School of startups: Behavior Design

Juha-Pekka Ahvenainen

I have been participating to school of startups organized by the Shortcut. The Shortcut is a non-profit organisation owned by Startup Foundation, and a sister organisation to Slush and Startup Sauna.  According to their website  Shortcut is a community driven organisation that promotes diversity as an engine for growth. They want to encourage people from diverse backgrounds to consider creating or working for a startup to best utilise their skills and aspirations. They want to inspire and empower our community through gatherings, workshops, trainings and programmes that help them explore ideas, share knowledge and develop skills to enable new talents required in the startup life.


On a first day of school of startups the topic was behavior design introduced by Ashwin Rajan, the founder of the Fabric Consulting. His firm helps companies to focus on behavior change through technology. I wanted to share this topic with you guys because for my opinion this is very interesting topic and it comes somehow very close to service design.

According to Ashwin Rajan behavior design provides tools to extend or change human behavior through technology. The most successful digital products can really transform human behavior. For example there has been a huge change in photography from the age before digital products to age of smart phones. Another good examples are dating and cab haling.

Rajan emphasizes that you should start the designing process from the behavior, not the technology. On the other hand behavior can be seen as actions on digital technology: snapping, swiping, scrolling, pausing, liking, tagging, sharing and buying. Behavior designer´s goal is to create following situations: ” A specific, ´intent rich´ digital action done with enough frequency to create recurring revenue!”. For Rajan´s opinion experience can not be measured but behavior can and target behaviors can be tied to metrics and growth. One of the big things of the lecture was the concept of cognitive dissonance which according to Rajan is the heart of the behavior change.


There can be found three things which affect on how behavior works. Those are ability, motivation and triggers. Six factors can affect on ability: time, money, physical effort, brain cycles, social deviance and non-routine. Triggers can be internal or external. Rajan told us that the motivation part is the most difficult one to understand and design at his job as a behavior designer.

For example social media notifications are external triggers. At fabric consulting they use specific user archetype canvas to gather all the important information of the archetype at a behavior design project.


Ashwin Rajan is going to publish a book about this topic. I am looking forward to his new book. He also showed us a glimpse of some other useful canvases to do the challenging art of the behavior design. This blog post was just a scratch of the surface of this important topic of our digital era.

Behavior eats strategy for breakfast.  -Anonymous-

Dog fur mittens?


What does the customer of tomorrow want? I was at the launch of futurist Elina Hiltunen’s new book and petification was the morning’s first consumer trend. Elina identifies and explains 18 consumer trends that can have an impact on you, me and on different businesses through us.

The trends already exist – it’s a question of how well we identify them and can we put them to use in for example developing new services or developing existing ones? Megatrends are the big changes that are already having an impact and have been taken into account in several business fields – population growth, digitalization, longer life expectancy etc. Trends on the other hand are changes of direction in behavior or situations. And weak signals are the first signs of change, the rising phenomen  (Hiltunen, 2017, 56).

The following are the trends that I picked up from Elina.

Changes of direction

Petification – digitalization is here as well. Smart devices are entering the pet industry –  – PetPace helps you observe your pet’s health and TailTalk sensor the feelings of your pet. In USA you can purchase the lazy dogwalker’s Pooper-service – the scooper will take care of picking up the organic waste for you for a price of 15 dollars per month. And you can buy a genetically engineered aquarium fish that glows in the dark as a Xmas present.

Hello Kitty business class on the airplane is all about the trend of  taking care of your inner child and the need to stay young, relaxed and experimental. The soft throwable mike belongs in theis trend as well. The perfect me -trend  includes sharing your own views and opinions with bigger audiences – hate talk is the negative side of this and brave acts the positive one. We are many –trend manifests itself in the  courage to be yourself – being different and non-perfect makes us more interesting.

There’s no typical consumer

Something for everyone – the positive side of this trend is that even a niche segment can be interesting for a company when in global scale. Stereotypes are breaking down  – in her book Elina Hiltunen mentions an interesting example  – the physical change of the barbie for a healthier and more real look. And barbie’s friend sits in a wheelchair.

Also the aspects of getting old are changing – at my hairdresser’s I stumbled across Ari Seth Cohen’s superb book  Advanced Style. Older & wiser – all the models are over 70 with an attitude. Continue reading

Design Thinking : Creating New Value by Humanization

Business today is about emotions, wants and wishes. The traditional role of business management has been to ensure the efficiency of use of resources. The world has changed, and customers don’t settle to the cheapest and most practical products and services anymore. As we already have almost everything we actually need, we are now increasingly seeking to fulfil our wishes and wants. That’s just human.

