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WELL DESIGNED BUSINESS

How well your business adapts to changes?

The world is in constant change. Design knowledge is a vital competence in making companies ready to face changes in their environment. Design`s starting point should always be customers and their needs. Design thinking helps forecast the future and develop organization`s operations to be more flexible, resilient and adaptable.

The importance of design capabilities in safeguarding strong and sustainable business was the topic of Design Forum Finland`s panel discussion in October 2021. The panelists included Satu Heikinheimo (Fraktio), Aino Vepsäläinen (DFF), Minna Koskelo (11Helsinki), Jenni Tuomisto (Schibstedt), Juha Salmela (Spinnova) and Nora Haatainen (Fiskars Group).

Design as part of the business strategy

Senior service designer Satu Heikinheimo underlined that design belongs to all of us, and should not be isolated from the everyday life. Everything around us has been designed: every artefact, service and space is result of a design process. Whether you buy a bus ticket with the HSL app, reserve a medical appointment, or visit a library, all these have been designed by someone.

Employee experience is something that many organizations have recently started to design in order to make employees feel well at the workplace and at the same time increase the productivity and innovation. The physical working space, small services and well-thought details can make a huge difference in improving the commitment, cohesion and work ethic of the employees. Free breakfast in the morning, inspiring artwork at the office lobby or a joint Christmas tree decoration event among the employees may not be huge financial investments for the employer but can improve remarkably the employee experience.

Picture Colin Tessevich. https://www.shinehomepv.com/how-a-green-office-design-can-transform-your-business.html

Business models are also under enormous change and re-design process. In a relatively short time frame, new services and new ways of providing them have emerged. At the moment, world`s largest accommodation service is AirBnB which does not own one single hotel or apartment, world`s largest taxi service is Uber which does not own one single car, and world largest online shop is Alibaba which does not own any of the items it sells. Also, the covid pandemic forced organizations to impose remote work in a large scale which has enormously changed the ways people work and organizations operate.  

Platform economy has created totally new business models and all organizations are under pressure to revise the current models and adapt to the new expectations of the customers. The re-designing of business model forces the organization to conduct an in-depth inventory: who are our customers, what is our focus, how do we best serve our customers, and how do we differentiate from our competitors?

Design`s main objective is to bring clarity into unclarity and obscurity, and to make products and services as desirable as possible so that they fulfill the multiple needs and motivations of the customer. In design, people are put in the center. The starting point is to explore the real problems and then design a solution to them, versus having a solution and trying to sell that to customers. Without conscious design, services are often burdensome to implement and don`t solve the real problems people have. Hence, design saves money, reduces risks and improves the customer experience.

The best take-away from the panel discussion was the note that a designer should always find out the challenges and problems first, and not start with designing a solution. Design is not about innovating and creating, but rather about diving deep into the life of the customers and asking questions.

Where does the design process end, and when can a service designer consider the service as being ready? According to the panelists, service design is a constant learning process and effectively a service is never completely ready. A permanent learning mind-set is an important capability that a designer should acquire.  

Designing the future

According to Minna Koskelo the evolution of design starts with the product design, develops through service design and business model design up to the future design. Organizations that are resilient and have invested in designing their future are 33 % more profitable and grow 200 % faster than their competitors. Still, many organizations don`t actively and systematically forecast the future and prepare for it because they focus on short-term wins and profit. Investing in long-term future forecasts does not fit well in the quarter economy.

Future forecasting is not only about recognizing the signals, but also how to interpret them from the organization`s point of view. Most importantly, organizations and private persons should understand their role as active architects of the future, and stop being passive victims or spectators. Future is something we all create every moment.

Future cannot be discussed without mentioning circular economy and sustainability. Three companies presented their businesses that strongly lean on sustainability: Tori.fi (Schipsted), Finnova and Fiskars. Tori.fi platform facilitates the selling and buying of second-hand items. Every single day a stunning number of 20,000 deals are being agreed in Tori.fi, meaning that all those items find a new life and virgin resources are not exploited to fabricate new products. Someone`s trash can be a treasure for someone else.

Finnova produces environmentally friendly textile fabrics from wood and waste using zero harmful chemicals. Finnova already has created partnerships with renowned brands. Fiskars aims at gaining 50% of the revenue from circular economy products and services by 2030. Renting and sharing are gaining ground also in the sector of small products and kitchen utensils. Tableware can be rented instead of buying, and old frying pans can be renovated instead of throwing them away.

