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From Chaos to Clarity: This is Design Thinking

“Design thinking is a human centered, creative, iterative and practical approach for coming up with new ideas and solutions” (Brown, 2008).

The approach can seem chaotic at first as the process doesn’t follow a linear path. The above picture by Tim Brennan of Apple’s Creative Services illustrates this well (Liedtka and Ogilvie, 2011).

The Different Stages of Design Thinking

There are several models that can be used to implement design thinking. For example at IDEO the design projects go through three, what they call, “spaces”: inspiration, ideation and implementation. The projects go back and forth through these three spaces in order to refine the idea and find new directions (Brown, 2008). Alternatively, the Portuguese company Mindshake follows the innovation process EVOLUTION 6². In this approach there are six steps: emergence, empathy, experimentation, elaboration, exposition and extension. It starts from identifying an opportunity and ends at looking at ways how to implement the solution. In the end, it doesn’t matter which model you use to implement design thinking as all the models use similar tools to move through the different stages.

EVOLUTION 6²

Divergent and Convergent Thinking

At the beginning of each stage, designers seek to look broadly at the problem, so they don’t get fixed on the most obvious first set of solutions. Designers refer to this as divergent thinking (Liedtka and Ogilvie, 2011). A good example of this is brainwriting, where participants write on post-it notes all the ideas that come to their mind. The more extreme the better. After having come up with new solutions, the designers need to start narrowing them down to the most promising ones. In this case to idea clusters, where similar ideas are stuck together on the wall (see below picture). This is referred to as convergent thinking.

Idea clustering
Brainwriting

Tools

There are plenty of tools to help designers to widen and narrow the set of questions in the different stages of the design thinking process. According to Liedtka and Ogilvie (2011): “Visualization is the “mother of all design tools”.” It is used in every step of the design thinking process. It helps to decrease the risk of wrong assumptions and one doesn’t have to be an artist to do it. Simplicity is key and just drawing stick figures is usually enough (Liedtka and Ogilvie, 2011). An equally popular tool is prototyping which is an easy and inexpensive way to quickly collect feedback on an idea before investing more time and resources on it (Brown, 2008). See below the example of the prototype of the Green Laurea concept which we created in class. The prototype was made by using only Legos and pieces of paper to simulate the ways in which the students and staff could collect green points, for example by biking to school.

Prototype made out of Legos

Design Thinking is for Everyone

In this blog I talked about designers going through the different stages of Design Thinking. However, you don’t have to be a designer to implement the above learnings in your organization. You can be an accountant or a buyer and still do all the above. Design thinking is really meant to be used by anyone in any industry. You can start by using one of the tools or go through the whole process. And don’t let the word design thinking intimidate you, just think of it as trying a new way of working in your organization.

Written by Lyydia Pertovaara

Links:

https://www.ideo.com/eu

https://www.mindshake.pt/

References:

Brown, Tim 2008. Design Thinking. Harvard Business Review, June, 84-95. http://www.ideo.com/images/uploads/thoughts/IDEO_HBR_Design_Thinking.pdf   

Liedtka, Jeanne & Ogilvie, Tim 2011. Designing for growth: a design thinking tool kit for managers, New York: Columbia University Press.

Design Thinking – the bridge between the problem and solution

I had a chance to attend a two-day intensive course called `Unlocking the Secrets of Service Design´ offered by CityDrivers. The trainers were Dr. Niels Billou and Adil Mansouri who are experts on Design Thinking and innovation. Both trainers created very energetic and enthusiastic environment that helped us, participants, to get excited about the two-day intensive course.

Trainers: Dr. Niels Billou and Adil Mansouri

During these two days Niels and Adil introduced the principles, practices and the process of Design Thinking and methodology of Service Design. I have some experience about Service Design and Design Thinking from my Service Innovation and Design studies in Laurea. By taking the two-day course, my goal was to learn new tools and methods that I haven’t used before and to know how I can apply these to my future projects. Here are my key take-aways from the days.

Day 1 – Introduction and understanding the customer

The first day gave an overview of Service Design and Design Thinking. After an interactive lecture all the participants rolled their sleeves and started working with the case assignment and exploring the first parts of the Design Thinking process – understanding the customer, collecting and analysing the interview data.

What is Design Thinking?

