Work up! x HDW : AI and ethics

The Work up! event on AI was held during Helsinki design week at Bio Rex. The event had two main speakers and two panel discussions centered around their performances. I was excited to learn more on how AI is perceived by professionals and what the big questions surrounding it’s use are at the moment.

AI as a challenger for the current work life

Minna Mustakallio gave a speech on how AI is going to challenge the current field of work. Developing organizations with AI is seldom a plug and play kind of a thing, so every organization should know what they are about and where AI could be applied to bring value. It’s very important to know what you are trying to make better with the help of AI and if it’s the right way to go.


Themes that should be considered when organizations start onboarding AI according to Minna include

  1. Encounters : knowledge, understanding, shared visions and even conflicts create something new. Are there some parts of encounters that can be made better with AI or is there something we want to protect, something that happens between people.
  2. Changing roles: what does it require from a human/employee when you’re making decisions with AI. Is the goal to reduce or increase autonomy for a single person. Should people focus on their strengths and leave the mundane tasks to AI? Should an equal amount of effort be put to understanding human and the context AI would be used in as is put to finding opportunities to implement AI?
  3. Ethics and responsibility: Who is responsible for the decisions AI makes? How transparent is algorithm-assisted decision making?
  4. People & purpose: What are we trying to make better with AI? What does the best work-life look like in Finland 2022? What is the purpose we’re fulfilling?


Mindfulness and using algorithms for the right purposes can bring a lot of good. Implementing AI is about co-creation. AI is a part of global digitalisation and will inevitably change the way we work.

Panel discussion about AI x Work

In the panel discussion Minna alongside with Jaana Leikas (VTT), Jaakko Särelä (Reaktor) and Petri Lattu (Nordkapp) dug in a bit deeper on the questions surrounding AI. Asking questions in fact was one thing the panelists were hoping to encourage. We are in the position right now, where we need to ask as many questions as we can to really determine where the future is going with AI.


The panelists discussed control. How much do algorithms already steer our lives and how will the development go in the future? How much of our decisions are already based on some type of algorithms?

It was suggested by Petri that we are already algorithm augmented because we use AI in our everyday lives without paying attention to it. Humans, social media and all of the connected technologies form a cybernetic collective. AI is not some separate entity. It’s “under the hood” in many things we already use.

One problem with AI is that data is always warped in some way. If you write “hän on sihteeri” or “hän on johtaja” to Google translator and translate to english it’s easy to see what happens. This is just one example that’s easy to test. AI also speaks with the voice of a young woman (Alexa, Siri..). Jaana suggested that this is due to the fact that a female voice is easier to listen to. Things like these should still be taken into consideration.

Minna brought up that instead of asking what will the future organizations look like, we should as what do we want the future organizations to be like. Cause when you place an assumption it many times becomes reality. Can AI help us have more spare time and more meaningful work lives in the future?

The methods and processes of technological advancements should also be looked from a new angle when creating AI-systems. Development should be done in multidisciplinary and diverse teams and ethical questions should be kept in mind through the process. Education is the key to good AI implementation. It was also suggested within the panelists that in the future it might benefit the development to make a motivation map for the service as well as the user.

The questions the panelists wanted to leave the crowd with were:

  1. Will AI make communication between people easier?
  2. Is AI fair?
  3. How can I be a part of the development so that AI would benefit me in my everyday work?
  4. Why? Why do we need AI? Why are we doing this?

Ethical questions and AI

After the panel it was time for the days second speaker Maija-Riitta Ollila to take the stage and lift the veil on ethical questions in AI design.


AI is a reflection of human life. Ethics is still human-centric as opposed to machine-centric. Maybe we should shift our sights to life-centric or earth-centric view? If the earth is not liveable there is no work life.

Maija-Riitta also pointed out that algorithms are always warped. Individuals have cognitive bias, data is warped, organizations and societies have prejudice and discrimination.

AI strengthens trends in societies. Which trends do we want to strengthen? Who or what is AI making powerful? Do individuals in work life feel empowered by AI?

Amazon, Alibaba and google have acquired a lion’s share of business opportunities surrounding AI. Where is platform economy going? Big data and big brother meet in the middle: trust good, control better? It’s time to start planning from an ethics point of view.

