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Digital transformation is not about IT

 

Digital transformation consists of many changes that are going on right now. The authors of the book Digimuutos (Digital Transformation) Kati Lehmuskoski and Timo Savolainen list the changes:

  • platform economy
  • big data
  • artificial intelligence
  • social media
  • robotics and automatisation
  • virtual and augmented reality

These disrupt industries and services such as transportation, banking, learning and communications.

In the transformation, it is important not to focus solely to information technology but instead innovative business models and services. IT is only a tool for the change.

Platform economy as motor of digital transformation

Platform business models represent the cutting edge of digital transformation. Platform economy has made companies to open up their services in different platforms, for example in Google Play or App Store.

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A story about Swiss Mountains, Children and the Need for Design Thinking in Education

I would like to tell you a story about my younger son. He just turned five years old a week ago and has an older broder who will turn seven at the end of this month. From time to time during summer time I just so sleep outside in a tent with them. Because of the summer sun, the tent sometimes heats up to more than 35 degrees Celsius. Stepping into the tent in the evening my younger son realized that it is much warmer in the upper part of the tent then in the lower part. IMG_0052Telling me about his recognition I proudly explained the physical law about warm air going up and cold air remaining low to my five year old. So far so good, I felt good being able to teach my son such a fundamental physical law at the age of five. Some weeks later, I went on a three day hiking tour with my sons in the Swiss mountains and we hiked up to 2`800 meters above the sea. There we found ourselves in the middle of snow and ice and my sons were glad I had some warm jackets for them in my backpack. Three months later by chance my son asked me: “Mom, why is it colder up in the mountain even we come closer to the sun by going up? And anyway, you told me that warm air is going up!” I now skip my no so well prepared answer…

And how is this story related to Design Thinking?

I am sure by now you wonder why I am telling this storyIMG_0053.PNG and how it is related to design thinking. It`s simple, imaging my son would have packed his backpack by himself with the knowledge he had due to the tent experience and the physical law I taught him. He might have ended up on top of the mountain as an icicle in his bathers!

I am afraid to say, that according to the book of Idris Mootee “Design Thinking for strategic innovation” (2013) that’s exactly where (big) companies are heading to because of their leading managers. Idris Mootee does not say that they will be hiking in the mountain but she points out that they will get stuck and frozen and will not be able to keep up with this fast changing world, which is throwing many wicked problems into their face. “Given the speed of change today, extrapolating from the past could lead companies down a dangerous path,” says Idris Mootee (2013; 54) – because “new challenges have no history” she adds.

The Need for Design Thinking in Education

In her book, Idris Mootee states that future IMG_0054.PNGmanagers should focus on value creation more then on value capture. She explains that until now management education theories and tools focus on value-capturing efforts and reveals in an impressive way why design thinking is exactly what future managers should learn so they can lead companies into the future in a new and creative manner so they can face the wicked problems coming.

Good news! I am happy to tell you that several Design Thinking researchers have already started to think about how Design Thinking could be integrated into education:

So let’s do it!!

The author Mirjam Pfenninger is a SID student & Research Associate at Zurich University of Applied Sciences – Institute of Facility Mangement. She is strongly convinced that Design Thinking should be applied to teaching at ZHAW and all over the world.

The Informed Consumer and Insights about Insights

Insight – inspiration – vision. Those were the some of the magic words mentioned at the Informed Consumer study research in Stockholm. The study is conducted by a Nordic insight agency Kuudes and the content consists of current and future trends and motives underlying consumer behavior. The results of the study were first presented in the beautiful Fotografiska museum on Valentines day 2017, and in addition to the release of the results fantastic quest speakers were there to inspire the enthusiastic international audience.