Crisis and frustration contribute to change

Human beings inherently feel fear towards new things. In abnormal circumstances, such as the current pandemic, the need for social cohesion and forgiveness increases. The constantly changing world does not allow any organization to stay static.

On the other hand, not all innovations become shooting stars and not all can be scaled up. This is something that needs to be accepted as being part of the game. If an innovation does not work, it is better to let it go and start looking for new solutions. We can learn from our successes and failures but also from others`. As Minna Koskelo put it: frustration is an important resource. The annoyance contains the seeds for change. If everything goes too smoothly and nicely, it is difficult to find motivation to develop things.

Already now practically all sectors have adopted business models that are based on streaming and platforms. What will be the next step? How could we solve the challenges these new ways of delivering services have created? For example, a family may have five different subscriptions of program streaming, a Wolt driver has no right to benefits and sick leave, and not all Tori.fi sellers are trustworthy and can steal your money. While these services are here to stay, we must find solutions to the current problems and design them better.

Organizations should take a longer and wider perspective when forecasting and planning the future. It is worth looking across different sectors and analyzing drivers that are not directly linked to one`s own business: political, social, technological, legislative etc.

We cannot control the entire future, but we can control how it is being designed. It is important to pay attention to who is using the power when we talk about future. Who`s vision of future is it?

– Laura Ekholm

What good is Design Thinking?

Everyone is talking about Design Thinking. Consultants at least, when they are selling something. But does Design Thinking bring any practical benefits? Idris Mootee makes a strong argument that Design Thinking can help organizations in many ways. We will briefly introduce two concepts Mootee talks about, creative culture and importance of predictability that we think are important for organizations to know about.

Creative Culture

Creative culture is about accepting and endorsing two key elements of innovation: uncertainty and ambiguity. And innovation is what organizations should strive for. There are many ways to innovate but one of them is experimentation, where organizations try something, inevitably fail and in the process learn. Through learning organizations are more likely to succeed on the next try. This iterative cycle is an important part of a creative culture and helps to reduce uncertainty and ambiguity. One way to do experimentation in practice is by employing rapid prototyping, as suggested by Mootee.

Innovative cultures are creative cultures.

Idris Mootee

Rapid prototyping is the practice of building some tangible representation of a service concept and its most relevant functions. This representation is called a prototype. For a business person the idea can sound peculiar, but prototyping really helps to bring ideas live in a more concrete manner. Using a prototype to test the service concept with real people will help organization collect feedback and learn what works and what doesn’t. A lot cheaper than actually building a real service. And quite rapid too.

If a picture is worth 1000 words, a prototype is worth 1000 meetings

Tom & David Kelley, IDEO

Service prototypes don’t have to be complex or expensive but they do need to be tangible enough for people to give useful feedback. Since the idea of a prototype is to communicate an idea, prototypes can vary from simple paper sketches to complex physical set-ups that mimic real life service accurately. Whatever works to get useful feedback.

Predictability

Decision makers spend a lot of time thinking about what the future holds and how to make right decisions. That is because making strategic decisions about the future is hard – we simply never have all the necessary information to weigh all options equally. What would help us make better decisions is if we could identify and understand what trends, smaller and bigger, are happening around us. For identifying trends, Mootee suggests to look for weak signals and creating scenarios to help weigh options.

Weak signals are clues about what is going to happen and what trends are relevant. Identifying and processing weak signals is not exact science, though. It takes time and experience to identify which event or information is significant and reliable enough to be considered a weak signal. Even more experience is needed to process and combine weak signals into something useful. Organizations should be looking for weak signals in academic research, media, trends in politics, what innovations start-ups are coming up with and what their competitors are doing, among other things. Processing weak signals and using the insights gained to identify trends and create scenarios is what helps understand what future might hold.

Scenarios are possible futures, in a nutshell. Organizations try to predict what the world looks like in, say, five years from now. Like weak signals, scenario building is not exact science – we are essentially making assumptions based on our assumptions about which trends are relevant. That is why it is important to be honest and validate underlying assumptions as much as possible. In the end, though, scenarios are simply tools that help organizations focus their efforts and give more information to base decisions on. Assumptions based on solid background work are still better than pure speculation.

Written by Kati Lehto & Kimmo Holm, SID MBA Students at Laurea University of Applied Sciences

References:

Brown, Tim (2008). Design Thinking: How to deliver on a Great Plan. Harvard Business Review June 2008, 84-95.

Mootee, Idris (2013). Design Thinking for Strategic Innovation: What They Can’t Teach You at Business or Design School. Wiley.

