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Learnings from Facilitation-as-a-Service

I had a possibility to facilitate three workshops for two different projects (2 ws + 1 ws) in this spring. The projects were related to improve empathy in health care, facing the patients and their relatives in new ways and find development ideas in the workspace. The participants of workshops were personnel and students of health care. I was a “hired” facilitator for these workshops with my fellow students. While still learning the magics of facilitation, I would like to share my early key findings and learnings. These findings are from my perspective and do not form any comprehensive list. I had no former background from health care at all. The workshops located in a hospital and a health centre premises in Helsinki, Finland.

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Keep the focus

The most important thing to start when planning a workshop, whom contents and themes are not familiar to you, is that you need to understand the target of the project and this specific workshop. To have a workshop is not the reason itself, it should create something valuable. Ask targets from different perspectives, clarify them to yourself and make sure, that you have understood right. And make sure that the subscriber of the facilitation, the person who has hired you, understands you. Actually, it is not so important to understand the subject matter (for example the daily life of a hospital department).

Choose right methods and language

When the target is clear to you, choose right methods and tools for the workshop. You need to understand the backgrounds and expectations of participants. A lot can be done in few hours’ workshop, but too much is too much. Always. What are the things which can or need to be done in advance? For example, in my cases, the basis work was done by health care students. Source material for the workshops were personas and stories. It was quite easy to start with those.

We modified the name of the methods. Customer journey paths were used in workshops, but we used a word “patient path” instead of “customer journey”. Respectively, the empathy map was called “emotion path”. It would have been nice to ask the participants to create an idea portfolio, but we asked participants to prioritize ideas like picking up “pearls”.

Timing, timing, timing…

A big part of planning was the scheduling of the workshops. It was important to imagine the whole workshop from the very beginning to the end. How much time is needed for introduction of the agenda and facilitators? How many breaks are needed? How much time needs each new method or part of the workshop? And their instructions? Still, you need to make the schedule slightly flexible – some surprises happen always! One tiny thing, which can totally ruin your wonderfully planned schedule is the IT-equipment of the premises. Please ensure beforehand, that your laptop fits to displays and other devices. Be prepared for that nothing works except papers and pens. Have a lot of those!

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And finally…

After all careful planning, take a deep breath and relax. Everything will go well – and if not, invent quickly something! Remember the target and find to way to achieve it. Good luck 😊

 Author of the blog is Pia Rytilahti, MBA candidate at Laurea University of Applied Science

 

Co-creating healthcare – improving customer interaction

 

 

Customer interaction is a key element in healthcare services. Laurea  students from the nursing degree program have been working on an intensive project with Suursuo Hospital in Helsinki. Kirsi Ronkainen, leading the project from Laurea University of Applied Science offered the chance for SID2017 students to participate as facilitators in a workshop with about 40 healthcare professionals from the hospital as well as Laurea nursing students. I volunteered to join Johanna Waal and Pia Rytilahti in the facilitation team for the workshop organized in April.  For us this was an opportunity to experiment the fresh learnings from Marc Stickdorn’s Service Design Process workshop, and we were eager to try in practice the different service design tools and methods for facilitation.

Improving customer interaction

The aim of the project in Suursuo Hospital is to improve the quality of interaction between the personnel and customers: patients as well as the relatives of patients. In addition, the quality of interaction may also improve the image of the hospital. As result of the workshop, the objective was to identify concrete themes of development to be further elaborated together with the personnel and the group of students.

The group of Laurea nursing students had already been working closely with the hospital staff and patients, interviewing and observing the life in the different departments of the hospital. Based on their insight they had worked on several user profiles with positive and negative customer stories. These stories served as an introduction for the groups.

The first task for the groups was to work on a customer journey map as well as an emotional journey and really think about the different steps from both customer and personnel perspective. This was a great way to put the teams to work.  Here we used a method with one paper many pens to get the all of professionals to participate.  This wasn’t easy in all groups. I tried to focus on the helping the groups to move along and not letting one group member to dominate. Next the groups chose a challenge to work further with and then ideated solutions focusing on one of the challenges identified. Here the teams were using 10&10 method. Thereafter the teams got to select a most prominent concrete idea with positive impact to customer interaction. The selected idea should also be easy to implement. The third part of the workshop needed some warm-ups, Johanna run some breathing and body movement exercises to get our groups ready for the creative part. and to use drama to present their selected development ideas.