AI is changing things – or are we the ones driving change? Only agents can change things. Phenomenons aren’t actors, actors create and modify phenomenons. AI can’t be held responsible for the decisions it makes. There’s always a human behind that’s responsible (responsibility = response ability).


Panel discussion on ethics and AI

The panel discussion was instantly all over the ethics discussion. Ethical principes like avoiding accidents and doing good aren’t enough – we should think about the context behind AI to really get down to something concrete.

Petri was again talking about the idea of what’s fair in terms of AI. Jurisdiction, upbringing and agreements all have an affect on our future. Transparency in societal decision making is an important theme. Jaakko suggested that everyone should take the elements of AI course and also read the book Rauhan kone by Timo Honkela.

Again the discussion went to the bias in data. This was a common link through the whole day. As humans we should think what discrimination means. AI algorithms bring existing problems to light when they use all the data they can. What aspects of data are relevant and which are a source for discrimination (when is it relevant to consider a person’s age or gender?).

What decisions do we want AI to make concerning our lives? What values does AI base it’s decisions on? Who decides on the values? Regulation is important.

When used right AI can help make the peaks and valleys lower and help us look further into the future. This could potentially bring more safety. AI can also help spot challenges in

Maija-Riitta also wanted to challenge investors to think whether they should invest in increasing consumption or in environmental technology making a tie back to her speech about earth-centered thinking and ethics.


All in all I really enjoyed the event. I came in hoping that the discussion would reach a more concrete level with more examples regarding solutions and implementation. Maybe the panelists could have challenged each other more on the subject, now it was pretty much down to the presenter to lead the conversation.

On the other hand I was very happy that the crowd was included in the discussion through “twitter board” and polls that the crowd was asked to answer during the breaks in discussion. There were some questions or comments from the crowd, but the Twitter board seemed to have many interesting comments that could have spurred the conversation on.

The bias in data and algorithms was a topic that seemed to surface through the day. I think it’s a great topic and the event with it’s many great experts would have been a good chance to dig a little deeper. Same goes with the concrete codes of conduct from an ethical perspective – I hope the conversation between the panelists didn’t end when the “bell rang”.

We talk a lot about co-creation and multidisciplinary teams when it comes to developing solutions for the future. I think our experts in tiny Finland have great knowledge and should bump brains more often. How about a Super Hackathon on AI for the best of the best in Finland? Or a societal “co-working space” that would gather the experts that work around these subjects in the same space every now and again. Are we really coming together on this – we as people? Outside of these events that pose certain limitations.

We’re off to a start. Let’s make it a great one.


Laura Manninen



DASH Boom Bang!

“You gotta get stuff done.” – Jeremiah Tesolin, Iittala.

Event: DASH – Design Process

Time: 13.9.2018 17.00 – 19.00


Host presenting DASH – Design Hackathon

Place: Clarion Hotel Helsinki (Tyynenmerenkatu 2, 00220 Helsinki)


”Interested to discover new design processes and learn different approaches to design? DASH – Design Process gathers three companies from different fields to uncover their design process.

Using different design processes help you to work more efficiently and to break down a large project into manageable chunks. Architects, engineers, scientists, and other thinkers use design processes frequently to solve a variety of problems.”





Keynote1: Roman Musatkin, Product Designer at


Roman Musatkin

What defines design process?

  1. Maximizing Pruduct Development speed
  2. Building the product with the most advanced customers
  3. Everyone does customer support
  4. Everyone is involved in the design process

At product building is fast: plan – design – release a feature the same week. Customers give instant feedback about user experience issues or bugs in the system. They use whiteboards, sketching and Invision to keep the process agile and not too complex.




Keynote 2: Virva Haltsonen, Senior Strategist at Pentagon Design


Virva Haltsonen




Fazer Lakritsi new release, had try it after Dash 🙂

Virva presented Fazer Lakritsi concept project as a case design process. Together they built a portfolio that is turning settings around in liquerice business.  Pentagon design uses double diamond as the basic design process, normally the prosess is divided in five phases each with own meaning in the iterative project. Their long-lasting design thinking agency relies in simple formula in success: empathy + creativity + rationality = user
needs + business success. Pentagon designs attributes their success in ”Rational passion” combining rigorous procesess and creativity. Virva emphasised that it is important to learn quite quickly. Find answers to questions like ”How do we know that we are onto something interesting?” ”Who should be involved?”




