Facilitation is the key of service design projects. According to Schein (1990) facilitation is a process of HELPING, putting more emphasize on inquiry of the problem, and combining methods that will help facilitator be enabler, not a leader of the process with the approach of owning the problem. In the last project I became a part of (with team of 7 other facilitators) I tried to follow this rule. Continue reading
Is 2018 going to be the year of Virtual Reality? Jeremy Dalton, the Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality Lead for PWC, wants to believe, but doesn’t think the public is ready yet.
Last week I attended a series of lectures in London about Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (VR) and how companies are using them at the moment and in the future to develop their services. The key speakers were Jeremy Dalton (Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality Lead for PQC) and Sylvain Reiter (Cyber-Duck).
How are Virtual and Augmented Reality being used?
According to Dalton and Reiter, Virtual and Augmented Reality are quickly becoming effectives way of offering unbelievable customer experiences, but also for companies to develop their services. The speakers talked about many how VR and AR are being used by companies from the auto industry to journalism and movies. Brands like IKEA, Barclays, Star Wars and Volvo are already using them in creative and experimental ways.
Virtual and Augmented Reality elements are being used in production line testing and to drive consumer sales, for example with mobile apps that let users put furniture in the own homes in the right scare or in real estate projects for visualization of not yet built houses. However in the USA Walmart is also using Virtual Reality for training purposes by giving their employees the possibility to learn in real life situations, and a UK based company used it in high court to illustrate how a traffic accident had occurred.
Virtual and Augmented reality can also be a force for social change. In the UK it is used to fight racial biases by making the user by giving them a change to experience bodyswapping or dealing with people from different countries. Virtual reality has also been called “The Great Empathy Machine“. United Nations has used it to put people in the shoes of immigrants for them to understand their experiences in a completely new way.
Taking VR and AR to the next level?
Even with all the new VR and AR experiences the public is receiving from different players in the field, the speakers reminded us that there are still many barriers for people adapting this new technology. At the moment they list four main areas for further development.
- The Cost
According to the speakers at the moment there are three different ways of users getting the VR and AR experience: home based technology, VR headset units such as Oculus Go and portable smartphone based technology. Dalton and Reiter however believe that the cost of using and developing VR and AR needs to be brought down. The technology is complex and in order to receive a high quality VR experience one must have a high quality headset, which is still expensive.
- The User experience
At the moment the speakers feel that the user experience hasn’t been optimized in terms of the technical delivery. Especially with Virtual Reality, the technology is still complicated to use, when is should be easy and intuitive. Moving in the virtual world doesn’t always work in the best possible way, and in order to get a high quality optical experience, one might need a large and heavy headset.
Since VR and AR are still new technologies, there is a limited amount of good content out there. Companies are developing more and creating new experiences, but lack of user base means lack of content which doesn’t drive commercial sales. This leads to companies not adapting this technology in the services.
Adapting to new technologies takes time. According to the speakers, even though Virtual and Augmented Reality have been around as concepts for years (you might have seen it in Star Trek when you were younger), it was 2012 when they really began to catch on. However, there are still many misconception and misunderstandings about the technologies. People might think VR is only for gamers, or that in order to enjoy AR you need expensive smartphones and other technology. This is why most of the public hasn’t really had a high quality experience with these technologies yet, and educating people about the wonders of VR and AR is the next step that needs to be taken.
So do the speakers think that the year 2018 will be the year Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality really become a huge trend? The less expensive and more easily adaptable AR is already being utilized by more and more companies, but Dalton still believes that the public might not be ready for Virtual Reality yet. Give it a few more years, he says…
How can service design be used in prisons? What about asbestos abatement? How about the gargantuan website of the Finnish Social Service Institution Kela? This is what we learned two weeks ago in a morning seminar. Watch the event in Finnish here.
Tarinoita digikiristä showcased several digitalization and service design related projects from the Finnish public sector. The event was organized by D9, a digitalization team working inside the Finnish State Treasury.
When signing up for the event myself and some fellow students joked about using service design in prisons. How could that work? As we found out, very well. Anne Sundqvist and Kauko Niemelä explained that the need for service design in Finnish prisons stems from the fact that there are a lot of prisons and a lot of space, but the prisons are old and the space is not used properly.
The new Hämeenlinna women’s prison is being planned with service design. The main aim is to reduce recidivism so that fewer inmates return to the prison after they have been released. Therefore the prison has to be designed in a manner that it helps the inmate to learn behaviours and skills that help them to keep on the straight and narrow.
This is also a huge saving for the society – within five years around 25 000 inmates get out from the prison and every year the taxpayer pays around 1,8 billion euros for their rehabilitation. If this number can be brought down with work done inside the prison, the society wins.