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Learning by doing

I have been working as a facilitator in my work – but almost always, more or less in the content owner role. We had the chance to focus on how to get the teams working, and evaluate our  own role as a facilitator.  There were some professionals first reluctant to participate in the workshop session, but as the work moved we managed to get them along. I learnt a lot on how to help the teams further and what can I do better when briefing the teams. And we also saw in practice how impossible timing gets the groups moving.

Thank you – an intensive afternoon! It was a great learning experience to collaborate with Kirsi and the nursing students, as well as the committed individuals from the hospital staff.  Not the least, we had a great team spirit in this intensive project and Pia was a great project manager for us facilitators. Looking forward to hear how the development work in Suursuo hospital proceeds!

The author Kaisa Spilling is a Service Innovation & Design Masters student who has a passion for design, experimentation  & smarter cities. 

UX and Service design excursion at Eficode

This week I was again lucky to be able to get a seat to an interesting excursion hosted by Eficode. The topic of the excursion was User Experience and developing digital services and it was held together with VIMAPA and KäY (Frieds of the User), a cross-disciplinary community of students interested in usability, user experience, user centric methods and services.

At Eficode, we were first welcomed with fresh salads and selection of beverages. It was nice to find yourself sitting next to new acquaintance to discuss about the evenings topic –and off the topic. 😉

But of course, the main motive for me to join this excursion was not only to meet new faces and enjoy refreshments, but to find out more and understand in more detail what UX means and how is it applied in practise: How professionals nowadays test usability and users and how is UX linked to the overall process-ecosystem and design process? What are the roles of the relevant stakeholders (clients, service-providers, users etc.) involved in the design process? Also, the topic is spot-on for my kind of marketing professional studying service design and having a keen interested in human behaviour.

I didn’t have to leave disappointed from this excu-visit that offered a lot of discussion and talk about the UX and testing followed by an impressive presentation on Eficode’s strategy and way of doing business.

First part of the visit was about UX and the importance of qualitative research and codesign. The practise on measuring customer satisfaction merely by quantitative methods was challenges and the importance of qualitative research that is needed for deeper customer understanding was stressed. I fully agree on the above. What do you do with merely a numeric rating, no matter how good or bad it is, if you aren’t able to understand the reasons and arguments behind it? “Oh, our customer’s give us 4/10… Seems we need to improve the quality of our services… BUT how do we do that? What are our customers dissatisfied with?”

Qualitative research and testing play an important role in developing digital concepts and services and is needed to validate the work including such as concepts, ideas, goals and usability i.e. user interface.

Optimally, testing would be done throughout the development process to ensure the ease of use (usability) and concept interesting enough, both key factors behind a successful product or service. Poor quality user interface can ruin the whole product or service to succeed, no matter how interesting your concept is. Usability is the key success factor especially when competing in an industry with homogenous service offerings. Think for instance banks with very similar lone and insurance offerings: the ease and smoothness of use of the online bank accounts. (You can always check my previous blog post on doing Business Design at OP Group, a customer of Eficode. 😉)

It is also good to understand the difference between the two: Usability testing and User testing.

Usability testing is about testing the products’ usability to determing how well it works from technical perspective. Mainly done by the developers and throughout the development process.

User testing on the other hand focuses on User Experience (UX) and studying the people using the product to understand what they click and why and how well they find what they’re looking for, e.g. task oriented testing. User testings are made in focus groups and optimally testing can be followed by clients and stakeholders. Also, this is a good way to convince and justify to the client. And at times also the experts working on the product development.

Note! The above testing should be considered as service design instead of scientific study. No huge reports of these will be made and are to validate a project with a short time to go market.