“Design thinking is a human-centered approach to innovation that draws from the designer’s toolkit to integrate the needs of people, the possibilities of technology, and the requirements for business success.”
— Tim Brown, CEO of IDEO

 

DT

Billou introduced few different definitions for Design Thinking. In my opinion the most descriptive definition for Design Thinking is from Tim Brown. According to Brown´s quotation Design Thinking helps to make decisions based on what customers want. And when using tools from designer´s toolkit, like applying experimentation and empathy that helps to create innovative solutions to problems.

Trainers introduced a Stanford D. School Design Thinking model that consists of five stages: Understand, Observe, Define Point of View, Ideate, Prototype and Test.

DT processStanford D. School Design Thinking model

During my studies I have noticed the stages of different Design Thinking process models are actually quite the same – only the titles and amount of stages vary. Earlier I have been using only the Double Diamond Design Thinking process, since I know the stages and it is familiar to me. So now I was excited to get to know a new process I haven´t used before.

Power of Empathy

Empathy is all about understanding the people. First phase of the Design Thinking process is to understand the customer. Adil talked about the power of empathy and how important it is to step into customer´s shoes. In this part of the process the data reveals underlying needs of the customer. The trainers introduced few effective tools for this data gathering part:

  • In-depth interviews – help researchers to learn more about a person’s experiences, processes, attitude, problems, needs, pains and ideas.
  • Empathy map – represents a customer’s actions and a mind-set. Interview guide can be adjusted into an empathy map and cover what the customer “Think”, “Feel”, “Say” and “Do”.

 

After an interactive lecture the participants were divided in multidisciplinary teams. Trainers pointed out the importance of cross functional teams – it is vital to have people from different backgrounds who co-create innovative solutions together. My group got a design challenge to redesign the workday lunch experience and encourage people into sustainable eating habits.

Our first step was to go out and interview people regarding their lunch experience. We made an interview guide for the interview – one was interviewing and the other took notes. I have been interviewing people before but I haven´t been using empathy map template. I noticed it helped to sum up the findings and catch a deeper insights from the interviewees such as what the user was saying, doing, thinking and feeling. In my opinion this tool works especially well in mini-interviews when having only 30-60 minutes to do the interviews.

Data visualization leads to insights

Our next step was to analyse and interpret our data to find insights from interviews. Niels introduced us a storytelling tool. Each of us had a chance to be a storyteller and describe what we heard and observed from the interviews. The listeners draw visual images about important details on post-its – finally we had a wall full of post-its. The empathy map template used in interviews was very helpful in this exercise.

Storytelling: Capturing data & clustering insights

The last step of the first day was to cluster the post-its and find common patterns between the notes. This storytelling and the visual data capturing were new tools for me. I was surprised how easy it was to see the overall findings when the post-its were full of pictures, and not just text. I could use this in workshops at work when we have limited time to capture customer data.

Day 2 – From Insights and Ideas to Innovation

The last day started with a summary what we had done so far and what was ahead of us: ideating, developing a prototype and testing it with customers.

Finding a focus

We started the day by creating a persona. Adil explained personas are fictional customers created to represent different user types. The persona helped us to step into the customer´s shoes and it guided us to make useful design decisions later during the day.

personaCreating a persona

At this point of the Design Thinking process we were on the “Define a point of view”-stage. According to Niels the Point of view sentence help us to build a line between the initial problem and future solution – it narrows the focus and makes the problem specific. It was surprisingly hard to summarize our thoughts into one sentence.

Next the trainers encouraged us to generate plenty of wild ideas by using how might we… –method. How might we questions launched many crazy ideas and we put those on the post-its. After that it was time to vote for the best idea. Adil introduced a Prioritization Matrix that helped us to identify the most important and valuable ideas, prioritize them and vote for the best idea.

prio matrix.pngPrioritization Matrix

Presenting a Prioritization Matrix on the lecture was a great reminder for me. Once I have been using that during my studies but since there are so many tools it is easy to forget. Since the time was limited during these two days the impact / effort axis on the Prioritization Matrix helped us to point out the best ideas fast. I put this tool into my toolbox and definitely will use this in the future projects.

Fail early, to succeed sooner

In the afternoon we started to build a prototype that eventually helped to solve the problem. According to Niels the prototype is a draft version of a product or a service. It should present our idea and when showing it to the users the aim is to get feedback for iteration.

This was the best part of the day and we were really excited about this step. The team made a prototype out of Legos. This was a first time for me to do this part with Legos. Lego characters were the actors on the stage and the bricks worked very well when presenting the idea and the experience around it. We were very pleased to our prototype.