Tschimmel, Katja (2021). Creativity, Design and Design Thinking – A Human-Centred ménage à trois for Innovation. In Perspectives on Design II. Ed. Springer “Serie in Design and Innovation”. DOI: 10.1007/978-3-030-79879-6.

Sitra. Megatrends 2020 – https://www.sitra.fi/en/topics/megatrends

Prototyping User Experience :: UXmatters

Breaking the ice on Design and Design Thinking 

Don’t worry if you are not familiar with the concept of design thinking, here you will get your first dose of design thinking vocabulary!

Figure 1: Perception of Design Thinking 

Before starting our Masters degree program in Service Innovation and Design, the concept of design thinking was vague and unclear also to us. Once the first Design Thinking Master class held by Katja Tschimmel begun, we quickly noticed that there is no universal definition of design and design thinking available in literature, and even professionals and researchers working in the field of design thinking have not been able to agree on single definition (Buchanan, R. 1996; Motee, I, 2013; Tschimmel, K., 2022). It also started to make sense why that is: With a single definition of design thinking, it is impossible to cover the diversity of ideas gathered under the label. Instead, it makes more sense to look for where and how the concept is used in different situations, both theoretical and practical, and what meaning is given to the concept (Johansson-Sköldberg, U., Woodilla, J., & Çetinkaya, M., 2013).

Figure 2: Design Thinking terminologies. 

Since we learned that there are as many definitions as there are people involved in the field, and it is pretty easy to get confused with the terminology such as creativity, creative thinking or design, designerly thinking and design thinking. Our aim is to break the ice by getting familiar with these basic terminologies often used around the topic of Design Thinking. 

Creativity is defined as a cognitive capacity to develop something new (Tschimmel, K. 2021). A person is recognized as creative when a large number of specialists endorse that his work has brought an important contribution to the field. Here, it is interesting to understand the difference between creativity and creative thinking, as the cognitive ability to deliberately and intentionally produce new ideas and targeted results is defined as creative thinking (Tschimmel, K. 2021).

Design is often associated with creativity, and even some researchers consider creativity as an essence and the heart of design. For a lay man, the whole idea of designing is either to create something new, or make existing objects, conditions, and services better and preferred ones. Designerly thinking links theory and practice from a design perspective, whereas, in design thinking the design practice and competence are used beyond the design context, and most importantly the people involved in the process does not necessarily have scholarly background in design (Johansson-Sköldberg, U., Woodilla, J., & Çetinkaya, M., 2013). In simple words, It can be said that design thinking is a simplified version of designerly thinking.

This is only a tip of the iceberg when it comes to the topic of Design Thinking, however, it’s a good place to start our learning  journey, and you should join us!

Written by Usman Sheikh and Hanna Valkonen, SID MBA Students

References:

Buchanan, R. (1996). Wicked Problems in Design Thinking. In: Margolin, V. & Buchanan, R. The Idea of Design. A Design Issues Reader. Cambridge: The MIT Press. 

Johansson-Sköldberg, U., Woodilla, J., & Çetinkaya, M. (2013). Design thinking: Past, present, and possible futures. Creativity and Innovation Management, 22(2), 121-146. https://doi.org/10.1111/caim.12023 

Motee, I (2013). Design Thinking for Strategic Innovation: What They Can’t Teach You at Business or Design School. 

Tschimmel, K. (2021). Creativity, Design and Design Thinking – A Human-Centred ménage à trois for Innovation. In Perspectives on Design II. Ed. Springer “Serie in Design and Innovation.” DOI: 10.1007/978-3-030-79879-6 

Tschimmel, K. (2022). Design vs Design Thinking. In Creativity and Innovation Affairs. (in process). Available only for SID students at Laurea University. 

Building Creative Confidence and Skills

Creativity is a fundamental element for design processes and innovation. However, many people think that they are not creative, that they are more practical types. David Kelley states that we all have huge potential within us. People are naturally wildly creative, and we just need to take the blocks away from keeping us from being creative. So, how to think out of the box? By following a series of steps, you will solve problems more creatively, make better decisions and attack challenges in the way a designer would do.

Today, a creative person is seen as someone who has an innate potential to think creatively and who can improve creative thoughts by certain techniques and methods. We collected some ideas inspired by Kelley and Tschimmel, how to tackle the empty page problem in idea generation and start thinking more creatively.

Creative Thinking

According to Satiro and Tschimmel (2020) creative thinking can be classified into four groups (Tschimmel, K. 2022). Keep in mind that these following skills are all interconnected, and designers apply all these forms and thinking abilities in their creative processes.