Very often a product is tested during the development (go-to-market) stage, but once a customer launches the product, no one cares about testing anymore. However, in this rapidly developing digital ecosystem and business environment full of competitive offering entering the market, in order for your product to survive and be successful, you should not forget about the continuous testing and frequent follow-up. As seen also at Eficode, the launch is only the beginning of the journey.

Accessability testing was also briefly mentioned. at the end of Rainos presentationis important and will become more important. From September 2018 onwards our national legislation requires equal accessibility for all when the EU Accessibility Directive will be implemented in Finland. Meaning that service providers are required to create fully accessible websites and digital services to all users. Although this directive binds only the public sector, private sector cannot afford not to follow and develop to meet the requirements.

I have to admit I had a gap in my civilisation here. Hence right after the visit I had to go to google to update my knowledge on the Directive and its implementation throughout the EU. In case interested, check here to start from.

Second part was about Eficode’s Digital Building concept. Their way of developing digital services and products and supporting clients on their digital transformation and how service design methods (from gaming, cross-functional collaboration and cocreation) have been implemented in the development processes to ensure fast and cost effective go to market time and to enhance client commitment. Interesting topic especially to an SD student.

Eficode’s concept from a clear and transparent project starting from the 5-day innovation session with the prospect client from zero* to ready product in 4 weeks –and even beyond in terms of post-launch support sounded truly impressive. *point where not a single code exist yet but the coding can be started.

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Final part of our excursion was a visit to Eficode’s UX studio offering various techniques to test and follow:  Streaming, online screens, “interrogation rooms” that could be followed behind a mirror glass… We got to visit the testing rooms and the different techniques were explained to us.

Eficode had also created a Digital Building Toolkit -game for a one-day co-creation workshop to kick-start the client’s digital transformation initiative and to enhance the common understanding and commitment throughout the different stakeholders.
1st part of the DBT-game is on defining who and what is needed at different stages of the project whereas the 2nd part concentrates on the project purpose and actions needed.

We did not have time to play this game, but I am in the hope of getting an invite to an open gaming session that was advertised to us. Maybe I’ll post a blog on the gaming session if it is to happen…

Phew, this blog turned out longer than planned. Congrats for making it to the end, appreciated. Hope you also find the content interesting.

Jenny

Ps. At Eficode they surely understand what a customer support genuinely means 😉

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Motive based profiling in Service Design by Kuudes

Juha-Pekka Ahvenainen, Markus Alavaikko

We participated design breakfast arranged by Kuudes. According to their web pages Kuudes is Nordic insight, strategy and design agency. They have been doing motive based profiling of the customers for over ten years and they have published their latest studies last year. Kuudes has found eight different Finnish customer profiles based on different motivations. You can see those from the picture below.

 

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Source: http://theinformedconsumer.fi/finnish-study/

 

Different kind of profiles appreciate different kind of things. This comes close to different kinds of values of life. Profiles also get irritated about different things. They are categorized to x and y axis according to conservation vs. openess to change and according to being selfish or selfless. From the web-pages of the study you can find more detailed information about different profiles. There are insight about profile´s behaviour and demographic details. Moodboards and checklist are also used to visualize the profile.

 

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Picture: moodboard of the dreamer

 

You can also find videos from the web-pages that show you how different profiles choose their daily foods. There can be found many kinds of opinions which foods are healthy and which are not. Different profiles adopt services in different stages as you can see from the picture below.

 

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We found these studies very interesting, but what we can do with all the information and data about these eight profiles? We think service designers can really use this data to design personalised services and products for different profiles. Or at least we can use these ground surveys as a stepping stones to our own service design projects. Kuudes has done very nice work and their work encourages us as service design students to dig deeply those human insights, motivation and values in our own projects.

 

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Last but not least here are some guidelines how to do your own motive based profiles, shared by Kuudes.

  • Profiling must be done and seen as big picture because different profiles are related to eachother.
  • Profiles have to be based on deep customer insight: motives and values.
  • Clarify organisation´s inner needs
  • Clarify who are going to use profiles
  • Final results should be easily available to all members of the organisation
  • Profiles should be visual and inspiring
  • Co-creation in organisation supports implementing
  • You have to also understand the future, on which direction things are going in crucial fields

Designing Business at OP – thoughts from an excursion visit

I got the chance to participate in a company excursion visit to OP Financial Group organised by Ompeluseuran Palvelumuotoilijat. Ulla Jones, Design Culture Lead at OP was to give a presentation on and around the topic Business Design. What it is and how it was applied at OP.