Keynote 3: Jeremiah Tesolin, Creative Director at Iittala

Jeremiah Tesolin explained design process more through guidelines about how to develop a company:

  • Making it relevant
  • Working with what the company is really good at
  • Doing something a bit wild
  • Working with the right people
  • Familiar yet surprisingly new

Jeremiah Tesolin


It was very interesting to hear three keynotes about the same topic with three quite different companies. They all had a lot in common in their design processes though. The dominant theme seemed to be doing things. Doing things fast. It of course fits well to the hachathon theme coming up, but also about being efficient is important in modern world today. Being agile in development process and maximizing product development speed keep you at an advantage point when comparing to competitors. Rapid prototyping and other methods are important, because you need to learn quite quickly about what to do with your next move. Doing things from scratch ’till release fast gives you opportunity to also grow fast if you do your process right.

In order of doing design process right, all three companies have another thing completely the same: getting customers involved. Having customers involved in the design process helps you to understand the users needs and get genuine feedback. Some build the product together with the most advanced customers, others are making things relevant by understanding the context of use. As Jeremiah Tesolin said: “You own the vase, but you bring the flowers into your life.”

Just as building services with clients/customers/users, you also need to involve everyone in the company in the design process. Sharing the knowledge in “Friday demos” or talking to people stimulates your brain to new ideas. Working with the right people creates objects and services people love. A lot of the times sharing and learning is done by tools such as whiteboard, InVision, Slack, Pinterest, photographing and other things that help you visualize things.

One has to make exceptions to the system and create change towards collaboration and new contexts for services and designs. New moments, new experiences, new uses, new behaviours, new relationships, new degrees of funcion.


”Dash is organized by Aalto Entrepreneurship Society, the largest and most developed student entrepreneurship community in Europe. Aaltoes organizes various events and programs to promote entrepreneurship and help early-stage startups to start their ventures. Aaltoes is behind events and programs such as Kiuas, early-stage startup incubator, and FallUp, Europe’s entrepreneurship event for students.”


The author Siru Sirén is MBA student in Futures Studies and Customer-Oriented Services in Laurea UAS// Licenced social service professional


More info and ideas:

*Article-photo taken as a screenshot from Dash website

Data-Driven Design Day 2018

Data-driven design day was held as part of Helsinki Design Week this year. I first heard about it when I attended the DASH Design + AI event back in June. Lassi A. Liikkanen was there talking about how AI impacts interaction design and giving a short introduction to AI and ML. At the Data-Driven Design Day the focus was not on Lassi though who was hosting the event, but in an array of interesting speakers.

Design is Emotional Functional Feasible and Sustainable

Tom Nickels from Avaus started the day by talking about how design should be first and foremost emotional, but also functional, feasible and sustainable.


Tom talked a lot about futureproofing and about what’s on the horizon for design. His speech really resonated with me in terms of content. Futureproofing is in the intersection of emotions and AI, where these to intertwine.


Social context and empathy, ethics and social responsibility are important subjects that rise in importance when we develop technology, design and business further.

Tom talked about three horizons. The first horizon is insight-driven design that’s already within our grasp: The digital twin created for physical products and for consumers/groups of people. It’s about designing for humans while integrating a feedback loop that keeps the iteration going (Attributes – Customer/Digital Twin – Behaviors and outcome).

Horizon 2 is generative design. This is the upcoming big change for actual automated design & content. Algorithms are producing parts of the design. Personalizing the service experience with customer information tucked in the background paradigms (the ChAIr project). Designing for digital assistants which will be a major interface change in production of services. Designing digital personalities and marketing in the age of Alexa which acts as a filter. This horizon is still covered partly in clouds, but it’s in our foreseeable future.


