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Employee experience – same same, but different?

 

In the global conference of service design network, held in Madrid last week, theme was service design at scale. Why was employee experience one of the topics that rise into discussions for the first time at this scale? Is employee experience the same as wellbeing of employees?

Service design is known to be really good in problem solving: creating services, that answer the customer´s unmet need.  But characteristic to this era is that all organizations struggle with large scale implementation especially in non-digital services. Number one reason why change initiative fails is employee resistance and management behavior. In service design terms, delivery phase, but more commonly known as implementation, is the phase, where the recognized reason for failing is the lack of employee adaptation. One answer to this is working with employee experience (EX), which brings service design from strategic level work to practice and explores the topic from the employee, but also from the business side as well.

Continuous change, fast pace of technology development, new tools, channels and methods has led to a situation where employees are really struggling with their workload and are feeling overwhelmed. They are drowning in the amount emails and information coming and are often stuck in ineffective meetings. More and more is added, but are the existing processes and working methods supporting the wanted need?

 

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Slide by Carla Rocha Mohairs , Businers, to point out the the different wants that affects on the employee experience

Designing employee experience can tackle the challenges. It means organizations need to shift their focus on understanding employees´ needs and start designing concepts and solutions from this perspective. If you are now thinking free beer and candy bars, I want to high light that EX investigates it from a far wider perspective: What are your people thinking? What do they say to you? How do they feel? What do they actually do? After understanding the reality and their unmet needs, we should be thinking how can we relief our employees work? As I wrote in my previous post, integrating systems and channels and designing something the future can design further are definitively aspects to consider together with the development of culture and way of working.

Scaling service design

Day one of 10th global service design networks conference kicked off today  by a presentation how to scale service design in government and was ended by the afternoon´s breakout sessions concentrated in social innovation and people power. Louise Downe started by going through themes emerged inside the last 10 years in the field of service design (SD).  Focus has moved from the legitimacy of service design and how to define, what service design is all about, into scaling service design. But still, even today, legitimacy of SD is still recognized as a common problem organizations face, when they start applying service design. Free tip Louise gave- don´t waste your time on this, focus on doing it.  kuva sdn

Louise  and other keynote speakers made really good points by highlighting that the fast pace of technology development has outstripped the speed of design. Design can´t keep in the pace of technology development. It´s not about designer´s ability to design services, but about the ability to scale the design as the transformation is never done. Therefore it´s critical to understand, there are no big fixes, but many little things to be combined. When you scale SD, all the little things become bigger and ultimately the end result and experience can go completely wrong. Continue reading

‘People-Driven City’ – Co-creating the City

Have you ever thought about who owns the city where you live in? That was a striking question for many of us attending ‘People-Driven City’, the international seminar of the urban festival ‘Lähiöfest2017’ (‘Festival for Neighbourhoods’) at the University of Helsinki. Are the owners the ones who have the political power, the businesses, or are they the people who inhabit it, the citizens?

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The seminar brought together experts as well as activists involved in projects that interlace placemaking, city planning, entrepreneurship and community involvement, and it wanted to inspire broader discussion on urban planning and development by presenting varied initiatives from traditional structures to grass-root work. The aim was to look how and where “top-down” and “bottom-up” initiatives can meet, the emphasis being on the areas of the city in the midst of change.

During the day we learned about fascinating international cases. One of them was MakeShift (UK/FR) organization, which designs, builds and manages new public destinations that house communities of local, independent businesses. One of them is Peckham Levels project, which is transforming seven empty levels of a multi-storey carpark into an experimental cultural destination by creating affordable workspace for artists and entrepreneurs. Not to mention the cases of Lola Lik culture hub and The Movement Hotel (NL) run by refugees, both located in Amsterdam at a former prison. In those cases, the deserted places in a city are being taken over by an organization and the people are developing the city with the help of these organizations.

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BELT BOOTCAMP NORRKÖPING 2017

Juha-Pekka Ahvenainen, Markus Alavaikko

We were lucky to be part of the winning team at Digital Wellbeing Sprint (DWS) which took place in Metropolia Leppävaara on August 2017. The first price was an opportunity take part in the third Belt Bootcamp on 18-20 September 2017 in Norrköping, Sweden. We were able to send two of our team members to Norrköping, and due to our personal schedules, those two were us.

The Belt project aims to generate new start-up’s & business entities across boarders by utilizing co-creation methods. BELT BootCamp is a 3-day free event that aims to match-make talents, ideas and start-ups from Sweden, Finland and Latvia with a purpose to establish new cross-border entities and empower co-creation. At Belt Bootcamps start-ups and talents get the opportunity to develop their business ideas and models further with the guidance and support of experienced facilitators and business coaches. The main focus of Belt Bootcamp Norrköping was in different Smart City related themes. You can apply for the next Belt Bootcamp at: https://www.beltproject.net/

 

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Day 0

Our journey started on Sunday 17th of September at 8.30am. After a short flight we had a bus transfer from Arlanda to Norrköping with fellow participants from Latvia and Tampere. On Sunday we had some time to get to know the city. Norrköping looks a lot like Tampere. Both cities are also are well known of the textile industry. A river runs through both cities.

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Trendwatching.com Live Trend Event in London

Some time ago I had the privilege to participate in a massive trend event organized by a trend agency called Trendwatching.com. You might already be familiar with their free online content and monthly briefings (if you are not, check it out!), and in addition to those they provide a subscription based premium service packages and live events all around the world. After using their premium content for some time I was eager to see how they would put together a live show!