Perception with all senses is an essential form of creative thinking. If you intentionally use all your senses, you can enrich your perceptual experience and produce new and unusual combinations of ideas. Also, a key for creative thinking is the ability to take time to work with unfinished perceptions to not reach conclusions too fast. So, to be able to generate new ideas, you need to avoid stereotyping.

Asking questions can be a driver of innovation. Provocative questions such as “what makes you respond the way you do?”  confront the truths and realities people tend to accept without critical reflection. Imaginative questions such as “what would happen if?” help break the ordinary reality. By asking questions, you can open a variety of answers.

Comparison is the ability to assess ideas in the context of other ideas, where you can make uncommon associations and new combinations of ideas. For example, thinking in analogies helps you to think of one thing as if it was another. By thinking in analogies, you can create novel ideas.

Language is a form of creative thinking where through using narrative thinking and expressive language you can give meaning to people’s lives and to the world. In innovation, using narrative thinking such as storytelling helps make the message of the service or product you designed more accessible to people. Use storytelling and expressive language to set a clear voice to your design.

Improve Your Creative Thinking Skills

#1 Choose creativity

Creative people have one thing in common: they decided to be creative (Sternberg). Deciding for creativity does not guarantee that creativity will emerge, but without the decision, it certainly will not. So, make the decision to be creative, try to find your own way, and look for ideas that are both novel and useful in some way.

#2 Expose yourself to new ideas

If you want a good idea, start with a lot of ideas“, said Linus Pauling. Try to have an open mind for different ideas and apply beginner’s mind to something you do every day. Never fall in love with the first ideas since the first ones are never original ones. Search actively out for inspiration. Try to stay inspired and turn creativity into a habit. Keep in mind that quantity matters!

#3 Understand the needs of end-users

Creativity and innovation need empathy, the ability to see an experience through another person’s eyes and to recognize why people do what they do. Try to observe the persons you are creating for. Do observations in the field to gain more information about how people really act and what are their non-obvious, latent needs. And when you spot a contradiction between what you see and what you expect, it’s a sign that you should dig deeper.

#4 Ask “Why” and “How” questions

Learn more and go deeper by asking questions like “why” or “what if”.  As stated earlier, questions can be drivers of innovation and get you to the heart of the matter. Always try to ask five “why” questions. Ask questions from different people and different age groups. In addition, questions may help you to reframe your challenges. Asking “How might we….” may lead you to find the right question that needs to be answered.

#5 Collaborate your ideas with others

Many of the best ideas result from collaborating with other people. You don’t have to generate all the ideas on your own. Figure out how you can have your own advisory board – it might be a temporary one for a single project or a more permanent one. Build your own creative support network.

Written by Riikamaria Vartiainen and Marika Malmström

Credits

Tschimmel, K. (2022) “Creativity, Design and Design Thinking – a ménage à trois”. Perspectives in Design II: Research, Education and Practice II “Series in Design and Innovation” Springer International Publishing (in print).

Tschimmel, K. (2022) “Design vs. Design Thinking”. In Creativity and Innovation Affairs (in process). 

Tschimmel K, Design Thinking Master Class 3.- 4.9.2021 materials. Laurea University of Applied Sciences.

Kelley, D. & Kelley, T. (2013) Creative Confidence: Unleashing the Creative Potential Within Us All. Crown Business.

David Kelley (2012): How to build your creative confidence. TED Talk

Creativity — Robert J. Sternberg (robertjsternberg.com

Homo partum – unleashing the creativity within everyone

Etienne Girardet – Unsplash

At the age of five I remember following my parents to the local library of the small village where I grew up. At the entrance of the library, an impressive landscape prototype of an upcoming development project where on display, containing miniature buildings, cars, trees and even dogs. 

The local municipality council had gathered local residents, including my parents, to get their feedback, thoughts and ideas on an upcoming development project. As for me, I was fully occupied in trying to figure out how to create miniature asphalt as realistic as in the landscape prototype, unaware of that I was attending my first participatory design event.

Harnessing creativity

According to David and Tom Kelly (“Creative Confidence” 2013), there is no division between creative and non-creative people. To make something innovative, you need to choose to be creative, and in doing so, not being afraid to make mistakes. It is through experimentation and learning that we nurture our creative capacities. Through our literature studies and insights from Katja Tschimmels lectures, we make the conclusion “Homo partum” — Latin for “creative human”, is a very important driver of any innovation process. 

