future quantitative and qualitative customer understanding are melting together. Qualitative know-how and technology together are the strongest forces for change. In the future artificial intelligence will help a lot in customer understanding. To find customer needs, customer’s own data “My data” will be utilized. Gaming is used as a method for participating and storytelling.  Service design will be more fun, human and creative.

The future exists for service design

As a conclusion, service design as a content will exists in the future. Experts agreed that need for design is endless, challenge is there all the time. There will be evolution in service design doing followed by changes in business environment and due to embedding service design in everyday practice.  Also new tools and broad range of design makers are needed. In the future service design will be heart partner with quantitative methods and technology.

Change management- questions, chipmunks, kick offs and major population

In my previous post I dealt with customer experience management and how CEOs and members of the board discussed about it in a seminar called Customer Oriented Strategies which was held on 16th of March 2017 at Aalto University School of Business. I thought that (at least) one of the seminar presentations deserved its own post.

Kenneth Strömsholm the CEO of Veho Oy, gave very interesting and inspiring presentation about customer experience and change management or how he put it in his title: “Managing Customer Experience and Unbearable Toughness of Change”. He highlighted that you can’t talk about these issues separately. They are bonded to each other. While listening to Mr. Strömsholm, I was thinking that we, service designers, are full of enthusiasm for carrying out our design process. We should also give time, thought and tools to support change in organization. Change resistance can make our efforts, to create amazing or just better customer experiences, worthless.

Kenneth Strömsholm have created four very catching and humorously description of the invisible obstacles of change.

Questions

First obstacle is human nature and how most of the people meet the new situation. He explained that the first three questions people are asking when they are confronting the change for the first time:

  • First question: What does this mean for me?
  • Second question: Still what does this mean for me ?
  • Third question: Could there still be some aspect to figure out what does this mean for me?

Mr. Strömsholm pointed out that as a leader, you can’t underestimate the importance of these questions. You need to accept that these are the questions how people are trying to found out their place in a new situation. You need to give them time and try to find answers to these questions together.

Chipmunk -effect

The second inMaaoravavisible obstacle Mr. Strömsholm has named as a Chipmunk –effect. Chipmunks are in their chips with their heads down and no matter how hard you try to yell your brand new message, the message goes over their heads. You need to repeat your message 11 times. Each time there is a chance that one or even few chipmunks have their heads up and they will actually get the message you are sending.

Kick off

The third obstacle Mr. Strömsholm has named Kick off. He explained this obstacle as follows. It takes seven months for board of directors to build a strategy and five minutes for personnel to understand it wrong. He pointed out that as a director, you can’t expect the personnel to walk away from Kick off –meeting, immediately take their saws and go to work according to your new strategy. After Kick off, the work for getting your strategy alive, starts.

Major population

The fourth obstacle Mr. Strömsholm has named Major population. For people, employers, it’s always easy to agree with the major population. Most of the people are skeptical and thinking: “We should not do anything, eventually these directors will calm down and whole thing about change will be forgotten”. As a director you should just carry on and step by step get the major population behind the change. Then there is only minority left against the change, and nobody wants to be part of minority.

Three phases of change and the feeling

Mr. Kuva1Strömsholm summarized three phases of change. First you need to get information, then you can understand and after that you start to believe. Feelings in the organization are effecting the length and strength of each phase.

Very catchy speech, next time when designing services, I will indeed bond customer experience and change more deeply together…and think about chipmunks.

Building strong customer experience

Kirsi Heikel, the host crystallized the idea of the seminar: Strong customer experience- easier said than done. The seminar was held at Aalto University School of Business on the 16th of March. I was invited to the seminar as an alumni and speaker of the Service Design course organized by Aalto Pro –Aalto University of Professional Development. When listening to seminar’s prestigious group of speakers, I had my service designer lenses on and I compered these directors’ thoughts against design thinking. I was interested how these CEOs, investors, entrepreneurs and professional board of members discussed about importance of customer experience, how high a level do they place customer experience aspect of management and how they actually manage it.

Listen to your customers

Kenneth Strömsholm the CEO of Veho Oy described unambiguous aim of Veho’s experience world as follows: “None of the cars, service, spare parts or car hire cannot remain unsold because of a poor service experience.” Customer experience is one of the cornerstones of the Veho’s success. He gave an example. In the past, the car was always presented in the same way. There was actually specific manual how to give a presentation. Nowadays the most important is to listen to customer’s needs and viewpoints and give specific answers to questions in need. Veho have moved from strict quality manual way of operating to individual and flexible service. Mr. Strömsholm raised digitalization as another example of Veho’s customer experience thinking. He pointed out that digitalization strategy is the best way to separate digital services from all the other services. Services need to be designed as a whole.

Fail and Innovate

Jonas Kjellberg is a serial entrepreneur, investor and one of the founders of Skype-service. Nowadays he is leader of the BCG Digital Ventures. He is a specialist in creating new business models and commercializing new products and services. He started his presentation by saying that he is not going to talk about his successes. He is going to talk about his failures. Because through failures he has learned the most. Mr. Kjellberg discussed about changing the game in the business. He said that every organization spends time and money to efficiency and functionality. How about innovating something that delights your customers? First you need to figure out what is the friction free story you are selling. You need to go to fundamentals.

