Archive by Author | mervirauhala

Learning in Action – How We Won the Second Place in a Service Design Competition

”Could you send a female inspector?”

This is how Jaakko started our pitch at Sitras’s Service Design competition on March 3, 2014. The competition was part of Sitra’s new security forum, and it intended to test how service design could help to improve public services and make them more user-centric.

The actual design goal set by Sitra and the Finnish Ministry of the Interior was to think of ways to lower the barrier of reporting a racist crime.

Statistics show that the amount of reported crimes has dropped significantly. This is not necessarily good news. As the amount of people from diverse ethnic backgrounds has rised in Finland, the question is whether the amount of racist crimes has actually diminished or whether people don’t just report them anymore. Is the reporting process clear enough for people of foreign roots? Do people have the skills and the motivation to bring their issue forward? Do they trust the authorities? Is there enough knowledge? Could service design help to improve the situation?

This was the challenge of our design team, comprising four enthusiastic first-year SID-students, Jaakko, Ida, Hanna and Mervi. In addition to our service design studies, we all have different educational and professional backgrounds and skills – a group of truly T-shaped people. For us, the competition was a great opportunity to test our newly learned service design methods skills in action. We wanted to learn in practice and do something concrete. Earning some course credits while we were at it didn’t harm, either.

We knew we were competing with professional agencies and experienced service design researches and that made us all the more motivated. Heck, we really wanted to win and show what we are capable of! It turned out that our motivation, determination and willingness to prove ourselves earned us a second place in a very tight competition. We played to win. ”The hungriest team” as one member of the jury put it.

Walkthrough of Our Design Process Background work

As soon as we knew we were accepted to take part in the competition, we started to work on the challenge. We did a lot of background research and dug as deep as we could. We read several reports and studies. We made phone calls to police officers and non-profit organizations that have a lot of experience in working with immigrants and minorities. Piece by piece, we found out important information related to our design challenge.

We also collected and discussed our own previous knowledge. The request for a female inspector, which started this story, was a true case that happened to Jaakko about a year ago. He was scheduled to make a fire inspection in an institution for immigrant women. If a male fire inspector might be too intimidating for them, can you imagine them to walk to a police station and report a crime, most likely meeting a severe-looking policeman behind the desk asking them all kinds of questions about the uncomfortable, maybe even humiliating situation they encountered? Can you picture her trusting him? We couldn’t. It became obvious very soon that we were dealing with quite a wicked problem that had to be approached holistically.

Personas and Stakeholder Map

We used many different service design tools in our design process. After a quick brainstorm and a lot of post-its in Jaakko’s living room window, we decided to create personas. They turned out to be a great starting point. “Ali”, “Cagri” and “Zahra” helped us greatly throughout the process. Their images in mind, we were able to empathize and hold a user-centric focus.



Early on, we started also to create a stakeholder map including all the service providers, non-profit organizations, institutions, and facilities that were relevant for potential crime victims. We figured that since they already are in touch with our target group, they could act as “fixers” for victims of racist crimes.

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Community Managers Appreciated

“Brands have to consider the conversation itself as the canvas, without the comfort of knowing what the response will be.” Dick Costolo, CEO, Twitter6c121db6879611e3b10d12bfd5de2428_6

Four years ago, in 2010 digital media strategist Jeremiah Owyang said out loud that the hard working community managers ought to be appreciated. He proposed that every fourth Monday of January would be dedicated to the practitioners of this new, forming profession. On that day, community members should thank their managers. Bit like Mother’s day but for Community managers.

CMADs in Finland

Many heard Owyang’s call. Community managers started organizing events and gatherings around the world. Gladly Finland was no exception.

Just like many great modern stories, it all started with a tweet. A social media specialist, trainer and entrepreneur Johanna Janhonen tweeted about celebrating the Community Manager Appreciation Day (CMAD) also in Finland. The message resonated among social media enthusiasts and Community managers. The first ever CMAD event in Finland was held in Tampere in 2012. It was a small gathering but the interest was clearly building.

In 2013 the event was organized in much larger scale. It gained big interest in social and digital media circles and got attention in media too. In 2014 the event attracted even a larger audience. Some 200 people were attending in person and many more following the live stream and steady flow of tweets with the official hashtag #cmadfi. The amazing thing about the event is that it’s organized pro bono by volunteers. The main organizers have put a lot of effort to make it happen.

Why Community Managers matter?

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“Out of the Box and Then Back in Again” – The ABC of Design Thinking

How many ways of using a pen could you come up with in two minutes? I managed to write down 10. Actually that’s not very creative. Some people can easily think of even 20 or more ways. They are more trained in Design Thinking.

