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Future of Service Design – does it exist?

Ever thought about this? Is service design just one ism, which comes like a wave: First small, getting strong and then fading away. When reaching the end of its existing curve, the ism is so worn out that no-one even wants to hear the words “service design”.

PaneeliAalto University Executive Education arranged on the 1st of June 2017, on International Service Design Day, networking event around this very interesting theme. Speakers and panelists who game from different backgrounds looked at the topic in a versatile and detailed way. They represented front line service design expertise: Peter Barkman, Managing Director from Palmu Helsinki, Laura Franck, Client Service Director from Hellon, Ulla Jones, Business Designer from OP Financial Group and Pekka Toivonen, CEO of Muotohiomo. Next I will raise some points from the discussion to give some thoughts to this important heading.

Transformation is the point

Service design have to grow from project oriented way of doing to be way of thinking that leads to cultural change and transformation in organization. “Human” and “experience” should be taken as a part of business plan in the organization. The experts see that service design as a concepts and the term might disappear. The content itself becomes an everyday part of organizational approaches and practices. Whatever the term that is used, important is to make measurable changes with goal of creating better experiences and focus on customer.

All in – heterogeneously

Service design has changed the whole design doing. Design is done by co-creating with customers, not alone in a studio. Important in the future is to do together. Create ideas that can be shared. Create feeling of belonging. There is no individual nor group that cannot co-create. Heterogeneous people are needed in design. People with different backgrounds are an asset. Service design wants T-shaped people, who have deep skills in one discipline and broad ability to work outside core area.

More broadly – more deeply

There was also discussion that should service design know how be civic, which is already learned at school. On the other hand experts pointed out that customer understanding will be more professional in the future. Designers should keep themselves at the top of the wave in their ability to answer the needs of changing business environment. One problem that was raised was about in-house design agencies. At the moment large companies have too small design units. There is not enough impact and results remain low. IT-firms have recently bought service design agencies. This raised a question: Is there need for agencies specialized only in design in the future? Maybe maybe not.

Digitalization needs empathy and creativity

In the midst of a strong change due digitalization, human might be forgotten. Empathy skills is needed more than ever. The approach of service design may even be a necessity for organizations to survive in a changing environment. One expert pointed out that “Machine won human in chess, but machine and human won machine in chess.” Ability to communicate separates us from the machine. Human is at his best in creative processes.

Selling and buying skills are crucial

The lack of skills of selling service design to organization and management is huge problem at the moment. Problem is also that service design is hard to buy, people inside the organization do not have service design inquiry skills.  These might be the dead or alive –issues for service design.

New tools and skills are needed

Experts agreed that service design to survive, new service design tools have to be created. Tools that are inspirational and get the whole organization to realize the ongoing change.  To accept vagueness is a necessity in the whole design process. Skills to empty one’s mind, skills to concentrate on the essential even if world around is a mess, is huge asset in the future. Designer with big ears and open mind are wanted. Methods for empathy and listening are needed.

To concentrate on what happened yesterday or what is happening today is not enough. Equipment for futures thinking and foresight is needed. In the future quantitative and qualitative customer understanding are melting together. Qualitative know-how and technology together are the strongest forces for change. In the future artificial intelligence will help a lot in customer understanding. To find customer needs, customer’s own data “My data” will be utilized. Gaming is used as a method for participating and storytelling.  Service design will be more fun, human and creative.

The future exists for service design

As a conclusion, service design as a content will exists in the future. Experts agreed that need for design is endless, challenge is there all the time. There will be evolution in service design doing followed by changes in business environment and due to embedding service design in everyday practice.  Also new tools and broad range of design makers are needed. In the future service design will be heart partner with quantitative methods and technology.

Change management- questions, chipmunks, kick offs and major population

In my previous post I dealt with customer experience management and how CEOs and members of the board discussed about it in a seminar called Customer Oriented Strategies which was held on 16th of March 2017 at Aalto University School of Business. I thought that (at least) one of the seminar presentations deserved its own post.

Kenneth Strömsholm the CEO of Veho Oy, gave very interesting and inspiring presentation about customer experience and change management or how he put it in his title: “Managing Customer Experience and Unbearable Toughness of Change”. He highlighted that you can’t talk about these issues separately. They are bonded to each other. While listening to Mr. Strömsholm, I was thinking that we, service designers, are full of enthusiasm for carrying out our design process. We should also give time, thought and tools to support change in organization. Change resistance can make our efforts, to create amazing or just better customer experiences, worthless.