Building a Lego prototype

The last step of the Design Thinking process was testing the prototype with users. The team went out and we presented the prototype for few users.

“If prototypes aren´t failing you are not pushing far enough. Failure is part of understanding and improving”
– Dr. Niels Billou

final proto.png
Final prototype

Niels’ quote went straight to the point. We got plenty of feedback and enhancement ideas for the prototype and some users crushed the prototype by saying “That won´t work in real life”. We presented the prototype and the feedback for the whole lecture group. Our team proved Niels´ quote true – the failure is truly part of understanding and improving.

To sum up these two days, this intensive course taught me new tools and methods of Design Thinking and reminded me of tools I already knew. Since there are so many tools to use, the hardest part is to choose the most relevant ones for every project. I´m excited to learn more – practice makes perfect, doesn´t it?

 

If you want to discover more different Design Thinking tools and methods, I recommend This is Service Design Doing Method Library. Library consists of 54 hands-on Service Design methods. This is a useful site when choosing the right methods.
https://www.thisisservicedesigndoing.com/methods

tiss

 

Written by: Marianne Kuokkanen

 

 

 

 

 

Holacracy – an innovative management practice for organizations

During Gdynia Design Days and Design Talks Business Summit, I had a chance to participate in a workshop about Holacracy run by Ewa Bocian – a partner at Dwarfs and Giants, an innovation company which is organized in a holacratic way and its mission is to help shape the future of work.

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Source: Harvard Business Review

Source: Harvard Business Review

For those who are not familiar with holacracy, let me introduce you to it shortly. It is one of the alternative ways of managing a company by replacing the hierarchy. Holacracy makes everyone an entrepreneur. Everyone is a partner in an organization with dynamic roles to take and a purpose to realize instead of a static job description. The company is organized around circles (projects) which consist of people with supplemental roles.

In holacracy, nobody can tell you to do something. You are your own boss and you decide how you would realize your purpose as long as it does not violate the common rules.

Together with other participants we took part in a simulation of a tactical meeting. We could see the IT system used for managing projects. We had a few volunteers who played a few roles at the meeting. There was a secretary of the meeting and a facilitator (Ewa) who helped to moderate the discussion. The rest of the  workshop participants were able to observe everything. Ewa (facilitator) took us through the tactical meeting, one of the two types of meetings which is arranged in every project circle.

It usually takes a few weeks to get accustomed to holacracy as people have lots of habits to change during job meetings. For example speaking whenever you feel there is a need for it. In holacracy you speak at your turn and otherwise leave the stage to others. We could observe how the participants were struggling with it.

We did not have enough time to go through the process in detail but this short sample gave us a chance to experience it on our own.

If you would like to see the example of tactical and governance meetings, check Springest company videos on YouTube e.g.:

I must say I was impressed by the order holacracy brings to the meetings, how it gives space to everyone and enables meetings to move forward even if there is a strong need of some participants to give advice and digress. From my experience, the latter is usually the main reason for unproductive meetings.

Whether you implement holacracy or not, there are certainly things which you can take from it. For example how you organize your meetings. Creating common rules and nominating a meeting secretary, as well as having a facilitator, really help.

If you are searching for examples of companies who use holacracy, a fascinating example is Gore: https://www.gore.com/about/working-at-gore Interestingly, Gore is also one of the most innovative companies. Does an innovative way of working mean that innovation flourishes? Or is it the other way around, innovation provokes an innovative way of working?

To fully understand and work in a holacratic way takes weeks or even months but I am really glad that I had a chance to try it and would recommend you to do the same. You can find more information on the HolacracyOne website:  https://www.holacracy.org/holacracyone 

For those who would like to go straight into the details, I recommend studying the Holacracy Constitution available here: https://www.holacracy.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/Holacracy-Constitution-v4.1.pdf

Additionally, check this TEDx video with the founder’s story to get a quick understanding of how it works:

My main take-away, if you are about to start your own company or you are already an entrepreneur who is willing to share the profits with others, holacracy is definitely worth considering. However, if you are working in a hierarchical organization with bosses who would love to have full control over its finances, I do not believe that this approach will have a chance of being successful. One more thing is definitely needed in order to apply holacracy, it is trust in your employees’ competencies to get the job done. If you do not believe that anyone in your company can play their role independently, there is no point of even trying holacracy.