I was really looking forward to this excursion for it interested me for various reasons of which few below:  

·       Company excursions are great way to hear and see how service design and design thinking are utilised and practised in companies also to learn about the current status of this interdisciplinary scholarship. As what is taught at Universities and what is written in publications, are barely ever the reality.

·       Business Design as a topic is extremely interesting and ever more relevant for current business environment

·       I am married to OP with my mortgage 😀

After we had gathered down stairs of the OP headquarters our host Ulla Jones took us to the second floor and gave a brief presentation on the building itself. It was nice to hear and see how the Finnish design and culture was present everywhere, in the architecture and materials used. And how the building was really designed to serve employees and provide inspiring and well-functioning facilities. I am sorry I didn’t take any photos to add into my blog but you can surely google-up some pictures -or pay a visit. As downstairs is open for everyone. 😉

Our mini-tour ended in one of the six cafeterias where we sat down and helped ourselves with some refreshments. Ulla started her presentation by going through her own career path and how she had ended up designing business at OP. Key take-away from this section to me was to understand and accept that service and business designers job as such and job descriptions are constantly evolving and working as one requires courage and ability to tolerate uncertainty. The role of designer is greatly influenced by the ever changing needs of business environment that again are shaped by various external factors. Tomorrow is different from today. But to what extend we cannot know for sure.  

The second part of Ulla’s presentation was more OP-related and concentrated on how design doing and design thinking were applied in OP. And what role does design play at OP in the current business reformulation in shifting OP from a systems centered to customer centered company able to serve customers better and more profitable way with serving them more coherent packages instead of smaller solutions (as stated in OP’s strategy since 2016). This reformulation is pushed by the need to survive in the constantly changing business environment, which in turn is caused by digitalisation.

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I have also tried to gather some key-notes from the part in which Ulla explained the current status of design and design function´s set-up at OP.

Design at OP is business development done in a holistic, customer-centered, co-creative and evidencing manner. In 2016 design was used in 79% of the projects from start to finish and to understand the fast growth in the importance of design, the percentage in 2015 was only 38%. Since 2017 design aims to be seen as strategy instead of process or methodology.

At current, OP has 90 in-house designers with various responsibilities and roles who all form a competence centre serving the whole organisation.
Design at OP is applied in following three levels and perspectives:

1. Strategic Design from customer centred and business perspective
2. Tactical Design from holistic service concept perspective
3. Operational Design concentration on touchpoints and user experiences.

Business feeds the needs and Business Designer as Strategic Service Entity Lead play an important role in keeping up with the dialogue within the company and departments to enable and maintain common understanding about the customer needs.

Designers also arrange strategical workshops and provides information visualisation to support decision making.

Short and sweet: Designers at OP build insights, deliver solutions and involve customers in the development processes.

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Design function is also responsible of the internal communication and brining service design more known within the company and among its employees:
Design practises are applied in all development processes and the design team organizes an annual Design Day to the whole organisation.

You can find out more on what design is at OP from this Youtube-channel.

At the end of the visit, we had a speed work-shop in which we used OP´s value formation tool with which they use to determine how and where value is being formulated to further define and decide where a company with their services would then be positioned. In other words, where to play and what to offer. We were given a task to work on the topic around “Food to home”. I am not going to explain this work-shop here in any more detailed but have a look at the pics below to hopefully get at least a vague understanding of our idea generations.

It was a shame that so little time was left for this workshop part for it certainly would have been interesting to carry on and compare the relatively various results of the speedy innovations.

Of course, we were invited to stay for longer to share thoughts and network, but personally I felt it was my time call it a day.
Coping with full-time work, Master´s studies and all these design-events can at times become mentally and physically challenging, no matter how interesting they all are.
😉

Jenny

Facilitation for 100 people? How to cope that?

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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?

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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