Archive by Author | paulalaitio

Health Design 2018

Event: Health Design 2018, Experience Better Healthcare

Time: 29.11.2018, 9.30 – 18.00

Place: Aalto Learning Centre

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I need to start this post with a disclaimer: I happened to got a free ticket for this event, which I’m very happy of, since I don’t feel that the event was worth of the actual price of 150€. For a free event it was interesting, though, and provided useful information especially for those planning to enter the health tech field as a designer or an entrepreneur.

The event consisted of a panel discussion with healthcare professionals and several keynotes approaching the subject from different angles. I identified a couple of themes that were brought up by the speakers througout the presentations and will discuss each of the themes separately.

Clinical relevance

The key to success for any healthcare application that is quite unique to the field is clinical relevance. Products and services dealing with health need to provide 100% patient safety as the first priority. It is also good to remember that the primary users of many health tech solutions are actually doctors and nurses, not the patients. You need the doctors and nurses to trust the devices and applications they use as that provides trust to the patients as well.

In order to achieve the trust and relevance amongst medical experts a product/service needs to go through a number of regulatory tests and get medical approvals. This is not a straightforward process and needs strong support from influencial people from the very beginning.

Creating common language

In addition to the official approvals, you need to find a common language between the doctors and technology. You need to understand both what the doctors need and what the technology enables and combine those to provide added value.

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From random ideas to added value

In addition to creating a common language between the doctors and the technology, you also need to involve patients, their family and caretakers as well as other stakeholders. There are often strong opinions when one’s health or life is at stake, which is why designers need to carefully read between the lines to find the true needs.

Multi-disciplinary collaboration

In order to be able to create a common language between all stakeholders, you need to collaborate. Collaboration starts with finding the right collaborators: you need to have the right people in your team to do the right stuff. In the field of health tech you should include people with both clinical and technical perspectives as well as both pragmatic and visionary people.

It is not enough to have the right people in your own team but you also need to collaborate with the end users in an authentic environment. Testbeds in hospitals enable feedback and can falsify and stop dangerous ideas.

Health tech applications, such as the Oura ring, often aim for changing people’s behaviour. That’s not an easy task, especially if the actual change happens outside the product and the product only measures the change, and it requires experts on various fields, such as UX designers, behaviour change experts, storytellers and data scientists.

Active role of the patient

Every healthcare application aims for the best patient experience. This is achieved by bringing the patient in the centre of all activities. Healthcare is transforming from good-dominant to service-dominant logic, which requires co-creative approaches with the patients.

HUS Virtual Hospital aims for giving a more active role to the patient and putting more activities to the internet in order to save resources for quality care when it’s really needed.

Noona application for cancer care is designed for patients with patients, using user research, testing and user panels actively. Noona thinks that everybody in the team should interact with the patients, not only the designers.

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Noona brings cancer patients to the centre of their design.

In the end, all business goals, technological achievements and design efforts in the field of healthcare should aim for patient safety. This can only be achieved by true patient-centricity.

Other insights

I gathered some insights from the presentations that are relevant for health designers and entrepreneurs but for anyne else working in the field of design as well:

  1. Thing big, network and go global
  2. Be brave and believe in yourself
  3. Give people choices
  4. Provide a safe environment
  5. Ask for another opinion

More information and ideas:

https://www.healthdesign.fi/

https://experience.aalto.fi/

https://www.terveyskyla.fi/tietoa-terveyskyl%C3%A4st%C3%A4/virtuaalisairaala-2-0-hanke/the-virtual-hospital-2-0

Engaging customers in developing digital services

Event: Kuinka osallistat asiakkaat digipalveluidesi kehittämiseen? (How to engage your customers in developing your digital services?)

Time: 10.12.2018, 8.30 – 11.30

Place: Helsinki Region Chamber of Commerce

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Helsinki Region Chamber of Commerce has organized a series of events related to digitalisation, out of which this was the 6th one. I haven’t participated the previous events but will definitely keep my eyes open for the next ones now that I got to enjoy this free event where we were served with inspiring presentations as well as both breakfast and brunch. Perfect!

Introduction

The event was opened by Maarit Heikkilä from Digital Discovery. She gave us insights about why service design has become so popular lately and shared her experiences in the industry.