The ability to harness this creativity that resides within everyone is a powerful tool to drive innovation. Research done by company Braineet shows, that 58% of worldwide businesses are piloting co-creation/participatory design projects to help drive internal innovation. Companies like Unilever, IKEA, DeWalt are using co-creation as a strategy to get both employees and customers to join forces in order to build better products, services and experiences. 

Creativity by Participatory design – in urban development 

It´s not just global food or furniture making companies that has seen the advantages of harnessing the creativity of the workforce and end customers. Professor Henry Sanoff of University North Carolina have studied participatory design for over 50 years and in his publication “Community Participation Methods in Design and Planning”, Sanoff illustrates how the creativity of local communities can be unleashed by using participatory design.

When including residents of a community in the design phase of a new development project, the balance between viability (should we build it), feasibility (can we build it) and desirability (do the residents/customers want it), can be better aligned at an early stage, helping the project to be more anchored within the community and ensuring that the outcome of the project will be more inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable. By using participatory design, the risk of having to redesign and/or redevelop urban spaces is significantly reduced.

Participatory design in urban development uses some elements recognized from the different design thinking approaches. Sanhoff gives examples of the most common stages:

  1. Collection and analysis of primary information where the urban development specialists inspect the area/facility and identifies of the development potential and the needs of the local residents, business owners and other stakeholders, using field observations and interviews as method.

  2. Informing the residents about the upcoming plans to create awareness and promote involvement in the development process. Usually done through newsletter send-outs, bulletin boards or townhall meetings.

  3. Invite residents to participatory design sessions in workshop format where the residents share ideas, create prototypes and proposals, which conveys their needs, wants, and desires. The proposals are presented and reviewed, and the best ideas are selected using voting mechanisms

  4. Celebration as an important part to recognize the community strength and the common achievement. Giving a sense of unity and appropriation for the upcoming project.

Shannon Chris, Dotte Agency

Why use participatory design?

In urban development projects, it is important to give meaning to public spaces, and who, if not people who live in, work in, or utilize these areas such as parks, squares, courtyards, city gardens, sports fields, and playgrounds, will be the ones that can provide the best input on what their needs are? Involving the “end user” in the design process ensures not only more refined ideas and the unleashing of the creativity within, but also a higher chance of a successful project.

Reflection

My lasting memory from that out-of-the-ordinary visit to the library in my youth was that my parents from that day on mentioned the development project every time we drove by the area in our village and how excited they were that they had the chance to convey their thoughts and input. 

Thinking of it now many years later after reflecting on the impressions from the first sessions at SID, I have come to understand the great value of involving the end user in all projects where innovation is needed. 

/ Eleonora Prits & Johan Svensson

————–

Kelley, D. & Kelley, T. (2013) Creative Confidence: Unleashing the Creative Potential Within Us All. Crown Business. 

Sanoff, Henry (2000) Community Participation Methods in Design and Planning. John Whiley and Sons, Inc.

Solis, Brian (2021) This Is Marketing’s Ctrl-Alt-Del Moment: Leading CMOs Prioritize CX And Innovation In Business Transformation, Forbes

Mootee, Idris (2013) Design thinking for strategic innovation, Wiley

https://www.braineet.com/blog/co-creation-examples

Project group 8, DOM.RF, Foundation for the Development of Single-Industry Towns (2018) Involvement of citizens in improvement projects. KB Strelka LLC

Snegireva, Nadezhda (2018) Organization of public discussions of territorial development projects. Project group 8, Program for the development of public spaces of the Republic of Tatarstan

Purpose and unity as a corner stones of future work

Antilooppi and Alma organized a seminar called work life 2022, where operators and influencers from different fields of business shared their vision of the future of work. The topic is interesting and If something, it’s definitely current.

Before Covid19-pandemics flexible working was already every day living for some, but pandemics made it reality for all. We adapted to digital tools and ways of working very fast. Faster that anyone could predict. Sure, we had some problems. We are all already used to kids crashing into Teams-meetings and some have even more dramatic examples of meetings that didn’t go exactly as planned.  People also adapted to the freedom that working from home offered them, and they loved it. The work-life balance became easier to control, at least for those who were not hanging in 14 different Teams- meetings per day.

The need for collaboration has not disappeared. People feel that when working from home from “silo sized for one”, they need more interaction with others and quite soon also in different channels than only on-line. Elina Kiiski Kataja from Ellun Kanat pointed out that companies should focus on thinking and communicating the purpose, why they exist and do what they do. This is due the fact that people in the future are more interested of the shared values and why things are done. This might become even one of the most critical recruitment assets. Ellun Kanat have studied mega trends in business life and the companies ability to change from inside reflects to their success. 