Kenneth Strömsholm have created four very catching and humorously description of the invisible obstacles of change.

Questions

First obstacle is human nature and how most of the people meet the new situation. He explained that the first three questions people are asking when they are confronting the change for the first time:

  • First question: What does this mean for me?
  • Second question: Still what does this mean for me ?
  • Third question: Could there still be some aspect to figure out what does this mean for me?

Mr. Strömsholm pointed out that as a leader, you can’t underestimate the importance of these questions. You need to accept that these are the questions how people are trying to found out their place in a new situation. You need to give them time and try to find answers to these questions together.

Chipmunk -effect

The second inMaaoravavisible obstacle Mr. Strömsholm has named as a Chipmunk –effect. Chipmunks are in their chips with their heads down and no matter how hard you try to yell your brand new message, the message goes over their heads. You need to repeat your message 11 times. Each time there is a chance that one or even few chipmunks have their heads up and they will actually get the message you are sending.

Kick off

The third obstacle Mr. Strömsholm has named Kick off. He explained this obstacle as follows. It takes seven months for board of directors to build a strategy and five minutes for personnel to understand it wrong. He pointed out that as a director, you can’t expect the personnel to walk away from Kick off –meeting, immediately take their saws and go to work according to your new strategy. After Kick off, the work for getting your strategy alive, starts.

Major population

The fourth obstacle Mr. Strömsholm has named Major population. For people, employers, it’s always easy to agree with the major population. Most of the people are skeptical and thinking: “We should not do anything, eventually these directors will calm down and whole thing about change will be forgotten”. As a director you should just carry on and step by step get the major population behind the change. Then there is only minority left against the change, and nobody wants to be part of minority.

Three phases of change and the feeling

Mr. Kuva1Strömsholm summarized three phases of change. First you need to get information, then you can understand and after that you start to believe. Feelings in the organization are effecting the length and strength of each phase.

Very catchy speech, next time when designing services, I will indeed bond customer experience and change more deeply together…and think about chipmunks.

Building strong customer experience

Kirsi Heikel, the host crystallized the idea of the seminar: Strong customer experience- easier said than done. The seminar was held at Aalto University School of Business on the 16th of March. I was invited to the seminar as an alumni and speaker of the Service Design course organized by Aalto Pro –Aalto University of Professional Development. When listening to seminar’s prestigious group of speakers, I had my service designer lenses on and I compered these directors’ thoughts against design thinking. I was interested how these CEOs, investors, entrepreneurs and professional board of members discussed about importance of customer experience, how high a level do they place customer experience aspect of management and how they actually manage it.

Listen to your customers

Kenneth Strömsholm the CEO of Veho Oy described unambiguous aim of Veho’s experience world as follows: “None of the cars, service, spare parts or car hire cannot remain unsold because of a poor service experience.” Customer experience is one of the cornerstones of the Veho’s success. He gave an example. In the past, the car was always presented in the same way. There was actually specific manual how to give a presentation. Nowadays the most important is to listen to customer’s needs and viewpoints and give specific answers to questions in need. Veho have moved from strict quality manual way of operating to individual and flexible service. Mr. Strömsholm raised digitalization as another example of Veho’s customer experience thinking. He pointed out that digitalization strategy is the best way to separate digital services from all the other services. Services need to be designed as a whole.

Fail and Innovate

Jonas Kjellberg is a serial entrepreneur, investor and one of the founders of Skype-service. Nowadays he is leader of the BCG Digital Ventures. He is a specialist in creating new business models and commercializing new products and services. He started his presentation by saying that he is not going to talk about his successes. He is going to talk about his failures. Because through failures he has learned the most. Mr. Kjellberg discussed about changing the game in the business. He said that every organization spends time and money to efficiency and functionality. How about innovating something that delights your customers? First you need to figure out what is the friction free story you are selling. You need to go to fundamentals.

  • What customers love?
  • How to use new technology?
  • How to innovate in zeros? Remember: Innovate don’t imitate

Keep it simple

XXL

Toni Stigzelius is CEO of XXL Finland. He has been responsible for launching the XXL chain in Finland. In his presentation, he raised three rules to build good customer experience in XXL.

  • Keep it simple stupid. Simplicity in process and easiness to navigate.
  • Listen. 70 % of sales is interaction and emotion.
  • Attitude. Employees can learn all about the sports equipment, but attitude you can’t change.