According to Maarit, we live in a time where the customer has finally been brought in the centre of all processes. This has happened mainly due to three reasons:

  1. Unlimited supply of products and services from all over the world
  2. Recommendations and transparency through social media
  3. Customer experience as a relevant competitive factor

Maarit also went through the service design process and the importance of its steps. Some key points from her were that if we don’t define the problem, we won’t get proper solutions, and that we should bravely put even the wildest ideas to test with customers as soon as possible in order to receive feedback and fix things based on that.

Service design at Kesko

The first keynote presentation was held by Kesko’s Lead Service Designer, Harri M. Nieminen. Even though the event focused on digital services, Harri wanted to point out that digitality is not a value in itself but rather a means of doing things. We should take advantage of the digital possibilities but not let digitality restrict us. It is also important to align the experiences in digital and physical channels as the customer won’t separate those two but will choose the channel that serves their current needs in the best possible way.

A project often starts with a request for an application. However, according to Harri, you should first create brilliant content and only then decide a suitable channel for it. A reponsive webpage can actually be a lot better option than an app – you don’t need to download anything or make room for another app in your already full phone. Especially when some content is needed only for a certain time period, you can do like Slush did and go for a webpage instead of an application.

The key factor in service design is a customer-centric way of thinking. The world is full of tools and methods but it doesn’t make sense to utilize them unless you sincerely want to make things better for the customer. If you are able to put yourself in the shoes of the customer you’ll also design the services more objectively. Often it also requires reading between the lines: if the customer requests a fix for a symptom X, it might actually be better to solve Y that is causing the symptom. Harri also presented us with the holy trinity of creating successful services: business for viability, technology for feasibility and design for desirability. If one of these viewpoints is missing, it will be difficult to succeed.

Like Maarit, also Harri brought up that solving problems is hard (and often takes a lot of money and resources), so you’d better be sure that you’re solving the right problem. It is important to empathize before defining anything, and you shouldn’t be scared of half-baked assignments – the assignment can and maybe even should change during the process. It is sometimes hard to prove the value of discovery to a non-designer, and it can be more difficult to get a 50k budget for investigating if something is worth investing into than the actual investment of 500k or more.

According to Harri, trying things out even just out of curiousity is always worth it. You will always learn something during the process.

Transformation at Yle

Mirette Kangas from Yle talked about their transformation towards a customer-centric, agile culture. Three key insights from her presentation were as follows:

  1. It is not enough to learn methods, tools and customs but you need to change yourself
  2. It is not enough for a leader to enable change but they need to promote it and lead from the front
  3. Culture of experimentation is not about senseless experiments but systematic doing

 

All in all the event was inspiring, and especially Harri’s presentation was a good overview of current trends and considerations in service design. I was also happy to notice that there wasn’t really anything totally new to me but I could feel myself as an equal expert in the audience, listening to a colleague.

More information and ideas:

https://digitaldiscovery.io/

Kesko’s customer community Kylä: https://k-kyla.fi/

Yle Lean Culture Toolkit: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1NkGRe-YACIcxextpkZLD-HTydZ1ifPyY/view

Designing social robots

Event: Social Robotics Breakfast

Time: 29.10.2018, 8.30 – 11.30

Place: Futurice, Helsinki

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Social Robotics Breakfast organized by Futurice brought together people enthusiastic about robots, design and plentiful breakfasts, so no wonder I was there as well.

Introduction to Social Robotics

The morning started with a panel discussion about social robotics. The panel consisted of human experts involved in social robotics research as well as Momo the Robot – Futurice’s very own social robot used for experimenting the different aspects of social interaction between people and robots. I had seen videos of Momo before and I knew that there’s a human behind the screens making Momo talk, but seeing it live was still an interesting experience. I somehow felt like it was Momo speaking despite knowing it’s just a “robot-shaped loudspeaker”.

What is a Social Robot?

The panel started by defining a social robot as a robot whose main task is to interact with humans, which is why designing social robots should be human-centric, not technology-centric. Human-centricity tends to lead into designing human-like robots even though that wouldn’t be technologically reasonable. However, human-like robots are often perceived as “slightly weird humans” having their own personality and characteristics, which may lead into unrealistic expectations towards the robot. Social robot designers definitely need to think about how to set the expectations to correct level and clearly express what the robot is capable of.