We, the SID group of 2013, started our Service Innovation and Design MBA this fall by diving into a very elementary field: Design Thinking and innovation. We were guided by Katja Tschimmel and Gijs Van Wulfen to complete our own innovation journey using the FORTH-innovation modelsqueezed into just two days.

The two day innovation exploration was interesting and fun. We had a blast creating a desk top walk through of our fictional service “Groovi”. Some of my important learnings were that I should first think outside of the box but not to be too “designery” in presenting my ideas. They might be accepted easier if they feel like coming from the box. Communicating my ideas is definitely a skill in which I want to get better at. Another important discovery was that facilitating an innovation process is a very demanding task and I have to practice that.


But what is Design Thinking?

Katja Tschimmel defines Design Thinking as “ a complex thinking process of conceiving new realities, expressing the introduction of design culture and its methods into fields such as business innovation.” Eric Roth says in the foreword of Design Thinking for Strategic Innovation that: “Design Thinking is the search for a magical balance between business and art, culture and chaos, intuition and logic, concept and execution, playfulness and formality and control and empowerment.”

So basically there is the attitude and mind set and then there are the tools. The concepts and words have been floating in my mind for weeks and in order to reflecting them a bit I started to write them down and noticed that they make up the entire alphabet…or almost.

The ABC of Design Thinking

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The MindTrek 2013 Experience – 5 Take-Aways for Aspiring Service Designers

If you have never attended the MindTrek Festival I do advice you to do so. This year they promised this:

”International three-day forum about the future of tech, knowledge and media. Expand your mind, step into the conversation and share the experience with like-minded”.

Sounds pretty cool don’t you think! This was my third time. I was really looking forward to the few days at Tampere being surrounded by innovators, movers and shakers of digital media and business.

This fall MindTrek teamed up with Technology Entrepreneurship Days so there was plenty of great sessions  to attend. I had the luxury to pick whatever I considered interesting. Here are the best take-aways:

1. Cyber security will change our sense of security and create great opportunities for innovative services
 Jarno Limnéll  gave a lot to think about. He talked about cyber security and well…things that make him angry. Cyber threats will change our overall understanding of security in few years. The thing is that dangerously cyber security is hardly ever a strategic issue. It’s something IT guys and gals should mind about. But Jarno Limnéll wasn’t all angry. Cyber security will create opportunities for new services. Ville Oksanen   even argued that Finland could become the Switzerland of personal data. Finland has a great brand for that. It is the least corrupted nation in the world or close, not a NATO-member (so the big brother won’t be listening that much) and has the only non-US based mobile operating system, Sailfish . Finns should just seize the opportunity and create more services like F-Secures YouNited.

2. Design and user interfaces: make it simple and maybe make it change shape…
Niilo Alftan
the Senior Design Manager of Nokia smartphones said it well. Great design is something that makes you envious; why didn’t I think of that. Great design is about making things appear simple and obvious. Of course it takes tons of work to make things appear simple and easy. And what about shape changing interfaces then? Would it be super fun to sit on a bench that would start to move and change shape? Majken Kirkegaard Rasmussen presented some exciting stuff how physical interfaces can change shape and communicate with users.

3. The age of mass-disruption is transforming media but there is a point in looking back
Service design is a must becauce it’s all about the experience. It’s about creating moments people will love Tommi Pelkonen  Head of Media Solutions at Google Finland stated. Good news for service designers! There is work cause we are living the age of mass-disruption. Current structures are not so valid. Things we thought would never happen will happen. Media is 24/7 everywhere and more visual. We have second screens, but it’s not the personal device that is the second one. It’s primary. But despite all this disruption in the end it’s about people, good stories and relationships. David Cohen gave us an impressive walkthrough in the history of media and entertainment. Sometimes you can start innovating by looking back for things that were innovative but didn’t succeed in their time for some reason. Maybe now it would be a break through.

4. Robotics and robots will be a true game changer. Prepare yourself!
You think internet was a huge thing? Well, robots and robotics will be even a bigger game changer. Cristina Andersson is among other things the curator of Robotics week Finland and she knows about this stuff. She claims that everything that can be robotized will be robotized. Industrial robots are not the growing sector, the service robots are! The legend himself Steve Wozniak hoped that in the future every child could have a personal robot teacher. Woz wasn’t there in flesh but had an inspiring talk over Skype.

5. Vision, talent, culture and leadership is everything
Ever heard of Jolla ? Marc Dillon Head of Software Development gave an inspiring presentation in COSS Open Mind forum focusing mainly on Jolla company culture and leadership. In Jolla there is no space for command and control but plenty of room for meritocracy, openness, transparency, love and passion. The Jolla values are not goals to be achieved somewhere in the future, they are the current practice. And yes, we did see the Jolla phone in action too.

Post by Mervi Rauhala
Aspiring service designer and storyteller who started her SID journey this fall