Horizon 3 is emotionally adaptive design. Adapting design using AI to the emotional stage  of customers. It’s the shift from AI to (A)EI which stands for (artificial) emotional intelligence – the capacity to recognize the emotions of oneself and others. Read emotion – Emotional target – Adapt service output. There’s still a lot of work to be done for this horizon to became everyday design, but it’s out there.

Back to top with a top class customer experience

After Tom Ilari Pohjola and Elina Martikainen talked about their experience in app design to gain top class digital customer experience. 85% of bookings and thus sales are done online nowadays and Aurinkomatkat wanted to ensure seamless customer experience in digital touchpoints as customer moves through the stages of dreaming, planning and booking a holiday.


Their app concentrated on a few key features during the stages of preparing for the holiday and the customer experience during the holiday. Testing was done in the actual locations and they used both guides, staff and customers as part of the development and iteration process. Customer needs and challenges were the number one guideline for their work. They reminded that data should drive decisions, not the highest paid persons opinion.

Designing the future of Urban Mobility

Apaar Tuli & Brylie Oxley from MaaS Global were next with their speech about the future of Urban Mobility and Whim.


Their idea is to move from ownership of transportation towards access to mobility. Instead of focusing on how to design a better car (which will still balloon the amount of vehicles on our roads to 2.1 billion by 2050) we should be focusing on how to design a better city and encourage public transport, active modes in the city where trips are shorter (ie. public bicycles) and sharing of vehicles – MaaS is like having a skeleton key to the city. Inspiring stuff worth thinking about.

Pull down that dashboard: Are you really data-driven?

After MaaS Jan Hiekkaranta from Fourkind gave the audience a wake up call by challenging what data-driven really means.


Everyone is data-driven nowadays: we have some data to support our views. The problem is that it’s difficult. Easily accessible doesn’t automatically equal good if data means visualizations and presets of dashboards to get data that supports your opinion.


Jan urged everyone to embrace failures and learn from them as well as demanding more and making data as accessible as possible.

What data is meaningful then? Creating the metric first before you name it (made for masses metrics are not relevant most of the time). Stick to your data and know its limits. What’s your default option? What decision would you make if you had no data and why? Data inspired vs Data-driven : prove your ideas wrong and learn from it.


Bringing data to life: Principles for leveraging machine power for human good

Vilma Sirainen & Jay Kaufmann from Zalando turned the focus back to utilizing the collected data.

Jay pointed out that data is the stuff below the surface that we found on. In the user experience pyramid joy is on top, usability in the middle and usefulness at the bottom. To make sure we are building useful designs we need to make sure that they are based on actual data and customer needs.


Jay suggested a bunch of pairings to awake thought like organic compounds vs digital compounds – nature doesn’t have abrupt endings, it weaves seamless connections: what connections are meaningful here? How does this design adapt to any environment or device.

Dynamic vs static – does user input show immediate effect, are rewards clearly visible etc. and Human vs Machine – can the system interpret emotional states, what tone is appropriate etc.

After Jay Vilma gave a glimpse to their case study which is an algorithmic fashion companion. The development started by understanding their customers needs through customer portraits like the need for validation vs the need for inspiration. They did AB-testing by bidding the algorithm against an actual fashion advisor on suggesting outfits around anchor-items.


Zalando’s goal is to create auto-related content for each customer. Content that is automated but personalized to the highest degree.

Tallink Silja digital journey: smarter design decisions through data

Next up Matias Pietilä from Qvik, who had been a big part of the previously heard Aurinkomatkat app development process gave a little insight on how to make smarter design decisions through data.


Matias assured the audience that even if you don’t have the best data tools and practises at place you can still get some nice results by utilizing the data you have and remembering that qualitative data is data too.

His  lessons learned were:

  1. It’s about attitude, not about tools or process
  2. Don’t be afraid of sunken costs
  3. Smart default values don’t require AI
  4. Sometimes you learn by accident

It all starts with solving the correct and actual problems.

AI for news media

Last speech I had the pleasure to hear came from Jarno Koponen at Yle about AI for news media.


Jarno is the product lead for Yle NewsWatch. The value proposition is : interesting news come to you, get the news alerts that matter to you – on topics that you find interesting, experience and interact, wherever you are (by allowing location tracking), the way that works to you (mobile, apple watch etc.).