Many stakeholders have participated in the project. Inmates themselves have been interviewed and they have participated in workshops. The people working in prisons have also been able to give their input.
Kela wanted the customers to get a feeling of control
Every Finnish person uses the services of the Finnish Social Service Institution Kela at some point in their lives. Students get their study grants from Kela, new parents their baby boxes.
Kela has a huge website with enormous amounts of information on it. According to Päivi Bergman, the website had to be made better in order to give the customer a sense of control. Oftentimes customers used the website, but weren’t sure that they were doing things right so they called in anyway.
Because of the immense size of the website, it could not be handled all at once. Bergman told that they decided to roll out new material little bit at a time so that savings could be had while the website renewing process was still ongoing.
According to Bergman it is not important to have perfect material finished when publishing it online. It is enough to be going in the right direction. One must dare to try.
Bergman reminded us that Kela is not a service for early adopters but for everyone in the society. At the same time Kela must realize that it is not competing against government websites but against all other websites. That’s why it has to be as easy to use as any other website.
The purpose of the project was to give the customer a feeling that the website is easy to use, useful and it gives the user the sense of control. In Bergman’s view this has been achieved as after the new website has rolled out people have been contacting Kela with other means a lot less than before.
The event was clearly intended for people making decisions in the Finnish public sector and tried to encourage them to start working with their customers and use service design especially with digital services. Many of the examples we heard were the first of their kind done in that agency.
The people presenting their projects seemed genuinely excited about their projects so it seems that customer centricity and service design will be integrated more and more in Finnish public services.
The author Noora Penttinen is a journalist and a recent Service Design student who believes in creative chaos and thinks that best ideas appear at four in the morning.
“Programming is boring”
With these words began a Design Lab lecture at Campus London. The two speakers Jenny and Regina were presenting a case study of developing NoobLab tool, an intelligent learning environment for teaching programming. The speakers had just concluded an eight month project at Kingston University, where the goal was to develop an existing service to improve student engagement and provide a better tool for students, through which they could follow their own learning path.
The speakers had researched how university students were learning programming and found that there were many challenges in the teaching. Through research they found out that many students struggle with following and internalizing the teachings and only experience superficial learning. Many also suffered from the idea that “programming is boring”.
It was interesting to hear about this the development project where active learning was used as the framework. This is a form of learning in which teaching strives to involve students in the learning process more directly than in other methods and which mimics real life structures and situations.
“Active learning is a process that has student learning at its centre. Active learning focuses on how students learn, not just on what they learn. Students are encouraged to ‘think hard’, rather than passively receive information from the teacher.” Source: Cambridge
Learning Experience Design (LX design), which was a new concept to me personally, was the design and research approach of the study. This holistic and human-centered design process focuses on the learner in order to find goal oriented ways of learning.
As research was done in three stages: Learn, Build and Deploy. In the image above all the different research aspects can be seen, but the speakers delved into just a few of the methods. The Learn stage included User interviews, Personas, User journeys, Learner Journeys, Learning analytics, Heuristic evaluation and Competitor analysis. Build stage included Content audit, Framework, User testing, Ideation as well as Wireframing and Prototyping. The research ended with the Deploy stage, where the service was piloted and tested. This data will be used for further iterations.
“Learning experience design is the process of creating learning experiences that enable the learner to achieve the desired learning outcome in a human centered and goal oriented way.” Source: Learning Experience Design
Using Service design tools
During the lecture, the speakers introduced two of the service design tools, which they used in their research: Personas and Prototyping.
Personas were created based on the interviews with 23 students, aged 18 to 35. Within the programming student group the researchers developed six different personas: 1) The Follower, 2) Medal Hunter, 3) Coding Enthusiast, 4) Expert Coder, 5) The Helper and 6) Anti Persona. These personas were then put in a matrix based on their motivation and personal plan for learning and four user groups could be identified.
Prototyping was done in three different staged. First a low fidelity paper prototype was created of the improved tool, where for example changes in navigation were included. After that a wireframe was created which was tested with real programming students. Based on the feedback and comments received, as the last step, a high fidelity prototype of the learning environment, which was close to the final product in elements and visuals, was presented and tested with students.
According to the speakers, the feedback from the testers was extremely positive, and a future project for implementation and piloting was given a green light. The new and improved learning environment will be launched and tested with students in the future in hopes that the testing results will prove an increase in student engagement and enhancement in their learning curve.
Below are images of the NoobLab tool before and after the research. The new version is more visual with better navigation and different ways for students to engage and follow the path of their learning.