Written by Cecylia Kundera

How design might help business thrive? – Gdynia Design Days and Design Talks Business diary

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Gdynia Design Days is a one-week design festival in Poland at the seaside.

It offers unlimited possibilities to explore the newest trends and good design practices via exhibitions, speeches, meetings or workshops. Among the events, there is also an extraordinary  two-day conference, Design Talks Business, created to discuss the contribution design can make towards business, give opportunities to learn and try different practical tools, listen to tips from design experts, and share your own experience with others at networking sessions.

The conference started with an inspirational session by Fjord Trends 2019, a purpose – driven guide for the future by IDEO and design for circularity in IKEA. 

You can check Fjord trends online: https://trends.fjordnet.com/

What is particularly interesting is that this year there is one theme which links all the trends together – people are searching for value. 

Among trend summaries I would recommend having a closer look at the Fjord one as the authors said that they managed to spot lots of possibilities to innovate within it and in the next 1 to 5 years the upcoming changes are going to be spectacular. 

Here is the mentioned overview of Fjord trends 2019:

Charlota Blunarova from IDEO München, took us on a cruise towards the future. As IDEO does best, she taught us through storytelling the importance of purpose as a guiding North Star. The company’s purpose is the reason to exist beyond profit. Why is it worth having it clarified? The purpose can improve our vision. It can accelerate our strategy and foster our values. It also powers performance, attracts talent, and builds edge. The purpose builds company culture which is a competitive advantage that cannot be copied. Purpose exists on three levels: organization, team and self. 

She left us with a small task to do. She asked us to think about the purpose of our team: What do we enable?/ What do we serve?/ Why does it matter? and then write it down: 

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I would recommend using this task at the beginning of our personal or work-related projects and have it visible throughout it. 

During the 30-minute break, there was a chance for networking and discussion at the theme-focused tables . For example, the participants could take part in a signal analysis session from which I took away the interesting example of a signal flashcard:

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The next block of talks was built around case studies. Slavo Tuleya from a Slovakian agency, kiuub studio, told us about the adventures of building in-house innovation labs. Usually, the need for innovation starts with the need for becoming agile. 96% of companies realize that they need to be agile. They got inspired by some examples such as Uber, Airbnb or wework and then decided to give it a try and arrange some budget for it. However, this traditional approach is not always successful. Although there is a team of business, design, and tech people with lots of money, there is no execution, skill, or stakeholder buy in. 

Slavo emphasized the need for an alternative approach called Skin in the game. This approach is outcome driven (not activity driven) and is based on objectives with the risk of ruin. There should be some money and time constraints put on the Innovation department as well. He also admitted that the agency might bring help here. However, if the company thinks seriously about innovation, it should make it its own competence.

Alistair Ruff from PDR International Centre for Design and Research told a story of how they helped Kenwood create the Internet of things thanks to research: starting with technology, market, trends and themes analysis to participatory research, ethnographic observation, context driven observation and questionnaires.

Mikołaj Molenda from Tylko.com shared with us the story of how he created his innovative furniture company by changing the currently dominant business model and linking designers with customers directly. They even go further allowing customers to design their furniture on their own. Thanks to this, Tylko is able to meet client needs better.

Design Talks Business Summit also offered workshops. I was able to take part in two workshops. I will share my take-aways from one of the workshops with you in my next post as I didn’t find the second workshop very inspiring. 

The next edition of Gdynia Design Days and Design Talks Summit is planned for next summer but the organizers promised more opportunities for design meetings throughout the year so it is good to stay tuned and check the websitehttp://gdyniadesigndays.eu/en

 

The key take-aways from POLISHOPA Design Thinking 2019 conference

POLISHOPA is the biggest Design Thinking conference in Poland, two days of interesting lectures and two days of workshops, 16 experts from different fields and 4 speakers from abroad. It was the sixth edition. You can find more details on this page: https://polishopa.pl/

I recommend signing up for the newsletter to get information about the next edition in advance.

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It was the fourth time I attended this conference and this time I had a chance to participate in the lecture days, so-called Revolution & Innovation Days. I will share my key take-aways with you.

Year by year I see an increase in the quality of this conference showing that the knowledge and interest about Design Thinking is growing. However, as one of the presenters (Dymitr Romanowski) showed, although the popularity of Design Thinking grows, web searches for the term “Service Design” decrease. It seems there is still a lot to do regarding educating people on what service design is in Poland.