Photo: Päättäjä Foorumi: Työelämä 2022, Ellun Kanat, study findings

Panu Liira from Reaktor pointed out in his speech that employee experience was before pandemics a critical business factor and it is even more critical now when companies are planning their “return to office”. Physical contacts and interactions are in big role when talking about well-being in the future and many companies renew their offices to better answer to this need. 

But is it this simple? Can we, or is it vise to force employees back to office? Do we really need rules and remote policies? Can’t we just trust people to know, what is best for the job and best for themselves? From service designers’ point of view, co-creation and iterative transparent discussion would be in order in many places. Instead of setting up “return the office teams” and “return policy- groups” should we let people to decide? What would happen if we would explain the goals, set up the frame and then see what happens? This was also the deep message and learnings from Reaktor.

Photo: Päättäjä Foorumi: Työelämä 2022, Reaktor, Employee experience 

IN the end of the seminar was a panel discussion where Timo Lappi from Heltti Oy, Alex Nieminen from N2 Helsinki, Anu Eiro from Intrum and Tuomas Sahi from Antilooppi debated of hybrid working.  Well, debate is quite far from how the discussion went. All agreed that there is a lot of need and will for meeting people face to face. Collaboration is important for both company success and as well to well-being. 
Panelists said that empathy and good eye for the game is now needed. Too big changes and one-size-fits-all thinking might cause difficulties. We need to remember we are again facing a change situation and adapting to change takes time and needs support. Hybrid work, or how ever we finally end up calling it,in the future, is more flexible than work before. 

During the seminar, I heard the words empathy, co-creation, discussion, working together, agile etc, at least twenty times. This makes me smile and gives me hope. The world is changing and there is more and more need for designers working in various roles. Service designers can help in so many change situations by bringing their skills and tools into table. Let’s co-design a better work life together.

Source: Työelämä 2022- tapahtuma, Antilooppi ja Alma Talent

24.9.2021

Duration: 2h

Tarja Paanola, SID MBA Student at Laurea University of Applied Sciences

Self-organizing organizations and well-being

Tampere University and The Finnish work environment fund has studied self-guiding organizations from occupational well-being point of view. The study drilled into topics like: On what level is employee’s well-being in organizations that have no management? What is the common stress factor in self organizing companies? Which ways of working would support employee’s well-being? 

Study group found seven development areas that should be taken into consideration when developing self-organizing teams. 

  • Clarification and management of work itself
  • Adjusting workload
  • Know-how and growth (as individual, – team and – organization)
  • Increasing the sense of community
  • Increasing / managing the information flow
  • Equal and functioning decision-making process
  • Managing organizational tension and solving conflicts

Picture by Heli Penttinen, source, Hyvinvoinnin seitsemän elementtiä itseohjautuvassa organisaatiossa- hankkeen keskeiset kehittämissuositukset. Webinaaritallenne 24.8.2021


All these seem like everyday problems or development areas to all kind of companies. Painting a clear vision of what the company is doing and making sure all understand the strategy at least on basic level the same, has always been a priority in companies. All companies also struggle with information and workload problems. Works does not distribute equally, and some get more load than other as the same time others get bored the same time. We also know that only organizations that learn to learn will survive in the futures faster and faster renewing business environment. 

To understand this study better, we need to also understand the typical features or descriptions of self-organizing company. In self organizing companies’ responsibilities and decision-making rights are distributed to the whole organization. Common goals and purpose guide peoples’ actions. Abilities to decide and influence your own work are high. Employees can choose the ways, time, and place where they work. In self organizing companies employees have power also to influence on the team structures, recruitments and rules.  The ability to influence on different issues in the company goes as high as the strategy that guides all actions. 

It seems that experienced well-being in self. Organizing companies is quite high. This is partly due the autonomy, freedom to choose and influence. When comparing traditional companies and self-organizing ones, it can be seen that work engagement is higher in self-organizing companies (Tampere University, 2021)


From service designers’ point of view self-organizing team structure seams more than right. By bringing everyone’s opinions and ideas to the table, I believe we are more able to solve more complex problems and create more innovative solutions. The idea of giving everyone a change to influence walks hand in hand with design thinking ideology.  
As the Tampere University study also states, this kind of model yet requires clarity in vision, common rules and guidelines, transparent communication and regular reviews and discussions of how we are doing and where we are going. When management is missing, leadership is needed more. I feel this will be the future, but before that, we have some rocky road ahead of us turning traditional organizations to more flexible mode. 