Written by: Leena Salo, SID student
Digitalist Design Forum 2017
Tennispalatsi, Helsinki 16.11.2017
An event for designers, producers and buyers to increase insights of design thinking and brand experiences
I attended the event with high hopes to get insights of design and holistic customer experiences. I have to admit I was a little bit disappointed when most of the talks focused on branding. I decided to make the most of the day and learn everything I could on branding, a somewhat unfamiliar topic to me.
For starters we learned that Finland has a huge potential on being a design superpower but has failed terribly in using its potential. Petteri Kolinen (CEO, Design Forum Finland) and Ville Tolvanen (CEO, Digitalist Group) pointed out that there is a lack of a holistic view in finnish design and too much focus on the outcome or product. The lack of a holistic ensemble and an identity results in incoherent results.
The trick is to pull everything together
– Andreas Rosenlew
Andreas Rosenlew (Executive brand advisor & Managing Partner, Grow Partners) carried out with the same theme reminding us that there are a lot of brand evangelists and service designers running around. Rosenlew pointed out that the trick to survive in the competition is to be able to pull everything together to form a valuable and cumulative process. A successful designer truly understands the process of value creation and the different dimensions of value for the customer, such as financial, functional, social and experimental aspects of value creation.
Päivi Svens (Head of Marketing, Fazer Lifestyle goods) also pointed out the importance of values. Svens argued that when concentrating on value creation for the customer the customer sees the brand as more valuable which in turn increases commitment to the brand. Svens described a situation where the designing and branding was very fragmented in the Fazer Makeiset unit, a situation that led to mistakes when bringing new products to the market. The company took a huge effort in dissolving and rebuilding all the processes, reconstructing the tasks of employees and creating a coherent branding around the products. Svens said she had to learn a lot of new things on simplifying and making things visible but that effort paid off in the form of prizes and gaining trust and valuation within the company.
Simplify to Amplify
– Päivi Svens
Heidi Rantala (Co-owner, Chief Marketing Officer, Yepzon) had an important angle on branding from a growing business point of view. Her point was that it is not always the almighty brand that enables growth but growth that enables a brand to develop. Rantala pointed out that you need patience to build a brand and meanwhile you owe to the customers who invested in you and your company. Sometimes you need to make profit and grow first to enable an experience of a successful brand to customers.
Alexander Matt (Chief Marketing Officer, Fiskars Group) entertained us with a fictional clip of a graphic designer obsessed with the papyrus font in the Avatar movie logo https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jVhlJNJopOQ and some heroic stories of well known brands such as Levi’s jeans and Adidas sneakers. The formula of a successful brand is that it is universal, holistic and aesthetic. It is consistent and it speaks the language of the customers.
Written by: Mira Grönlund
But did the event deliver? Not so much. In my opinion design was not really in the forefront of the forum as there were plenty of presentations about branding and marketing.
The four-hour forum was started by Andreas Roselew, who is a managing partner at Grow Partners. He shook the audience by stating that there is a hype around all the service design concepts such as co-creation, growth hacking and customer centricity.
“I think we are experiencing a silent bubble”, he stated and referenced the dotcom bubble of the late 90s and early 2000s.
According to Rosenlew, very few service designers manage to pull things together so that it actually creates cumulative value.
“There are a lot of service designers running around being evangelists”, Rosenlew said. In his opinion most of the current Service Design is generic.
“It’s based on generic insights and it results in generic solutions”, he said.
In Rosenlew’s opinion there needs to be a direction in all design and it needs to be consistent and continuous. That is the only way to create value in the long term.
In order to achieve that designers should concentrate on holistic design and take into account the whole customer journey and life cycle and also different senses such as taste, feel and smell.
Fazer decided to simplify to amplify
The most interesting case that was presented in the forum was in my opinion Fazer’s Head of Marketing Päivi Svens’s presentation on how design has become a strategic capability for the company.
Design now – a day of discussion on the future of design
Harald Herlin learning centre, Otaniemi, Espoo
The day packed with talks and discussions was all about defining what design is going to be in the future.
We heard an inspirational speech from Anna Valtonen (Vice President for Art and Creative Practices, Aalto Uni, FI). Valtonen raised questions about design shaping the future as well as renewing the society. In the future we need to have various viewpoints, not just follow our own individual paths as designers. We are also going to need new ways of viewing phenomena. Valtonen’s message is that designers are advocates for the unmeasurable: designers have the means to make the invisible visible and tangible. The world is changing and we (designers) need to keep up with the change.
Kalevi “Eetu” Ekman (Design Factory Director & PDP Professor, FI) reminded us in his videotalk that design is always there: it is done either consciously or unconsciously. Ekman underlined that a trained designer can change things dramatically. As an example he named industrial companies that have a lot of engineers working for them. A skilled designer can make a huge impact on thinking in such companies.