This year the healthcare and financial sector was highly present. There were representatives of Santander Bank and mBank as speakers. Piotr Sałata from Symetria spoke about how they created a more user friendly vindication platform by Kruk. Adrian Chernoff from Johnson & Johnson spoke about how they solved the challenge of helping patients with diabetes improve adherence and outcomes thanks to patient-led innovation and user centricity. They developed the first diabetes app in the US – OneTouch reveal app.

The participants also had a chance to listen to the story of creating a restaurant in Krakow – Handelek by Socjomania. Silke Bochat told us about implementing and scaling design and design thinking in FMCG companies. Piotr Chojnacki from Allegro (“Polish eBay”) told us how to scale the UX in a large organization without losing the consistency of user experience. Radosław Ratajczak from SHOPA explained how they designed the user experience of Olivia Garden – 8270m2 in one of the skyscraper offices in Gdynia. Tey Bannerman from McKinsey & Company shared a story of disruption at Pizza Hut. Olga Bońka from Motorola Solutions Systems told a virtual lesson of empathy for a dog.

Among all of the mentioned lectures, my key learnings are described below.

If you want to introduce Design Thinking to a company, don’t ask for permission, ask for forgiveness. In Santander Bank, Andrzej Pyra and Jakub Tyczyński simply started organizing Design Thinking workshops. The more people took part in it, the more they wanted to work using Design Thinking methods. What is more, product owners started to ask for their help in managing the whole process in the end.

Empathy is key for making a change. Empathy also makes the transformation last after the Design Thinking project finishes.

Design Thinking is just one type of method used for innovation, it is good to be familiar with other methods such as business model innovation (more in the picture below) as well and juggle with tools and methods depending on the project and its phase, company, and situation.

Innovation methods graphs

Once introducing Design Thinking, there is usually a phase of skepticism which takes up to 2-3 days, it is good to simply overcome it. We also need to understand the cognitive biases and “stamp them out for innovation’s sake” as Mike Pinder from Board of Innovation advised.

skepticism

Mike Pinder also had an interesting definition of MVP: “ MVPs are a way of asking questions about critical assumptions within the features of your concept and business models”.

Piotr Chojnacki from Allegro (a company with 20 million users and 100 million offers and over 150 processes) listed three key points to successful scaling in such a large organization:

  • Diffused structures of teams who work in agile way
  • Local innovation within the global structure
  • Consistent user experience

Silke Bochat presented John Maeda’s list of the top 8 skills that designers need to understand in business as well as the top 10 emerging trends that have the biggest impact on design published in Design in Tech Report.

The Top 8 skills that designers need to understand are the following:

  1. Product Roadmap Strategy
  2. Company strategy
  3. Retention/ Engagement metrics
  4. Conversion Metrics
  5. Funnel Acquisition Metrics
  6. Revenue Model
  7. Financial Metrics (i.e. Revenue margin etc.)
  8. Resource Allocation

In terms of the top 10 emerging trends with the biggest impact on design, here is the list:

  1. AI and machine learning
  2. Augmented Reality
  3. Virtual Reality
  4. Behavior tracking and modelling
  5. 3D printing
  6. Distributed teams and virtual workplace
  7. Democratization of design
  8. Algorithmic design
  9. Crowdsourcing and open source
  10. Facial and voice recognition

For those who are interested in the newest Design in Tech Report, here is the summary of it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Czq2j4p924s

She advised to start implementing Design Thinking with a small project with a limited budget and low risk. Deliver value from it as early as possible. Then promote it if it becomes a success. This gives more chances that it will persuade the decision makers to scale it.

She also recommended to try this canvas in practice: https://www.xplane.com/designops

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Arian Chernoff from Johnson & Johnson recommended answering what, when, where, how and why questions once solving the challenge. In terms of their diabetes app, the answers look as below:

We…

why

…make diabetes easier to manage…

when

…to improve patient adherence and outcomes..

what

…placing the patient at the center…

how

…on a connective cloud ecosystem…

where

…by personalizing experiences.

Dymitr Romanowski explained the role of empathy in health care and shared the results of the projects Human Behind Every Number:: https://humanbehindeverynumber.com/

This is how the project is explained on the website: “Human Behind Every Number is a non-governmental organization that provides research, insight and education on the first-hand experiences of patients involved in clinical trials. In today’s active research industry, our results deliver clear information to industry professionals that will help shape the development of clinical trials around the globe.”