Jarno was especially focused on the battle for the lock screen on mobile devices which he believes to be the new news feed as well as a new algorithmic layer for personalization.


NewsWatch is developing a digital assistant called Voitto.

Voitto is a digital assistant that learns from you and with you all the time, not just in the app but on your lock screen too. Notification on the lock screen -> user can tell directly to Voitto if the content is interesting.

Figuring out the KPIs for a smart assistant is the next challenge: Content + AI + UX = Impact. What is the KPI for truth?


This day gave me a bunch of new information and a lot of repetition on previous learnings as well – which is always good. I’m no data scientist so I was glad none of the presentations were too complicated or filled with industry terms for me to follow.

I especially enjoyed Tom’s talk as well as Jarno’s because I’m big into emotions and the humane/ethical side of designing for the future. Cheers DDDD2018 and kudos to Lassi for this informative event.

Next year maybe have polls for participants during the event online or think up some other cool ways to encourage questions and conversation, this year it was very “finnish” 😉 (myself included).


Laura Manninen



What is Customer Journey and why others besides sales and marketing people should be interested about it?

What is Customer Journey and why others besides sales and marketing people should be interested about it?


Customer Persona

Before starting to formulate customer journey, it is important to define customer personas, to whom these journeys will be created. A while ago, I wrote about what Customer Personas are and why those are useful. Below you can find short definition and through the link complete blog in Finnish.


”Customer Persona (Customer-Avatar) is a fictional character, which presents ideal customer of a certain company. Unlike definition of a target segment, which classifies large group of people, customer persona defines one person’s character, values, personal information, challenges and goals. It even goes so far, that this person is given a name and a profile picture, by which an attempt to try to make the person alive is done.”


Customer journey

Challenge during this digital era is, that many do not know when and where the first contact happens. If you do not know where this happens, it is very difficult to provide value to customer on that specific touch point. It can even happen so that customer has already made the purchasing decision even before contact with the company has happened. During this modern age, customers want to search for information about the product or service beforehand and understand what they are buying. For that reason it is important, that companies are acting as trusted advisors who are helping customers to move forward on their journey. Helping works a lot better than pushing also in this case.


Customer journey is a journey of all touch points between a company and a customer towards what the customer wants to achieve, and what they are doing to achieve that. It begins from awareness when customer discovers a need, continues by engaging with company and leads to purchasing. These touch point types vary a lot, and are not just contacts with sales, marketing and customer service at the customer interface, there are also many touch points with the systems behind the curtain. Journey does not end at the purchase, instead customer needs to be taken care of also after the transaction. Company has created value propositions before the purchase, but after the purchase company needs to fulfill these promises. Service delivery should be easy and effortless for the customer. Also it is important to understand that for example HR-, logistics- and finance systems affect to how smooth the customer experience is as a whole.


One tool called Service Blueprint is helpful in defining customer journey. It can also be used to test new service process prototype. We learned how to use this tool with Katja Tschimmel during the class Design Thinking. With the help of this tool, physical customer journey can be described and below every touch point, customer action is listed. By using this tool, contacts between customer and the company can be reviewed, both direct and contacts happening at the background. Also it is important to list out the required supporting processes and resources like IT. Below you can find a picture about what our group came up with.



What are important aspects of effective customer journey mapping process?

It is very important, that it includes customer-centric point of view, in which a solution is formed through customer requirements with the objective to solve their needs, instead of creating a new product/service without asking customers if they need it. It is also very important to have support from management and focus on customer insight. Support is required from many different levels of organization, because customer interacts with many different parts of the company. Therefore units, which are working behind the curtain must support the process. And if cooperation and data collection are not taken into account in the early phases of the process, there is a big risk that the process ends up into nice visual exercises which nobody utilizes in practice.


Every time new product/service is developed, developers should step into customer’s shoes. By using the tools which design thinking provides, discussion can be limited into what needs to happen so that the idea is applicable. You can always make fancy plans, which seem to work on paper, but when a real customers tests the prototype, some very surprising issues can be discovered. Because of this reason, feedback should be requested as early as possible during the process. There is a risk, that when only looking at your own point of view, you might forget some important aspects, which are important to customers, and which the planned product does not fulfill. At this phase it is a lot easier to make modification, it could be late and very expensive to make those changes when the products is finished. So, remember to request feedback as early as possible and Fail Fast!