After the presentations I took my designers lenses off and I still saw the same. Jihaa, we are talking the same language with these successful leaders: listening, designing as a whole, customer needs first, failure is for good, innovation not imitation, simplicity and magnificent attitude!

Living in a bubble

Ever worked in a multidisciplinary team? Everything worked out well, people got along and you achieved amazing results together? Or maybe there were some challenges along the way?

Service Design Network Finland organised an event at Futurice on 14th of March about the power of multidisciplinary teams. In a service design spirit, there was both talking and doing.

We had  several insights from both in-house and agency service design on the topic. Eeva Raita from Futurice was talking about embracing difference in creative team work. People are attracted to similarity. If you’re a designer , you like to hang out with other designers. IT people spend time with other IT people. The problem is that too much cohesion is bad for creativity. Desire for harmony makes people inhibit their pursue of new ideas and strategies. We all live in bubbles and there’s nothing wrong with that. But to be able to work creatively in a multidisciplinary team you need to step out of the bubble. How to do that?

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There was a mini-brainstorming workshop on working with multidisciplinary teams. Each team was brainstorming on challenges they had faced and possible solutions. Almost all teams came up with some kind of game ideas. One idea for example was that the team would play escape room game together. Many of the ideas were so called  “happy poops”.

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Here are the results from my teams brainstorming session:

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I think that game idea works well because it helps to break the ice in the team when you have some some fun before getting your hands dirty on real work.

Tuija Ojanen from Palmu shared a good point that you need customers voice to work together. Plan, participate and iterate with end-customer. Don’t forget to include the business controller of end-customer in steering group. For the steering group (who have the money but no time) give small individual comments from customers, not result summaries.

Digitalising Everything

On August 18th I had the pleasure to participate in Aalto University’s annual Make it Digital! event. Having visited the event already last year I greatly enjoyed both the event’s and the university’s focus on the Internet of Things – its impact on transforming business models, enhancing customer centricity, and the application of service design were the themes which I was looking forward to this year. Aalto has clearly understood that digitalisation is the way forward, with more than 100 professors being involved in the subject and ICT in general, and good ties that bring students and researchers together with relevent businesses.

“The technology is ready…are we? We have no choice, we have to take control.”

This year’s keynote presentation by Dr. Martin Curly, Professor and Former Director of Intel Labs Europe, provided an overview of what it means to make everything digital. He shed light on three colliding key mega trends the world is seeing right now: Digital transformation, mass collaboration, and sustainability. He emphasized that industries which were established and shaped during over a century are now going to be re-architected in just under one decade by these trends and the new business models they make possible.

aalto

Looking at digital transformation, powered by the Internet of Things (IoT), businesses switch from manufacturing and selling products to offering intelligent services to their customers. The IoT further means that products are not just physical objects anymore. They also have a digital side which is actually much more important than the mere physical object. The digital counterpart, enabled by IoT platforms, collects, stores, analyses and controls all kinds of information coming from the object, its environment and how it is being used by its owner. This technological leap enables mass collaboration: people to people, people to machines, machines to people, and machines to machines. It brings a major change in our interaction with everyone and everything.

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My Service Design day 19.5.2016

CASE OP / 9.15 am – 10.45amNäyttökuva 2016-05-21 kohteessa 12.12.05

Thursday 19th of May I participated OP Bank´s service design 90 minutes seminar at Radisson Blu Hotel in Kamppi. Harri Nieminen introduced us the world of OP and their new strategy behind OP´s customer service. OP has almost 180 banks all over the Finland. They also offer services for their customers from insurance and health care section. One of the most important competitive actors in customer service 2016  is customer experience. For this reason you must know your customers very well. Today´s challenge is not only customer´s service experiences but also technology. Digital world offers and creates new competition worldwide. People are asking service in different ways than before.

Näyttökuva 2016-05-21 kohteessa 11.28.28

Channel experience © harrimatias #OPmuotoilu

 

To get there what people are waiting for, OP works together with several designers and listens carefully their own customers. Empathy is cornerstone. At OP their want to create services that are meaningful and loveable, they want to solve existing problems together with their customers. For this as a method OP use OP Design Sprint. Design Sprint is 3 days hands on working together with customers: day1 is learning, day 2 is creating, and day 3 is testing.

Harri Nieminen says: ”If we don’t understand and validate needs of our customers, we concentrate easily for wrong details” “Designer is a trustee of client”.