This website gathered patients’ stories throughout their patient journeys which might be helpful for designers working in the Health Care sector.

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From the story of creating Handelek, a restaurant in Poland, I walked away with a feedback tool –  a physical one in the form of a board in the restaurant as well as a virtual one on Instagram. They called it  the card of transparency with Your opinion, Status and What we changed. It obviously helps to deliver real value to customers.

Here is the POLISHOPA summary by professional illustrator, Agata Jakuszko.

Polishopa summary

I would recommend this conference to any DT enthusiast. See you in 2020 in Bydgoszcz, Poland :).

Author: Cecylia Kundera

Is our Service Design work more intuition or data driven?

Insight Clash is a free-of charge event organized by PTBRiO (Polish Association of Market and Opinion Researchers ) located in Warsaw city in Poland. It aims to clash different, sometimes contradictory opinions. This time the room was full of designers as the topic considered mostly them. We explored one question: Intuition or data – how to make a decision in the area of design? Three presenters shared their opinions: Katarzyna Gawlik (Experience Design Manager at Deloitte Digital CE), Marcin Zaremba (Chief Product Officer at Synerise), Katarzyna Młynarczyk (CEO of Socjomania).

I will share with you main insights.

Katarzyna Gawlik was very into research and collecting data. She explained design process by Gartner graph joining design thinking, lean startup and agile approach for MVP production.

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She understands important role of data collection and research throughout the design process.

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Depending on the stage of the process she recommended the following research approach:

In the Ideation phase, research should be:

  • Representative ( quantitative)
  • Differentiated ( qualitative)
  • Wide scope
  • In-depth

Then, in the Design phase, research should be :

  • Quick and frequent
  • Sufficient not extensive
  • Cheap e.g. corridor test in your company

Finally, in the Development phase, it is believed that research is no longer needed as everything has been already tested, but it is a trap which we should avoid. Research in this phase should be:

  • Constant
  • Inexpensive

Marcin Zaremba represented quite a contradictory approach. He opened my mind towards the advantage of more intuitive thinking. His definition of intuition as unconscious data shed a different light on this phenomenon.

He raised an interesting perspective that “we don’t know how much of reality we’re modelling in the system” and that’s why we cannot base our judgements only on what is visible or possible to catch straightaway. His topic of speech was, “what data does not tell you”:

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If we based our work only on data, in Africa there would not be a mobile market. The research conducted before mobile companies invested there said that nobody used phones. Intuition was needed in this case.

As Robert Trivers, American sociobiologist, said: “we hide reality from our conscious minds to better hide it from onlookers”. The only part of us which has access to reality is  our intuition. We will never be able to experience reality consciously so no research will provide us believable data.

What is more, taking into consideration the true needs of the consumer as the Human Centered Design approach assumes, we would need to create only products/ services which are free-of-charge and work for its users exactly as they want it to. It would also be easy and fast to use. But in reality no company can provide all of it. We are hypocrites and we need to admit it ☺

What is the solution?

First use intuition, then data.

In practice it may mean, first do qualitative research, then quantitative.

Finally, these are the books Marcin recommends:

Katarzyna Młynarczyk, showed the role of data in the design process, sharing her interests in netnography – the ethnographic online research technique used to understand social interactions created by Robert Kozinets.

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This is how, the authors speaks about the method itself:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F8axfYomJn4

Kasia proposed to use netnography as a tactic/ framework in design process:

post 5.png

Here is the translation of the text in the picture above:

Combination – tactical use of data:

Attitude -> Design Thinking/ System Thinking

Methodology/ Strategy ->

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Framework/Tactic -> Netnography

An additional takeaway of the event was a Mentimeter tool which allows event participants and organizers to exchange ideas anonymously in the form of an online survey with results available in real time.

The organizers asked us a question via this tool at the beginning of the event and repeated it at the end, comparing the results. The question was: Data or Intuition? How to make a decision in the area of design.

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At the end of the meeting, data was still the dominant response but the percent of votes for intuition increased significantly.

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And what about you, is using data more important in decision making? Or is it intuition? Let me know in the comments ☺

 

Co-creating a City Family Centre

Kallio Family Centre Workshop for Residents
28.1.2019 Caisa Cultural Center, Leipätalo, Helsinki

For some time already, I have been interested in how the residents of Helsinki are engaged in developing the city and city services. I have participated e.g. in the Participatory Budgeting planning sessions targeted for the residents in November 2018. This time, I attended a workshop for co-developing the Kallio Family Centre, which will be opened in the summer of 2019.