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The first speaker, Chairman & Advisor from Berghs School of Communication Pär Lager woke everybody up by stating that “The opposite may also be true”. His big question was how to constructively find our the other possible truths that exist in every problem and solution. Insights play a big role in finding the opposite truths, and Lager framed that as outside driven company culture, which means that consumers, their behavior, motives and consumer trends should always come first. Continue reading

Legal Design Summit

Legal design is a new hot topic in service design domain globally – and also in Finland. Dottir, a law firm, and Hellon, a service design firm, organized the first ever Legal Design Summit in Finland on 16.11. at the University of Helsinki.

In the opening speech it was mentioned that legal design is not only important for companies who constantly seek competitive advantages – it is also a growing interest of the public sector. From the Finnish ministries, the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment is a pioneer in the field of legal design; in a current law-making process, there are not only jurists in the group but also other experts – and also one service designer!

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Legal Design simply means that a legal writings (a law text, contract etc). are formulated and designed so that it is easy to understand. Legal design is both information design and communication design.

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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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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.

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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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The CLUMSY Manifesto

This text is about not only looking at design from the perspective of care, but also about reclaiming agility for what it actually is. Too often, “failing fast”, “failing early” and “failing often” are nowadays applied as excuses for not thinking things through, rather than as actual design agility where iterations improve the service being developed, and where people really learn from their mistakes.

The CLUMSY Manifesto highly respects agility. It is not an objection, but a productive counterpoint. I believe that the problems underlying the current misuses of agility are the same that systems scientists like Oliver and Langford described over three decades ago: the user experience and the design experience may not be the same. Service Design addresses this gap well, but as soon as it collides with existing practices in organizations, its impact may start to wither. Like cultures eat strategy, systems architecture sure as hell eats user experiences. To put it stereotypically, left brain has a tendency to veto the right in any large scale design, unless there are people present who are adept in both modes of thinking. To foster such processes, the CLUMSY Manifesto was born.

CLUMSY design should be:

Careful. No amount of failing fast will do good if the key failure was done before the ideation phase. That failure may be for example not taking into account existing legislation, APIs, user patterns, value ecosystems, or upcoming trends, or taking those into account but not trying to alter them sufficiently. Being careful does not mean checking absolutely everything in advance, nor a lack of taking risks. It means not using “we’ll sort it out later” as an excuse for being intellectually lazy.

Liberating. With the background research properly done and applied, design is free to concentrate on that which is possible, and on changing the realms of possibility by e.g., lobbying and network forming. Restrictions foster creativity and in time even impossibilities can be achieved. Those who speak of limitations should be treated as a loyal opposition, not obstructions to be overcome. Keep the “Yes, and…” in active use.

User-centered. Users should be present at all times in the design process, either for real or as extrapolations from sufficient field research, represented through things such as stories and personas. Even a single omission can turn user experiences into process flowchart arrows, and getting the real user back into the implied user can be very difficult.

Marketable. There is no point in creating a great product or service if it does not reach a sufficient number of users. Marginal popularity and cult status may feel great, but rarely carries a societal impact. Especially not in the short term – and companies tend to kill off projects that only result in something ten years later. Same way as basic research is not appreciated without obvious USPs, despite its crucial importance in the long run, result visibility is mandatory for most designs. If it is the customer who defines the value of a service, design is effectively worthless if it never reaches the market proper where its value is ultimately determined.

SYmbiotic. No successful design exists in a vacuum. The ecosystem has to be advantageous to the design, and the design in turn for the ecosystems and at least some of their value networks. If it is not, either the design or the ecosystem has to change. Likewise, care and agility have to exist in symbiosis, if we are to create something that is successful, optimal and as user-friendly as possible.

Herbert Simon wrote in the 60’s that design is really about adjusting an internal process of some tool or concept to fit the outside reality. As service and user experience designers we are particularly well equipped in both tools and perspectives to be able to facilitate such alignment. Let us thus be agile and clumsy at the same time. Humans usually are, and that’s for whom we are designing.

J. Tuomas Harviainen
(The author teaches business science and information systems, holds a Ph.D. from the University of Tampere, and is a recent graduate of the Laurea SID MBA program.)