Facilitation for 100 people? How to cope that?


Photo by M. Jakubowska

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

Digital trends: Will 2018 be the year of Virtual reality?


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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. Content

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.

  1. Education

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…

Written by;
Leena Salo
SID student

Learning programming through the power of design and data



“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.

Read more: NooLab: An intelligent learning environment for teaching programming


Written by: Leena Salo, SID student



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:



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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Swimming in a Sea of Possibilities – Design Thinking and the Beauty of Teamwork

A two-day course in design thinking taught me that a team is more than a group of people and that in our aim to reach our goals, failure can be a positive thing.

Katja Tschimmel

Katja Tschimmel introducing Laurea students to the fascinating world of design thinking.
Image: Suvi Seikkula.

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To E5 and Beyond

“A lawyer, an engineer, a UX expert, a business developer, and a sociologist walk into a room and…” sounds like the intro to a bad joke.  However, this is exactly what happened on the first day of our Practical Design Thinking class at Laurea.  The task we were given was carefully chosen, not too narrow and not too broad – “studying at Laurea.”

So how to begin, given a group of strangers, from diverse backgrounds with diverse goals?  How can these people innovate effectively by creating some concrete proposals and at the same time learning about Design thinking?  By following in the footsteps of other design thinkers and learning from their experience captured in the form of Design Toolkits.  Or at Katja Schimmel says, by “Learning how to move in creative processes through the application of DT tools”.


The E6 process.


Guided by our lecturer, after a quick introduction to the history of design thinking, we started to apply the E.62 process starting from Emergence – the discovery of an innovation opportunity.  Chaos erupted, or as one of Tim Brown´s client stated: “These people have no process!” Our opportunity mind map spread like a spider web across the whiteboard, in an attempt to identify possible innovations.  After several iterations, 4 or 5 candidates became clear, and one was chosen for our intent statement “onboarding companies into collaboration projects with Laurea.”

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Finding my inner designer

I started my studies in Service Design this autumn 2017 and Design Thinking was the very first course I took part in. As there was the word “design” in the course title I was a bit worried about my capabilities to succeed in this. These worries became a reality soon as the course started and I found myself with a pencil in one hand and a Lego dude in the other. Do I really have to draw something? What is this thing with post it –notes? Are we seriously going to play with legos?


Our lecturer Katja Tschimmel gave us a brief introduction to the world of design thinking and how it has evolved during recent years. She also introduced us few models, including her own tool kit Mindshake E.6² that are used in innovative, problem solving processes. According to Tschimmel, even though we are not professional designers, we can adopt certain methods from traditional design processes that can help us solve problems in a creative and innovative way. (And we don’t necessarily need to wear black turtleneck pullover and designer classes.)

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