The human essence of Design Thinking

To meet these new demands, we need tools that are human-centric, cultural and social, and which keep innovation at the cord. One way to answer these needs is by applying Design Thinking.

The essence of Design Thinking is human to human. It’s a holistic process that unpacks the whole process to human touch points and takes in consideration not only the service process but also the feelings that affect to our decisions through the whole process. Experiences are not just functional, but also social, cultural and personal. They are important in value creation, because experiences are meaningful to people.

Design thinking helps to understand customer needs and create new value

Design Thinking is a way to apply tools traditionally used by designers to a problem-solving-contexts in business, services and processes. A collaborative way of working helps designers to gain mutual and holistic understanding of the problem. In the process of idea creation, 1+1 equals more than 2. Since visual perception is dominant for us, visualisation and prototypes are crucial in communication of ideas and opportunities. Applying of Design Thinking tools and methods can help business managers to identify, visualise, and solve problems in systematic and creative way.

Design Thinking considers human needs, emotions and feelings just as important as functionality and rationality. It requires from a designer capability to consider human needs, available recourses and constrains, and opportunities at the same time. Designer has to be analytical and emphatic, rational and emotional, methodological and intuitive, oriented by plans and constraints, but spontaneous, and all at the same time (Pombo & Tschimmel 2005).

Herbert Simon’s ideas of design-centric mode of thinking are foundational to the practice. He considered design as “the transformation of existing conditions into preferred ones”, and described design-centric thinking as a process of “building up” ideas, in comparison to critical thinking and analytic process of “breaking down” ideas.

fullsizerender-1Design Thinking methods can help us appreciate and understand connections between people, places, objects, events and ideas. It drives innovation that is based on future opportunities rather than past events. It focuses on human behaviour, relationships, interactions and emotions. By combining business methods with Design Thinking, organisations can establish more sensitive and comprehensive knowledge, and better understand operational environment. Design Thinking methods like ethnographic research, customer journey mapping, storytelling and rapid prototypes are tools to create understanding through empathy and collaboration. They help to identify the needs and goals and emotions of customers. And because emotions greatly affect in our decision-making, it is possible to make services and products more desirable by adding emotional elements.

Although some amount of efficiency and standardisation will always have a place in business processes, it’s the human touch points which give the greater meaning to products, services and brands. And that is where the new value is being created.


Creating deeper understanding about the prosess with service prototype.

* This post has been inspired by the book Design Thinking for Strategic Innovation: What They Can’t Teach You at Business or Design School by Idris Mootee, and Katja Tschimmels article Design Thinking as an effective Toolkit for Innovation.

Hackathon / Day 3

Service Design Hackathon -Day 3. (30.1.2016)

It is Saturday morning and everyone in our group seems to be in need of strong coffee. Last night we ended up asking “why”, today we will give an answer; who do we want our customer to become. In today´s agenda we have one more interview and by the end of the day we will give a presentation, we will pitch the business plan of our team.


Our last guest arrives for interview. He is 23 y.o student, lives by himself in the city centre of Helsinki. His life style is busy urban life. His dream is one day to own flat in city area. Our questions for him want to measure how keen he is to use services for housing and living by using Internet. We are also interested in how he sees himself in the future – does he like to use more time for his free time rather than spending time for domestic work. Our goal is still to make  “tripadvisor of services”; to make ordering of services easier than it is now. (…Our quest didn’t see extra services too important as he could do most of the daily stuff by himself. Maybe it was too early for him to think of daily life with busy family with children etc…)


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Extra tab for “living”

After interviewing the student our picture of our customer segmentation became very clear! We are focusing for parents, 40+, digital native people who can afford to spend some extra money for daily luxuries such as for cleaner or nanny, or who are in charge of their own aging parents for example.

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Potential market

Our group´s working stations for plan presentation divided naturally; visual person search pictures for power point, technical person played with power point itself, business person did the calculations of research and person who was called human, was the all over leader of our presentation and team work.

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After working few hours we started pitching. Was amazing to hear fellow Hackathor´s presentations. So many interesting service models with great future thinking. Wasn’t easy to select the most interesting one to be best. Actual pitching last 10 minutes and we were proud of our own work. Did audience love it, this we will see on 21st of April, when Kiinteistömaailma announces their chosen project.