The future Centre will offer a variety of services under the same roof for families with children, e.g. maternity and child health services, home services, social work and speech therapy and physiotherapy. In the service offering,  early support for the families is  emphasized, but the support covers the whole period of family life and the many challenges it might face. The idea is, that also other service providers can offer their services in the Family Centre according to the customers’ needs, such as adult social work or adult mental disorder services. The intention is to strengthen the cooperation with different organizations also offering services for families with children. Thus, the inter-occupational teams are the basis of the operations of the Kallio Family Centre. In addition, the digital services are in focus to be developed.

The Centre is also meant to function as an open meeting point for families with children of the area. The facilities are planned to be open also during the evening time and weekends to enable different activities and gatherings, organized also by the residents. There will be a café-like space and several spaces for team work and gatherings. In the Family Centre project customers have been placed in the center, and the services and the space solutions are aimed to be designed from this perspective. Regarding this project, at least one workshop engaging residents has been organized, in May 2018. According to the City of Helsinki, about ten residents attended the the workshop where e.g. the visual look, waiting rooms/spaces, and furniture were discussed.

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The workshop was held in Caisa Cultural Center and the fascinating facilities of Leipätehdas in Sörnäinen.

The workshop I attended on January 28, 2019, was named as “Kallio Family Centre Workshop for Residents” (in Finnish: “Kallion perhekeskuksen asukastyöpaja”). When arriving at the workshop space, I noticed that around 20 people were there, and I thought great, people have found the event! However, it turned out that there were only two of us, who were representing the residents. The other participants were from the City of Helsinki or the third sector organizations who are, or could be, somehow involved in the Kallio Family Centre project or operations. So, the purpose of the workshop did not quite have the preconditions of being successful in terms of engaging the residents of the area. However, all the participants were very enthusiastic about the workshop.

The three-hour workshop was divided in two sessions. In the first session we ideated individually activities the Family Centre should offer using post-it notes. Then, we discussed the ideas in groups of 3-4 persons and selected max 5 most inspiring ideas. Then we shared the ideas among the participants and the facilitator wrote the ideas on a flip chart.

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After the ideation session, we had to select one of our ideas to elaborate further during the coffee break. We had to use an experience map, or matrix, in developing the activities. The matrix made us think about the customer experience and journey before, during and after the activity. We had to consider, for instance, what what inspires the customer or what kind of expectations he/she might have.  In addition, we had to describe what happens from the arrival to the end of the activity, and what kind of features would make the experience good or bad. We were able also to use pictures from magazines, draw, or whatever we thought would help to communicate our ideas.

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After working on the ideas for 30 minutes, we shared them in front of the others in the form of four-minute pitch explaining the flipchart sheet.

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As the initial ideas of the groups were written down on a flip chart by the facilitator, and we got to pick the idea for elaboration in our groups without sharing them with the other groups, many similar ideas were selected, and the ideas overlapped quite a lot. Basically, all the ideas that were developed further were initially from the same root idea, a themed peer activity group meeting. However, different perspectives emerged, and that particular idea was elaborated further.

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However, it was a bit shame that there were only two customer representatives. The service providers, or the people who are involved somehow in the project, tend to keep in mind the limitations and restrictions they have at the moment, which narrows their perspective.

There might be many reasons for the fact that so few residents attended the workshop. However, this example shows again the importance of the recruitment and communication of open co-creative workshops, which aim to empower citizens. It is of utmost importance to find the right and functioning recruitment channels, start the communication early enough to reach the residents/customers, not to mention how to ensure that not only the most active residents are participating the events.

Unfortunately, it is often discovered, that co-creation is not easy. It is rather slow, and it is costly – but still, it needs to be practiced if the service development aims to be customer-centric. It is easy to put a “check” on the “Engage residents/customers” box in the strategy and project plan, and not to worry about who attended or if the residents/customers were involved at all.

It is great to notice that the City of Helsinki is putting a lot of effort in participatory decision-making and involving citizens in developing the city services. I hope that the Kallio Family Centre project will continue engaging residents and other stakeholders in the last phases of the project, as well as after the Centre has opened its doors. It’s the only way to go, if wanting to make a difference in the service offering and the way the Centre operates.