After listening the webinar and discussions followed, I stayed thinking which kind of design thinking methods and service design tools we could use to create tools to ease pointed development areas in self-organizing companies.

Text by Tarja Paanola
SID MBA Student at Laurea University of Applied Sciences

Source; Seven steps to occupational 
wellbeing in self guiding organization- Webinar

Tampere University and 
The Finnish Work environment fund
24.8.2021 

Breaking the glass ceilings

Women entrepreneurships days seminar 19.11.2020

“I don’t mind, I don’t mind…” sings a beautiful brown-haired woman on a screen. “Tools for breaking the glass ceiling-seminar” is about to start. WED- seminar (Women entrepreneurship day) is international event trying to raise the awareness of equality and women rights. As all events this fall, this is also organized online.  

“I don’t mind….” Is the lady still singing, But we really should! 

Why should we be interested on female entrepreneurs or care of equality or women rights in business? In business, does it matter who is in charge? 

Wendy Diamond the founder of WED organization opened the seminar by stating some facts. Companies led by women have higher stock returns and better profits globally than those led by men. Also, it is reported that employee satisfaction is on higher level in companies led by women. 

So if the fact is so, why most companies are still run by men? 

There are some quite speculative explanations people are more satisfied in companies led by women. Some say it is about women being more emphatic some that women have different outlook on life, and they read quiet signals and trust on their intuition in decision making more than men. At the same time, statistics show that even these companies might do well in revenues, they tend to grow in slower phase than companies led by men. Statistics also show that women have less access to capital to raise the business. Do men have more knowledge on these areas of business or is about courage?

Well, we need to remember that not all female entrepreneurs are running big companies. The number of female entrepreneurs is growing globally and there is a reason. Many women in developing countries start their entrepreneurship with the help of micro loans. By enabling microloans to women, different organizations actually do much more than just help on woman starting her small business. When woman get a change to employ herself, it usually means that her children get a change to go to school, learn to read, get better jobs, develop their country etc.

But let’s get back to the actual event. After the interesting start, we heard different entrepreneur stories. They were encouraging, energizing, positive but something was missing. “No one was was talking about financing, budgeting, making business plans. There were a lot of talking about Following your dream”, “wanting to live a dream life and surfing”, “jumping out from the wheel”. This all sounds great but where is the reality check?

I have attended to many women entrepreneurship seminars and events. In too many cases I have been disappointed as the content is too soft. I have the highest trust in female potential, and I stand behind all those who has the courage to take the risk of starting their own business, but these seminars tend to be a disappointment after another. It would benefit all female entrepreneurs to talk about these “hard business factors”. In the eyes of the investors and other parties that can help you to raise your business the combination of emphatic leader and sharp economist is a very compelling candidate.


Tarja Paanola
SID Student

Does the glass ceiling still exist?

Photo: https://www.hcamag.com/au/specialisation/diversity-inclusion/does-the-glass-ceiling-still-exist/142119

Changing the tech-industry one step at a time

As someone working in sustainable development, I am always fascinated by events that concentrate on making our planet better and healthier. So following event caught my eye: “Innovation, Big Tech and the Climate Crisis” by Royal Bank of Scotland Entrepreneurship, which was held on Wednesday 17th of March 2021. The event concentrated on challenges on climate and technology and how we need to innovate towards sustainability. I’m not a tech-oriented person and know very little about the industry, so it was a learning experience.

Marc O’Regan, CTO EMEA at Dell Technologies, presented what and how Dell is trying to reach a 2030 moonshot goal to accelerate the circular economy.

We know that sustainability is about the ecological perspective and the well-being of people and economic balance. These three elements need to be in balance for sustainability to take place effectively. A great quote from SEOS- Ideation cards for positive impact says: “Designers do not need to become experts in environmental and social issues to make a difference. Basic awareness and understanding of these areas, however, increases their ability to do the right thing from the beginning.”

This is where Marc hit the spot. They understand that all of these perspectives need to be considered since it’s not only about production and manufacturing. What they do and how they do it also has an environmental and societal impact. It requires taking all partners and suppliers together with customers towards a sustainability journey.

He listed some key examples of how people get involved:

  • Enriching communities and strive for sustainability
  • Inclusion in workspace
  • Closing diversity gap
  • Drive inclusion
  • Environment of empowerment

So what Dell is designing? Marc said that tech and programs are created to solve problems. They work with NASA, healthcare and other industries which require new technological approaches, but that is not the only thing Dell is doing. They are also working towards transforming lives and the future.