Some tools, which are good for testing new product or service are Desktop Walkthrough or Role Play. During our classes we were allowed to play with Legos J This relates to Desktop Walkthrough –tool, which is used to outline proposed solution in 3D, which makes it easier to define. After we made our first version, we presented that to other group to receive feedback. With the help of this feedback, we made some modifications and combined two different options into one solution. Some pictures below.


Why it is important to understand these concepts?

The customer rarely follows the buying process which the company has independently defined. From the perspective of marketing and sales, it is important so that companies can create value adding content to every touch point of the journey and can help customers move forward. Instead that company trying to raise common interest and reach the entire crowd with one same content. Many times this results into creating content, which does not raise any emotions in anyone.


After the customer journeys have been formulated, marketing automation can be utilized in order to deliver content, which provides additional value to customers in every touch point and when they are moving forward on their journey. This is one reason why the background systems need to function. It does not give good image, if value creating content has been created, but interested customer cannot open it. For this reason, cooperation inside the company is very important, so that IT-unit understands the process. Then they can make sure that the systems work as required and by doing that, making the customer journey as easy and effortless as possible.


#servicedesign #designthinking #customerjourney #contentmarketing #sales #marketing #latenlorut

Agile piloting Jam in Open Living Lab days


Smart Kalasatama: Agile piloting engages the urban community

In 2013 the City of Helsinki decided to make Kalasatama as a model area of smart city development. Today Smart Kalasatama innovation platform run by Forum Virium Helsinki, has hit the headlines with engaging the urban community for the development of a smart district: it is a laboratorium for smart and sustainable urban everyday life and for developing methods to engage the users and other stakeholders.

During 2016 -2018 a total of 21 “agile pilots” have been run and facilitated in Kalasatma. Agile Piloting is a facilitated co-creation process that focuses on experimentation, it combines methods from service design, lean development, user research and fast prototyping and adopting these to the needs of urban development. 

The process for co-development and experimentation offers startups, SME’s and other innovators a chance to get the first learnings from the user feedback. Purchasing small pilots ( 1000-8000 euros) has proven to be an interesting means for the cities to have alternative ways for public procurement, but the model can be also run without compensation, as entry to the city is also valuable. The model  has been widely adopted in Helsinki and in a number of other major cities in Finland. Over 60 agile pilots have been run in Finnish cities following the model created in Kalasatama.

Our experience shows that the programme format, instead of individual pilots, provides synergies when several pilots are carried out simultaneously. This also boosts new collaboration beyond the pilots. A good pilot always provides value for the end user, uses technology in an innovative way, and is truly novel. Furthermore, the pilots offer valuable insights for the decision makers on user cases of the future. The greatest value is provided by the learnings from the process; even good failures can offer valuable insight to develop smart services of the future.

Sharing best practices in Open Living Lab Days

During Open Living lab Days 22.-24.8. in Geneva our team hosted a workshop with the aim to communicate our learnings for living labs and city developers. We planned a hands-on-session that provides concrete tools and understanding on how to tailor the method of Agile piloting programme to the needs of different living labs. 

The aim of the  “Agile Piloting Jam” was to make the guidelines from Smart Kalasatamas Cookbook for Agile Piloting tangible, to communicate what’s needed for experimentation in urban environments. During the session we shared concrete examples of how Agile Piloting can accelerate the development of a neighbourhood or city and showcase the potential of new resilient solutions.

Screen Shot 2018-09-13 at 21.05.37

Introducing the theme: Value Creation Throughout the Process

The participants of the workshop were to get familiar with the process of designing an Agile Piloting Programme for the needs of their urban lab. The session started with a 20 minutes introduction to the subject, opening the benefit of a programme format and how to get started.  In the introduction we aimed to open the essential:   running an agile piloting program requires understanding the value for all stakeholders. The objective is always solutions-focused and the iterative process that can also provide alternative new starting points along the way. The first market references and integrating the service to the city infrastructure is also invaluable. The program has proven to provide a neutral platform, or safe space for co-creation and collaboration. And it is all about learnings!

