If somebody had said in 1984 that he had a vision of people watching Formula 1 from their phones in 2014, he would have been considered mentally ill. In 1994 he could have been hired into a start-up-firm going bankrupt later that year. In 2004 this idea had already landed on Steve Jobs’ office desk. And now in 2014 it’s part of our everyday life! In the end it was all about daring to think in a new way.
I was intrigued to take part in Aalto University’s seminar about Leadership in the productisation of services (LEAPS) a couple of weeks ago. The closing seminar showcased results of the LEAPS –project that had lasted two years. The project focused on identifying and developing open and customer-driven methods for service productisation. LEAPS-project was carried out in collaboration between Aalto University, Tampere University of Technology and Innotiimi Oy.
Here are the 4 most interesting things I learned during the afternoon:
Everything can be viewed as a service
The keynote speaker, professor Anders Gustafsson from Service Research Center in Karlstad University, Sweden had a really interesting presentation. He talked a lot about service logic and that service is a perspective on value creation. The most important thing is to focus on value-in-use, especially on co-creation of value. He also concluded that everything can be viewed as a service. This was something we all agreed with, after hearing that already 70-80% of our GDP is service related. The service sector is constantly growing as traditionally goods based companies are starting to rely more on the service part of their business.
Big change: you have to get the customers to pay for the services
Anders Gustafsson also talked about companies traditionally giving services for free to sell products. This can generally be considered as a big problem. The companies have to make a transformation: customers have to start paying for the services. As a solution to this problem, Gustafsson mentioned bronze, silver and gold levels for customers as an example. You have to find a way to make the service part somehow visible to the customer.
5 steps for successful productisation workshops
Have you ever read the story about the funniest customer feedback in the world? It is the one directed to Sir Richard Branson, the founder of Virgin Group. It was sent by a passenger who flew from Mumbai to Heathrow with Virgin Airlines and who wasn’t too happy about the food catering or the inflight entertainment during the flight. Apparently Finnair doesn’t want this to happen to them, so they hired a creative technology company called Reaktor to improve their in-flight entertainment service. Reaktor describes itself as a constructer of well-functioning services. The reason they believe they were chosen was that they could deliver both the design and development from the same house.
It had previously taken a huge amount of time to navigate through the entertainment system. For the new system the aim was to have less levels to navigate, show the content on the first page and of course for it to be faster. The main goal was to improve passenger satisfaction. It was interesting to hear about the development process, which was reputedly a new way of working for Finnair and Panasonic, the manufacturer of the hardware. The displays in the planes have a computer inside and it was impossible to take them out of the aircrafts as they were flying daily. It required people from Reaktor to travel to Panasonic office in California where they had the equipment needed for the development process.
The Designing Process
The team consisted of five smaller groups: Development, Coaching, Concept, UX (user experience)/UI (user interface) and Visuals. According to Reaktor the team worked seamlessly together during the process. The kick-off for the project was in June 2013 and the installation started in August 2014. They had possibility for only two plane visits, which was surprising to hear. So they decided to build a test lab where they then performed user research and tests. The process wasn’t linear, but instead went from designing, developing and testing back to beginning several times.
Have you ever heard that you should learn one new thing a day? Well one September day I was lucky to learn three interesting new things that changed my way of thinking. I attended an intensive course held by Design Thinking gurus Gijs van Wulfen and Katja Tschimmel. Design Thinking offers a process to transform challenges into opportunities. Isn’t that something that we all want? Tschimmel says that Design Thinking is a way of thinking which leads among other things to transformation, evolution and innovation. In Design Thinking innovation is a very collaborative process. “You can invent alone, but you can not innovate alone.” says van Wulfen. According to Liedtka et al. (2011) innovation is not about producing ideas nobody else has ever thought of before; it’s about creating better value for customers and your company by combining elements into innovative business designs.
Here’s three insights that caught my attention during the course:
1. People never agree on what is an innovation
Innovation can be described as the delivery of a viable, new, elegant offering. We were asked by Gijs van Wulfen what is an innovation: We were shown pictures of an iPad and a frozen pizza among other things – we didn’t seem to agree unanimously on any of the images shown.
Lesson I learned: Take discussion from defining things to creating understanding of the value of innovation.