At the centre of everything is sustainability. They have three strategic approaches: accelerating the circular economy, protecting the planet and championing the people who build their products. They are constantly improving their sustainable actions to change the systems. Such as:

  • finding ways to do a circular economy,
  • being part of a culture that shifts towards a greener planet, and
  • working together with people who help Dell implement sustainable actions through programs, products, software, and other ways.
  • There are also constantly auditing that standards are met.

A new insight for me was that E-waste is the fastest growing waste stream in the world and that only 20% of electronics are responsibly recycled. By law, you can bring your old electrical appliances into stores that sell electrical equipment in Finland. Also, we have waste collection points where you can bring your old electronics free of charge. We have a good situation in Finland since almost 90% of e-waste is recycled. We are doing a good job, but it’s not perfect. Part of the collected e-waste is exported to developing counties where they end up in landfill or are burnt.

As Marc said, there’s massive pressure regarding this situation on a global scale. Therefore it is also a team sport and requires a collective effort. They are working closely with and engaging their own design teams, suppliers, manufacturers, and users to find a solution and change the system not only as a business itself but as a whole industry.

So what Dell is currently working on?

They are adding more resale and recycling services around the worlds, adding circular design standards in their operation concept, creating circular material innovations, and using scraps such as reclaimed carbon fibre. The result is that “no tech should end up in waste”. In addition to this, they also co-operate with non-profits. They are collecting plastic waste from the oceans and using that plastic in their products. The aim is to keep the plastics out of the sea.

They are also trying to reduce their carbon footprint by changing designs and using AI to solve many problems. For instance, making data-centres more efficient, lowering costs, risks and environmental impacts. The idea is to generate more than what it is using.

“It’s doing the right things in the right ways.”

When hearing this, I couldn’t help think that this is what the design process all about.

Post by: Tereza Dickson
Current Topics in Service Design.

Game changers

I just finished watching the “TEDxHultLondon 2021: Game Changers” event that you could also follow in an AR environment! This was an independently organized TED event by Hult International Business School. The event focuses on breakthroughs and innovations and invites very inspiring speakers to present their perspectives on a collective topic.

This was actually my very first TED event. I have, however, seen some individual TED talks on YouTube and other platforms. But following a live event and watching something afterwards has a different feel to it.

The pace of the event was quick, so I really hope I was able to catch the key takeaways. There were six speakers: Raj Balandusadam, Trudi West, Ranu Sharma, Max Klymenko, Michelle Li, and Gleb Tritus. I will only give a little insight into Raj’s and Gleb’s speeches, keeping this blog post as compact as possible.

Raj Balandusadam presented the topic “Can AI save the planet?”. He built a story around a cheap shirt, and that “cheap always comes at a high cost”.

His speech concentrated on how AI can help us understand what we really need. Manufacturers, retailers, and distributors could use the information AI gatherers to produce and sell only what is needed, thus reducing waste and pollution. In addition to this, AI can learn what style we like, what actually fits and suits us best, and predict what we will need in future.

Also, we need information that will help us towards the right and sustainable choices. In Finland, we don’t have traffic light labels, but personally, when visiting the UK, they have impacted my food choices.

Source: British nutrition foundation

Raj presents an idea that this traffic light system would be used in a much broader context, such as the fashion industry. Just imagine when buying a simple piece of garment, such as a t-shirt or pair of socks, you’d have choices from Green, which is good for the planet, Yellow, which has a caution, or Red, which is not good for a planet. Which one would you choose?

Gleb Tritus, with the topic “Travel and mobility after the storm”, presents 3 examples that could influence the next game-changers in the mobility industry.

The first, due to COVID-19, we are adapting to the new normal. Through this new normal, there are massive technological advances. Travel and mobility industries need to adapt and reinvent themselves and their offerings to this new normal.

The second is that we need to utilize existing systems better. With the help of digital innovation, we can make current systems more efficient.

The third and last example was about understanding that consumers have changed. In just a few years, all of us will have a digital footprint. But unfortunately, in the current state, the travel and mobility industry still fails to utilize digital information to satisfy our needs because the industry in itself is very complex and consists of many parts.

Gleb concluded his speech with future foresight:

  • Soon, we might travel by air taxis.
  • There will be more autonomous vehicles.
  • We will substitute a lot of travelling through digitalization. A great example was the event itself.

I highly recommend watching the entire event: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mbTvmyaX8Io

Post by: Tereza Dickson
Current Topics in Service Design.