They say the best way to become a great service designer is to participate in as many service design contests and hands on happenings as possible. It was what I thought when Minna Myyryläinen, one of my SID Laurea fellow students, brought the idea to join the openfin Hack and Ideathon competition in Espoo.
Finally our team, addition to Minna and me, included Antti Kytö and Jaakko Porokuokka, all SID13 Laurea students. I knew – despite none of us being a real hacker in code – this team could do anything related to creating awesome business concepts using our service design methods and toolkits. Luckily later the hacking part was completed when I persuaded my colleague and friend Lassi Jatkola to join our team. Before the event itself the team studied trends and innovations in the financial sector and shared views and ideas through chat.
Getting ready for the challenge
On Friday 26th the team gathered to the app campus premises and prepared itself for the 22 hour challenge ahead. Me and Jaakko had already agreed to stay overnight at the app campus as it was offered as a possibility by the competition rules.
Team preparing for the challenge
Aalto OpenFin project manager Mojtabaei Renani Mahnoush said the welcome words and wished all participants good luck. Next was Juha Viljakainen’s, from OP-Pohjola, time to give some background on OP-Pohjola and the financial service sector generally, its history and challenges.
The competion rules and three categories were introduced by Jouni Lähteenmäki from OP-Pohjola. The categories included:
consumer app innovation zone
entrepreneur app innovation zone
business ecosystem infrastructure innovation zone.
The competitors would be evaluated by financial aspect, market potential, business model viability and how realistically it could be implemented. In addition presentation with surprise factor and impressive demo would get extra credits. Final word was given Futurice’s Riku Valtasola, who explained how the business idea to concept works in the company he represents.
It wasn’t any given normal day it was the very second day for the Service Innovation and Design studies at Laurea. We’re all gathered up in our class room. Our lecturers and facilitators Gijs van Wulfen and Prof. Katja Tschimmelfor this two day’s Design Thinking course were presented to us. Unlike normally lecturers would just introduce themselves but this time they introduced each other which I thought was fun and different. This already gave some hint on that this wasn’t going to be any ordinary two-day-course.
Since our class didn’t mostly know each other beforehand they had planned some nice activities for us to get acquainted. Our multinational group was e.g. placed in big hall and we would take places there based on our home country’s geographical position. In smaller groups we did some sketching and telling stories about ourselves using post-it notes. This really prepared us for the great tasks that were ahead for us in the course not to mention the other tasks we’d do in the future.
During the class I learned about different tools that can be used to observe current situation in design thinking process as photo safari and mood board. Also mind mapping method was used (which was already familiar to me from my Finnish studies in high school). There we actually saw ourselves that it’s very important to have facilitator guidance in the beginning of each task so that group won’t get the wrong idea and won’t go to wrong direction – especially when time is limited.
Design thinking is usually a process including different developing stages – usually from three to five. These stages usually being: observing the current situation in a way or another, collecting the data, making prototypes and testing new ideas (failing and re-testing) – design thinker usually places bets fast (instead of measuring one and cutting twice) (Liedtka, Jeanne & Ogilvie, Tim 2011. Designing for growth). Once concept is proved as working and accepted – launching it to the market.
My group’s service designed campus restaurant/cafe concept
Katja Tschimmel had presented various Design Thinking models in her research paper (Tschimmel, Katja 2012. Design Thinking as an effective Toolkit for Innovation) but I liked the most the “What is, What if, What wow and What works” -model presented in Designing for growth book I read related to this course (Liedtka, Jeanne & Ogilvie, Tim 2011. Designing for growth). It’s easy to remember and methods presented related to each stage were presented in visual and easily understandable way.
The next week after the design course I had an opportunity to facilitate one mind mapping and target tool (as presented by Katja) session related to a small project at work. During the session I learned that it’s quite hard (if not impossible) to facilitate and think new ideas at same time. Also as I learned during the course it’s good to have diverse group of people in design thinking sessions. Again in my own innovation session the most interesting ideas came from a person who didn’t like design thinking session at all in the first place! After the session I felt like a winner – not only I was already able to use the skills I had learned from the school but get some results out of it too.
Mikko Jäppinen and Heikki Savonen, service designers from service design company Palmu Inc (along with Pasi Sihvonen from University of Helsinki) presented their latest project: “University of Helsinki, make us simple, please?” in Service design breakfast event in Start-up Sauna in Espoo, Finland.
University of Helsinki: “Make us simple, please?”
University of Helsinki had hired (after a public tender) Palmu to redesign their researchers’ administrative life. Pasi Sihvonen gave some background about the highly bureaucratic world that researchers have to live in order to get everything running. Pasi told that one day less admin work per project comes around 1,5 million euros savings per year. Competition with universities is tough and in order to keep up with the others they decided to start tackling this area.
Heikki Savonen tells in detail what’s happening. Currently they’ve interviewed around 50 researchers, facilitated over 10 workshops. They’ve tried to dig in to deeper to heads of researchers. To see what the problems are – trying to find out what is working and what is not. Profiles have been created to understand behavior of different researchers. “Most challenging work was to get academic to be normal and try out and learn from try outs”, he says. Also communication about the project around the university has been challenging.
CGI (former Logica) provided a half day workshop / get-together for some Finnair and CGI staff in Finnair’s premises on Friday 30 September. They had invited their own service designer (UX Lead) Markku Myllylahti to explain about service design and some projects where they had used service innovation and UX design methods.
In presentation itself Markku told that user experience design is started by defining user, goals and context and need to know who, where and when. UX design in digital concept consists of visual design, user interface design including navigation and how all the information is presented. He emphasized that visual beauty isn’t it all but how the user interface has to work in logical way, too. Also he said that user needs need to be identified but not all ideas or requirements are always economically feasible. He mentioned Jesse James Garret as good author regarding UX design.
Regarding service design Markku explained that it’s about how the individual feels how the service experience was. According to him it’s about finding out the different scenarios and what is happening with users and what kind of environment. Using collected information to create new concepts and solutions. Markku said that service design enables cost savings by improving the user experience. It makes use of time more efficient and initially leads to better product quality and company brand value.