This is my experience from the Service Design Global Conference 2014 in Stockholm 7-8th October with the topic Creating value for quality of life. Because I arrived to Stockholm already on Monday 6th October for participating to pre-events the experience for me was three full days of inspiration and learning. Those days included many interesting talks and speakers and most of them were very inspiring. Couple practical workshops where I had the opportunity to try new methods. Meeting new people and have great discussions with them. Sharing ideas and knowledge and learning from others. The best part was that I could do all that with many of my fellow students what made this experience even better for me. I was surprised how much energy you can get from the people who share the same interest: Service Design. Here are some of my takeaways from the conference.
How we can improve quality of life with the Service Design? and how we can make the difference with it? First of all it needs lots of changes in organizations. Good question was that where should Service Design belong in organization and the answer was simply: everywhere. We should start from the top when we want to start change in the organization, but at the same time we need to prove the power of Service Design for all levels. One suggestion was that we could start introducing Service Design with some small easy project which is easy to make it real fast after ideation. That would be practical way to show how it works and that it really works. Stop thinking, start doing someone said in the panel discussion and I believe that is what we need to do.
We need also good measurements to show the results of the Service Design. We heard many interesting ideas about that and I found particularly Nathan Schedroff’s talk about total value very interesting. We should remember that the customers appreciate more qualitative values when business looks more about quantitative values. In the end of the day quantitative values; price and function, is only the top of the ice-berg when we are looking the total value.
Related to changes in the organizations, very interesting topic in the conference and I think a hot topic in otherwise also at the moment is the employee engagement. Before we can make difference with the Service Design we need corporate culture which enables employees to do so. I think it is quite obvious for many that happy employees means happy customers. And eventually that means better results for the company, but how many companies really put efforts to that? We heard very inspiring talk from Mark Levy from Airbnb when he told how they are doing it at Airbnb. Especially I liked the goldfish rule which he presented that love your customers and employees like yourself, do little extras and give little bit more.
This blog post is a part of SID course The Current Topics in Service Design and it’s written by SID student Minna Myyryläinen.
I participated in the first Service Design Achievement Award seminar on 22nd of January which was hosted by Katri Ojasalo from Laurea and Håkan Mitts from Aalto. The event took place at Aalto Design Factory. Five Finnish service design agencies participanted in the competition, and they had presented their best projects in the last fall’s Service Design Breakfast seminars. The agencies were Palmu, Reaktor, User Intelligence, N2 Nolla and Diagonal.
Of course the main thing in this event was the announcement of the winner of the Service Design Achievement of Year, but before that we got to enjoy some interesting presentations.
The theme for the day was designing and developing better services – a buyer’s guide. For me this was very interesting because we have just talked with our SID 2013 group about how to sell service design for our employers and for some of us for their clients, and on the other hand I was interested in the buyers view on behalf of my work.
One common topic for the discussion was that service design is not really anymore just design but it is combination of design, marketing, technical and business competences. Like Anton Schubert from Futurice introduced to us that in the future service design agencies should have competences from each of these areas in their teams to really create value for the end users. He also said that agencies will provide more “full house” services for their clients. Jasmin Honkanen from Turku School of Economics introduced her findings from her Master thesis with the topic “Why are companies buying service design?”, and also she had found out that it is really important to combine service design and business in the future.
How many people we have in this room? This was the first question asked in our workshop with the topic Leading through change, uncertainty and chaos. At that time I didn’t have any clue what we’re going to do in this workshop. So, there were 15 people and we were asked to divide in to two groups with same amount of women and men and we had to make sure that we don’t know each other before.
‘Here are instructions for the game we’re going to play today. Read them carefully together outside of the room in ten minutes and make sure everyone knows the rules of the game when you come back’, our workshops facilitator said. Ok, so we’re going to play some game here, I thought and we went to read the instructions. Because of the limited time, one of us, read them aloud and rest of tried to understand the idea of the game. I was confused, I didn’t understand what the game was all about, it sounded like chess, but with different rules.
Today customers are expecting solutions from businesses and we have to be able to provide those to them, not just by guessing and assuming what they would like to have but to creating those with them.
With our visitor lecturers, founder of FORTH innovation method Gijs van Wulfen and Design Professor and Entrepreneur in Creative Industries Prof. Katja Tschimmel, we learned about Design Thinking and design thinking tools in very practical way. On our Master class on 13-14th of September with our first study unit “Design thinking” we did with them an innovation assignment which was to create new products or services for Laurea Leppävaara campus to make it a better place to be, learn and live.
At first Katja introduced couple new ways to get know each other better in our new group. Gijs tells about the perfect innovation team in his book “The innovation expedition, a visual toolkit to start innovation” and that was very interesting. I think it’s very important to get right people to get new ideas because if you gather every time the same group of specialists in to the same innovation assignment, you will easily end up with the same ideas every time.
We started our assignment in small groups after we got some theoretical information about design thinking tools and Gijs van Wulfen’s FORTH innovation method. First we did mind mapping for finding opportunities, but I think most of us were heading straight to finding solutions for the problems what we discovered. After that we did photo safari for observing our opportunities and visual research from internet and we put it together for a mood board.
Then it was time to raise ideas using brain writing. At this point we needed to be very open minded and think out of the box to create some real innovations. We put our ideas to the wall in turns and when we were lacking of new ideas we started to combine different pictures from the mood board to get new ideas. Finally we selected our ideas in silence by putting best ideas nearer to our target and I found this way was very good to find out what the group’s joint vision is with regards to new business concept.
I participated in the Reaktor’s first Design day on 3rd of October in Helsinki and it took place in event center Telakka. Reaktor is a Finnish design & software house. Design day was great opportunity for me to learn and to share ideas with other participants. The whole event was very inspirational and energetic and I have to say that the arrangements for the day were excellent. Here are the speeches which I picked from the program.
The day started with Ryan Singer’s speech about “How to focus your product design”. Ryan is a leader at 37signals which has made for example a project management tool Basecamp. Next speaker was Henrik Rydberg from Shapeways . He talked about “Failceed”, that it is OK to fail when you’re creating something new and it is necessary when creating something new. Creativity needs safe place for play and find out was it good idea.