Hands on workshop to pilot your way!                                                         

After the Intro we continued with the workshop. We introduced two templates for the exercises: identifying stakeholders and filling the Agile Piloting canvas to mix and match the elements of a Piloting Programme to achieve own goals.

We had organized the  tablegroups by inspirational wider themes such as “smart cities” or “social inclusion” , and the participants could join a theme  based on their own interests. Once in groups, and after brief introductions the groups were able to discuss and define a more specific theme for a piloting programme.  The stakeholder canvas helped to identify the different levels of collaborators, organisers, co-creators needed, and whom should be influenced and shared the learnings. The agile piloting canvas served as a framework for discussions on what the premises of a programme can be. Within half an hour the groups had 5 initial programme themes ready.

Learning by doing

The same workshop was run two days in a row for different audiences. During the first day we opened a concrete case in detail as an example. This led the audience to concentrate on the subject way too much. Therefore in the second workshop we decided to give more detailed briefings, instead of examples. This helped the participants to work with their own contents. We experimented with the format the first day, and applied the learnings, based on the participant feedback, on the second one. “This is well structured and clear” was our feedback from the participants in the second session. And yes, something to be used in their own labs, too, confirmed the participants leaving the room with their Cookbooks.

Download the Cookbook for Agile Piloting here!


The author Kaisa Spilling is an urban interventionist, innovation accelerator with a passion for smarter cities.


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.


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!


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


Encouraging co-creation by facilitation

Three SID students, Johanna Waal, Kaisa Spilling and me, Pia Rytilahti, got an interesting possibility to facilitate a development project workshop on 24th April in Suursuo Hospital in Helsinki. The project is a part of Laurea health care students’ studies. The targets of the project are first to develop the quality of interaction between the personnel and patients, also including the relatives of patients. Second, the image of the hospital can be improved by the improved quality. The project continues from the results of a prior project with Suursuo in last semester.

Before the workshop the students participated in the daily life of 8 hospital sections. Based on the observations and interviews of patients and personnel, some fictive personas were created and stories about their patient journey.

Facilitating is a tough job

The agenda was planned carefully for the workshop. The facilitators met few times Kirsi Ronkainen, the teacher of the students, to get the target clear: by co-creation to recognize the new possibilities for interaction improvement. The result of the workshop should be concrete ideas to implement in the hospital

The workshop was very intensive 4-hour-working with about 40 representative of personnel and 20 students. After Kirsi’s and Kaisa’s brief introduction of the topic and facilitators, Johanna ran a brief warm-up exercise. Pia introduced the groupings to teams and work began.

First, the students in the teams introduced the personas and stories, both in positive and negative point of view. Based on the stories, the first exercise was to create a customer journey (“potilaspolku”) and then to draw an emotional mapping (“tunnepolku”) and comments for each step of the journey. Phew! Now we needed a break with a cup of coffee!


After the break, the most prominent challenge to develop was chosen by the team from the findings of the maps. Then started ideation – by using 10&10 method. First so many concrete development ideas (“10” ideas) related to the challenge were created in given time, 3 minutes. Then the each member of the team introduces her ideas, and the ideas were grouped. After that the most interesting idea or group was chosen – and then “10” new ideas from that. Finally, after all ideation, the team was asked to pick the most prominent concrete idea which would have a positive impact to customer satisfaction and would be easy to implement.

Drama as a prototyping tool

We made some warming up to get ready for the last part of the workshop. Johanna led us to use our breathing and body movement – which were needed in the presentation. After 20 minutes preparation each team presented their development idea, most of them with drama. All presentations were very good, and each team gave their best to make their idea alive.

Facilitating reached the goals

It was a busy day, but with sound plans and good methods the target for the workshop was achieved. A big group of people non-familiar to service design fundamentals had a productive and openminded co-creation session. It was awesome to participate with our small share in this development project, which will have tangible impacts on daily lifes of patients and their relatives, as well as the personnel of Suursuo hospital.