The New Era of Robotics

According to the panel, a new era of robotics is about to begin. Robots are no longer restricted in the factories but operate among us, which means that a new social layer is needed to enable safe and comfortable interaction between humans and robots. Even the infrastructure may need to change to accommodate the needs of robots moving around. All this requires cooperation between engineers, designers, UX experts and other professionals. People have traditionally divided things into three categories: non-living things, living animals and humans. Ultimately this new era of robots could even lead into a fourth category of robots emerging.

Social Robotics in Health Care

Niina Holappa from Prizztech, Mika Koverola from the University of Helsinki and Minja Axelsson from Futurice shared their experiences from designing and researching social robots in health care.

Ethical considerations had a strong emphasis in all presentations during the day. With more traditional robots used in diagnostics and logistics or for clinical and rehabilitative purposes, the traditional etchical criteria such as safety and price are sufficient. However, with new types of social robots enabling telepresence, assisting and accompanying the patients, new considerations related to e.g. privacy, fear, affection and confusion need to be dealt with.

Overall the attitude towards health care robots of both the patients and the personnel is tolerant, but there are also worries. The biggest worries of the patients are the lack of knowledge and the fear of losing human contact, whereas the personnel is worried about being replaced with technology and not getting enough technical support.

Summarized, a social robot is ethical if it is supportive and can be used voluntarily.

Creating a social robot

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The event ended with a quick workshop where we got to design our own social robots with the help of Futurice’s Social Robot Design Toolkit. The toolkit consisted of different canvases that guided us from defining the user group and their needs to thinking about different problems and solutions as well as defining our design guidelines and finally creating the robot design MVP.

The canvases loosely followed the double diamond process, though we of course didn’t have time for actual research or user testing. There were also elements specific to robot design such as thinking about the sensors and communication technologies, and defining the possible problems and solutions also from the robot point of view. Also ethics were strongly present on almost each of the canvases.

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Our team came up with Bud – a personalized companion for kids with chronic diseases. Bud welcomes the kids in the hospital and supports them during their patient journey, maybe even turning the unpleasant hospital visits into something cool and enjoyable.

Due to the limited time reserved for the workshop we unfortunately didn’t have time to go through all the canvases properly. However, the process brings a nice human-centric touch to designing robots and I would definitely like to try it again – though as a M.Sc. in automation technology I would only use it as an additional thought provoker to the technical design.

More information and ideas:

https://www.futuricerobotics.com/

https://spiceprogram.org/other-encounter/

Palmu Society: 10+10 – The Future of Service Design

Event: Palmu Society: 10+10

Time: 20.9.2018 klo 8.30-13

Place: Tennispalatsi, Helsinki

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The service design agency Palmu, now part of Solita, celebrated their 10th anniversary with an inspiring event that brought Palmu’s talented professionals on stage to discuss the next 10 years of service design and related topics from various angles.

Designing things is natural for people. It started with designing artefacts and physical items and has expanded to designing services, organizations and what not. “Is there anything that can’t be designed?”, asked Maria Niemi, one of the hosts in the event, and continued “or do we designers just consider us as gods that can do anything?”. Having started my journey in the field of service design less than a year ago and feeling still very enlightened, I’m prone to believe that everything can be designed. Judging by the presentations, the experts at Palmu seem to feel the same, but when everything is possible, the real questions are actually what should be designed and by whom.

Some key themes that were present throughout the day were:

  1. The balance between business value and the value for the customer
  2. Diverse teams
  3. Making an impact

As Esa Rauhala, Palmu’s SVP of Design, said in his opening speech: “The more wicked the problem, the more versatile skills and knowledge are needed to solve it”. He also pointed out that there’s a long way from sketches and concepts to actually changing things – and that Palmu really wants to make the changes happen, which is why they’ve taken a broader approach to service design by e.g. bringing in business people and Solita’s resources to help their designers achieving the best results.

From service design to behaviour design

The first keynote was held by Palmu’s service designer Johannes Hirvonsalo. He took us on a walk down memory lane by telling how Palmu brought service design to Finland 10 years ago. Continue reading