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I was most eager to hear about their methodologies in collecting data and analyzing and forecasting trends, and these were all presented first thing in the morning. Trendwatching.com has an army of trendspotters from around the world who spot exiting new innovations and report back to the trend team. The team then matches the new innovations to their existing trend framework to analyze which way the trends are moving and how to update the framework itself. About 90% of spotted things fit this framework, but with the 10 % it gets exciting. Whenever there of these oddballs are found and if they can easily be grouped together, a new trend is created! Even though forecasting is not always simple and straightforward, I quite like this mechanical approach. It can be easily adapted to any organization wanting to find a way to do a little forecasting themselves.

kuva2A simple Venn diagram can be used by anyone to find the sweet spot between needs, drivers and innovations.

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NBF16 – my takeaways

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Last year I attended Nordic Business Forum 2015 thru the live stream and it was an amazing experience. I was so stoked that had to buy a NBF16 seminar pass right away –  I wanted to experience it physically, to hear the keynote speakers live, meet people and be part of the buzz.

Now, after digesting the whole experience for 2 weeks, I’d like to share some of my learnings with you. The four things that are still on my mind are:

Do, do, do =  Only action makes inspiration come true, execution is everything

Choose to matter = Everyone of us is the change, don’t wait for it to happen

Attention on solutions = Solve a problem, don’t concentrate on egos

Values & Trust = Employees 1st, customers 2nd

The main themes at the Nordic Business Forum 2016 (NBF16) were marketing, digitalization and culture . Two days, almost 6,000 people, tens of nationalities – the event was bigger than ever. And well worth the investment in time and money. Full agenda can be found at NBF16.

On marketing and change

Marketing is a service, an emotion and about making a connection. Today mass anything is dead, even niche groups are big enough to target. Scott Galloway continues:

  1. The young and healthy have left the building (=tv). 74% would cancel Netflix if there were ads. The price of freedom – adfree world – is a couple dollars.
  2. Store is the number 1 factor influencing the purchase decision – next come search, CRM and social.
  3. Ratio, heart and genitals drive the decisions. Technology helps reduce pain when you’ve first identified the actual pain points.
  4. Car is a service, Google is a spiritual guide and FB’s for love, empathy and sharing.

His final words were that “lots of things are happening that are not good for us”. Privacy issues and tax evasion are threats if you’re not transparent.

Peter Diamantes asked which problem do you want to solve. Solve and share it – like Uber. Everybody has potential to become extraordinary problem solver with latest tools around like sensors, 3D printing, virtual & artificial reality, genetics etc. But how to the unlock passion to do this?  Unfortunately our governments are the slowest to change as they are the most linear organizations on the planet. But even they can’t regulate against change in the end. We – the people – are the change, in the past citizens have started the biggest changes. And what’s not possible today, will be possible tomorrow.

Gary Vaynerchuk started his keynote stating that we’re still grossly overspending on stuff that we’ve done before. For example by using tv ads to interrupt storytelling. Everything should be about creating value. Communication drives everything and you can only learn by doing. Only action creates results, not inspiration. Do, do, do – test, test, test – and do it again. Try out all the new stuff and think how this could help your business. Create a culture where your employees are better than the competition and figure out a firing policy as well.

This was the first time I heard the godfather of creativity, Seth Godin of the Purple Cow, live. For him marketing is all about creating experience. So are you’re creating something worth mentioning? He focused on the value of teamwork, building trust, co-creation and sharing ideas – a connection economy. Sounds familiar to a service designer.   A few phrases of his that resonated with me:

  • There no such thing as a writer’s block – just bad habits and reluctance to dance with fear.
  • It’s all about creating marketing together, being fully human. Sow ubana – I see you.
  • There are not enough bad ideas to find a few good ones.
  • Do you want to make art or be a copycat?
  • Will you to choose matter?

And of course I have to share his picture of bats having a cocktail party. Certainly made me think of these creatures in a different way.

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Vineet Nayar on culture

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On digital UX research

While navigating through our increasingly digital world, we desire smooth journeys and perhaps a few moments of delight. Our digital UX experiences currently range from visiting websites, making online purchases, using all kinds of apps on our phones and wearables around our wrists, to smart televisions and inbuilt car navigation systems. Over the next few years, technologies like gesture, eye, head and full body tracking, brain-computer interfaces, personalised interfaces, and other new kinds of both implicit and explicit interfaces will add new elements to our digitally powered, everyday lives.

UX researchers make use of our behaviour data collected through interaction with these new technologies  to offer services and products to us that really meet our individual wants and needs. However, transparency, e.g. how and by whom the data is used, is highly important or otherwise trust might be lost forever.

The digital environment

When designing digital environments one should first of all understand the digital media space. Part of this space is the content (what do we offer to our customers), the form (how do we offer it), the person (to whom) and the context in which the interaction takes place.  Depending on your own UX research one element might be in stronger focus than the others, but all of them should be considered when designing new or improving existing digital user experiences.

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Understanding your customers is key 

Designing for everyone is close to impossible. Therefore, you first need to know who your desired main audience is, and then get to know their personal preferences and, as well as possible, also their individual differences.

When conducting digital UX research, there are elements that can be measured. Those include observable behaviours, users’ attitudes, beliefs, thoughts and intentions, as well as patterns within and across consumer groups. Simple ways to find out more about those elements are, for example, observing users while they experience your designed UX and have them narrate the process while they go through it. Like this, it is easy to realise how complex the experience really is and what feelings arise on the journey. In addition, asking the right questions will help to improve user experiences. Researchers should therefore be clear on what they want to find out and if they really want to know the answer(s).

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