For me message of this seminar was clear and loud – OP Service design is making things visible and understandable, doing in practise in OP world.

CASE DesignersDay2016 / 2pm-6pm

At the same day I participated for DesignersDay 2016 at Apollo Club, Helsinki, organized by Kesko. Idea behind this day was networking with different type of designers. This evening I was privileged to listen lectures from Dutch designer Gunther Bauer and Finnish Service Design expert Juha Tuulaniemi.

Mr Bauer talked about his own company “Pimp my shop”.

His motto “Learn by doing” has brought him in to retail designing. Through Amsterdam based company Finishing Dutch retail design he has worked together for example big cosmetic and beauty shop Etos in NL. In his example during the lecture I found it fascinating how he added music in his slides while telling us about his project; music to attract our senses! Just like you should do when designing services to people; To get their attention you have to catch the people. Mr Bauer used music to catch up our attention! “You must attract! You have to communicate! You have to be there! Customer wants value and you must answer their needs!” – this was bottom line from Gunther Bauer underlined with Ikea commercial.

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How to make drinking water cool

I’ve always liked challenges and when I learnt that Laurea Leppävaara will be hosting the Global Service Jam in February 2016 I decided to take part. So far, I’ve been pretty much a novice in service design, but I like the idea of “learning by doing”, which is a key element of service design and the motto of Laurea. The 48-hour workshop started with an interesting lecture about empathy and how it can be efficiently used in service design. After the lecture we were tense and unsure what the future (evening) holds. The only thing we knew was that within the next few minutes the global Jam theme would be pronounced. The minutes were long and I felt like time just slows down. My heart rate increased by the minute, I was so excited! When the theme was finally released I guess I was not the only one who was totally flabbergasted. They announced the theme in a form of sound that sounded like something had just dropped into water. After that, we (jammers) were instructed to write down one problem which first comes to our mind around this theme. The best ideas were selected by scoring them. Every jammer then chose the most interesting idea out of them and teams were built.

team coolWater

The main problem of our team concerned how to reduce the usage of water bottles (plastic bottles). At the same time we wanted the user look cool when using the bottle. While brainstorming, ideas were eagerly exchanged, laugh could not be avoided and it was funny to note that most of the team members carried plastic water bottles with them. Eventually, we came up with an idea to create an intelligent, cool looking reusable water bottle, coolWater, which can be filled up at coolWater refill stations. We did not want to concentrate only on the appearance but also on the material. The bottle needs to be durable, ecological and easy to carry.  This led us to consider a brand new smart, carbon fibre bottle. We also thought about today´s technology. The coolWater bottle has a sensor which is connected to the user´s smartphone. It provides current data, for example the amount of bacteria inside the bottle and alerts when the bottle needs to be washed. From the health perspective, when the user grabbs the bottle it measures his/her level of hydration and sends the information to the user´s coolWater app.

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Finally, last but not least, the bottle label can be personalized. The users can download their own photos into the label which is made of electronic paper. Besides the intelligent bottle, we wanted to create a user-friendly app. By using the coolWater app the user can easily order the bottle with the features he/she likes and the navigation system helps finding the nearest coolWater refill station which can be found on airports, shopping centers, gyms, schools, etc. Therefore, the users are not forced to refill their water bottles in the public restrooms anymore.

In order to understand the need for this kind of intelligent water bottle, we conducted a consumer survey at shopping center Sello. We got a lot of good feedback and most of the participants told us they would buy the bottle if made available. The participants felt that the most important features of the bottle were cleanliness, easy washing and a personalized layout.

As we know, 48 hours is a very short time to create a totally new service design but we made it! We were able to draft business model canvas for coolWater, create personas according to consumer research and make a video which presented the prototype.

persoonat

Our team had a lot of talent for which I am truly thankful. But we were not the only ones. 48 hours of work culminated in great presentations which all had something unique and innovative for the listeners.

Now, few weeks later I am still smiling. 🙂 It was just phenomenal to work with people you did not know before and build the best group spirit ever. Thank you to my teammates Karolina, Laura, Hanna, Mika, and Jouni for making this possible. I would also like to thank our mentors whose support was supervaluable. Last but not least, a warm thank you to the organizers of this event, you made it memorable. All the information I gathered about service design within these 48 hours is now in use in my daily work. I can easily say this was one the best experiences in my life and I want to say to anyone who has the opportunity to take part in the jams in the future, go for it!