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Kiinteistömaailma # Twitter


Written by Paula Nordfors – Laurea, Helsinki, Finland

Gaps with cultural twist

The gaps model

The gaps model of service quality was developed by Zeithaml, Parasuraman and Berry in 1990. It is a useful framework for understanding service quality in an organization. The gap model consists of 5 gaps (one customer gap and four provider gaps). The most critical service quality gap is the customer gap – the difference between customer expectations and perceptions. Closing the gap between what customers expect and what they perceive is critical to delivering quality service.

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Attitude matters in lean thinking: learn to fail fast for success!

“Focus on the problem, not solution. You cannot quantify your way to the big max.” – Ola Sundell

I still remember when ‘lean’ was a buzzword in manufacturing industry years and years ago. Lean concept was originally based on production process optimisation principles invented in Toyota for automotive industry back in early seventies. Now the idea of lean has been turned into a workable philosophy in general management and other business arenas. Some time ago I was listening Ola Sundell, the CEO of Hub Helsinki, telling about the logic behind the lean market strategy. He gave a presentation in Laurea University of Applied Science based on the ideas of lean startup as an innovation method developed by Steve Blank and Eric Ries and his own experiences as lean entrepreneur.

Ola Sundell is explaining the essence of lean start-up methodology.

Ola Sundell is explaining the essence of lean philosophy.

‘Lean’ is  maximising value and minimising waste

The lean business culture have been evolving since view years aiming at solving business problems in the early phase of business set-up by using a service design approach. According to Sundell the startups mostly fail due lack of market and customers or because of a wrong mindset. Now lean thinking is challenging the old ways of thinking and doing. Lean startup methodology has evolved from customer development method highlighting the lean aspects of both product/service design and customer development. It focuses on customer value creation: everything that does not provide value for customer is considered as waste. By using lean startup methodology it is possible to maximise value and minimise waste.

As startups are considered being temporary project organisations creating new products and services under extreme uncertainty, it is learning that matters – and learning fast.

The process applied in lean startup methodology is based on a build-measure-learn cycle with six steps: What is built it based on a problem or solution hypothesis. Testing the idea is the intended learning step requiring the testing metrics to be defined. For generating metrics and testing hypothesis, the experiment has to be built.

The six step cycle of lean development process.

What does it mean to go for lean?

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Organizing Service Operations in Manufacturing – Doctoral dissertation by Taija Turunen

The service marketing literature is full of examples about servitization of products. How companies like Rolls Royce, KONE, IBM and many others have turned the game around by servitizing the traditional product oriented business. The literature has been evolving from product-related services to service orientation and new services development as areas of exploration for manufacturers. Recently the literature has been questioning why companies are servitizing and what are the benefits and related problems related to this shift (Turunen 2013).
Taija Turunen from Aalto University found a gap in the operational implications of this phenomenon: How to actually make such transformation? Turunen’s doctoral dissertation examines and explains the process of servitization, the organizational structure characteristics assisting transformation and the operational premises allowing this revolution, like the author strongly describes the organizational change, needed in order to succeed.

The thesis explores organization’s journey from product centric business towards service orientation and servitizing. Turunen’s study is based on wide literature review together with 8 case studies and 95 interviews. Turunen defines servitizing as the transformation process of product companies towards services, including service aspects to the product. In the literature review Turunen shows the evolution of literature related to servitization from 1988 all the way to day. Thesis draws the background with literature review exploring the provider benefits associated with servitization and the market orientation as a driver for servitization. Turunen then continues discussing the challenges associated with servitization: The different logic between products and services, transforming company to service culture, service development and innovation, managing service operations, building a service strategy, and understanding the customer interface. Based on Turunen these are all factors that are yet unfamiliar to fully product oriented manufacturing firms. Turunen does not claim that much this kind of companies exists but wants to describe the contrast between the two extreme ends. Ford’s legendary T-Ford car works as an example for the extreme behavior of manufacturing firm: The whole design was based on the goal of not needing any after-sales services. The car was made so simple that any farmer could fix it with their own tools. Manufacturer had no interest about the usage of the product. This aspect of behavior has later brought challenges to the manufacturers who have tried to move towards servitization. They have had no record about their products: who bought the product, where the product is now, how the product is used, etc.? They did not have the interest before to collect this data.

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