  • What customers love?
  • How to use new technology?
  • How to innovate in zeros? Remember: Innovate don’t imitate

Keep it simple

XXL

Toni Stigzelius is CEO of XXL Finland. He has been responsible for launching the XXL chain in Finland. In his presentation, he raised three rules to build good customer experience in XXL.

  • Keep it simple stupid. Simplicity in process and easiness to navigate.
  • Listen. 70 % of sales is interaction and emotion.
  • Attitude. Employees can learn all about the sports equipment, but attitude you can’t change.

After the presentations I took my designers lenses off and I still saw the same. Jihaa, we are talking the same language with these successful leaders: listening, designing as a whole, customer needs first, failure is for good, innovation not imitation, simplicity and magnificent attitude!

Service design meets RAI –evaluation system

Be open-minded

Yes, I have heard it, and I think I have even preached about it. Be open-minded. First and for most. That is how service designer should think, no doubt about it. Still, I have found myself being by and by too blindsighted. Last time this happened to me was few weeks ago. I waited my turn to give a presentation about service design in health care in a seminar which was concerning work with geriatric people (Kehittyvä vanhustyö 13-14.2.2017). Funny thing when going back in my mind to that situation, is that in my own presentation, I had quotation from Dalai Lama: “When you talk, you are only repeating what you already know. When you listen, you may learn something new.”

What is RAI-evaluation system…actually?

Just before my presentation there was Development Manager Rauha Heikkilä from Finnish National Institute for Health and Welfare given her presentation about RAI-evaluation system and its benefits while evaluating service needs of geriatric people. Abbreviation RAI has come to my knowledge when I have been doing service design with geriatric patients, nurses and doctors. But I haven’t really understood what it is. My preconception about RAI –evaluation system was that it is something that consumes a lot of face to face time from patients, nobody actually uses the results and something that is already out of date. So I was little bit suspicious about the subject, I have to admit.

Rauha Heikkilä started her presentation by talking about customer focus in different levels of producing services: strategic, tactic and operative. She pointed out that Primeminister Sipilä’s government programme for advancing Health and Welfare is executed by top projects. One main objective is to take customer oriented approach to development of health and welfare services. Then she started to talk about RAI (Resident Assessment Instrument) and how it can help to achieve this objective. RAI is a tool for decision-making and to support management. It helps to

  • predict the population service needs
  • develop services that are based on actual needs of customers
  • target customer services according to their needs
  • monitor the quality and the performance of services

 When Rauha Heikkilä moved on with her presentation my ears grew bigger. These were the words that talked my language. I started to pay more attention. I started to actually listen. I could have said same sentences in my presentation about service design and how it can support management. What I learned was that RAI- evaluation system is a comprehensive system for evaluating, monitoring and improving the quality of care and service. It is standardized system to information gathering and an instrument for observation of service needs of a customer. RAI –evaluation is examining customer’s ability to cope in everyday life, mental and cognitive condition, social performance and wellbeing, health condition, nutrition and feeling of pain. RAI –evaluation is examining patient as a holistic person. It is carried out with a customer. Yes, in co-creation with customer. Evaluation process starts with interview and observation of a person himself and his peers. Again sounds something that could have come out of my mouth while giving my service design presentation.

What I also learned was that RAI -evaluation system is a support system for different service providers to give more personalized service and service that answers better to customer’s actual needs. Geriatric patients with chronic illness and disability use variety of clinical and support services. With RAI-system there is always background knowledge about customers overall situation and thus it is possible to do better decisions for taking care of the geriatric patient. RAI-evaluation system enables planning standardized services for typical customer needs. Also service profiles can be planned with RAI-evaluation system.

Same goals. What can we do together?

While listening the presentation I didn’t find any conflicts between service design and RAI –evaluation goals. The goals are actually the same. I started to think what could be accomplish by combining these two methods. I brought up this idea to Professor of Geriatrics Jaakko Valvanne in a lunch discussion. He is acquainted with both methods and specialist with RAI- system. He clarified me that RAI – system is well deployed in Finland. However, he has seen that even in the best organizations, it really takes years to be able to use the results so that they actually help in developing services.

From the user’s (nurses and doctors) point of view, RAI system is difficult, complicated and troublesome in many ways. Professor Valvanne pointed out also that the results of the RAI –system should be first the results for the patient and his peers. Secondly results of organization. But are they easy to understand for ordinary people? Are they presented in a way that awakes interest? Could assets of service design help to make RAI –system more approachable, make the system more usable by understanding user needs better, simplify the process and the results by visualization and maybe make less serious by adding some fun and humor to it?

When thinking other way around, people who work in the field of geriatric patients, are acquainted with RAI –system. Could it be easier to accept service design as a serious development method, if these two are methods are offered hand in hand? There are similarities but also differences between these two methods. RAI –system is a data bank for designing services. Service design is more of qualitative and emphatic method.  If using these methods simultaneously, could it raise the benefits of the results in a different level?

Blending methods and thoughts

While finishing our lunch discussion with professor Valvanne we were both excited about this idea of service design meeting RAI –evaluation system. This seminar and enriching discussion after that cleared out to me that something unexpected may happen when you let yourself to be open. There is no only one right way of doing things. There are many. And if you are clever, you make these many ways overlap each other and you might find results that lead you to something totally new.

We might have another lunch and discussion around this subject with professor Valvanne and start something new by blending our thoughts more.