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Future of Service Design – does it exist?

Ever thought about this? Is service design just one ism, which comes like a wave: First small, getting strong and then fading away. When reaching the end of its existing curve, the ism is so worn out that no-one even wants to hear the words “service design”.

PaneeliAalto University Executive Education arranged on the 1st of June 2017, on International Service Design Day, networking event around this very interesting theme. Speakers and panelists who game from different backgrounds looked at the topic in a versatile and detailed way. They represented front line service design expertise: Peter Barkman, Managing Director from Palmu Helsinki, Laura Franck, Client Service Director from Hellon, Ulla Jones, Business Designer from OP Financial Group and Pekka Toivonen, CEO of Muotohiomo. Next I will raise some points from the discussion to give some thoughts to this important heading.

Transformation is the point

Service design have to grow from project oriented way of doing to be way of thinking that leads to cultural change and transformation in organization. “Human” and “experience” should be taken as a part of business plan in the organization. The experts see that service design as a concepts and the term might disappear. The content itself becomes an everyday part of organizational approaches and practices. Whatever the term that is used, important is to make measurable changes with goal of creating better experiences and focus on customer.

All in – heterogeneously

Service design has changed the whole design doing. Design is done by co-creating with customers, not alone in a studio. Important in the future is to do together. Create ideas that can be shared. Create feeling of belonging. There is no individual nor group that cannot co-create. Heterogeneous people are needed in design. People with different backgrounds are an asset. Service design wants T-shaped people, who have deep skills in one discipline and broad ability to work outside core area.

More broadly – more deeply

There was also discussion that should service design know how be civic, which is already learned at school. On the other hand experts pointed out that customer understanding will be more professional in the future. Designers should keep themselves at the top of the wave in their ability to answer the needs of changing business environment. One problem that was raised was about in-house design agencies. At the moment large companies have too small design units. There is not enough impact and results remain low. IT-firms have recently bought service design agencies. This raised a question: Is there need for agencies specialized only in design in the future? Maybe maybe not.

Digitalization needs empathy and creativity

In the midst of a strong change due digitalization, human might be forgotten. Empathy skills is needed more than ever. The approach of service design may even be a necessity for organizations to survive in a changing environment. One expert pointed out that “Machine won human in chess, but machine and human won machine in chess.” Ability to communicate separates us from the machine. Human is at his best in creative processes.

Selling and buying skills are crucial

The lack of skills of selling service design to organization and management is huge problem at the moment. Problem is also that service design is hard to buy, people inside the organization do not have service design inquiry skills.  These might be the dead or alive –issues for service design.

New tools and skills are needed

Experts agreed that service design to survive, new service design tools have to be created. Tools that are inspirational and get the whole organization to realize the ongoing change.  To accept vagueness is a necessity in the whole design process. Skills to empty one’s mind, skills to concentrate on the essential even if world around is a mess, is huge asset in the future. Designer with big ears and open mind are wanted. Methods for empathy and listening are needed.

To concentrate on what happened yesterday or what is happening today is not enough. Equipment for futures thinking and foresight is needed. In the future quantitative and qualitative customer understanding are melting together. Qualitative know-how and technology together are the strongest forces for change. In the future artificial intelligence will help a lot in customer understanding. To find customer needs, customer’s own data “My data” will be utilized. Gaming is used as a method for participating and storytelling.  Service design will be more fun, human and creative.

The future exists for service design

As a conclusion, service design as a content will exists in the future. Experts agreed that need for design is endless, challenge is there all the time. There will be evolution in service design doing followed by changes in business environment and due to embedding service design in everyday practice.  Also new tools and broad range of design makers are needed. In the future service design will be heart partner with quantitative methods and technology.

GovJam2017 – Top 8 benefits of Jams for the public sector

Service Jams are becoming a common practice in the public sector too – or are they? How many of civil servants actually know the concept or have used the method for developing public services? At least some civil servants know the concept and some have also tested the method locally and nationally, on a small and large scale – and now also on a global scale when GovJam2017 was organized by the D9 team of the State Treasury and the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment on 17.-18.5.2017 in Helsinki.

Blogi_GovJam_kuva 1Only 48 hours to rock the public sector

GovJam2017 is a global event which started in Australia in 2012. In this event, teams around the world have “only 48 hours to rock the public sector”. Finland has taken part only once earlier – and this year Helsinki took part in two separate locations; in Viikki (open invitation) and at Espa 4 (for civil servants). Although one principal of Jams is that the participants have different backgrounds (stakeholders, customers, students etc.) the Espa 4 event was organized only for civil servants in order to learn more about Jams as a method on one hand and to get to know each other and to form a service design network among civil servants on the other hand.

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I interviewed the participants and the feedback of the Jam was mainly positive. Some of them tried the method for the first time and felt that it was a fun and fresh way to design new public services – maybe the legos, plasticine and other arrangements had to do with this… but it’s true; a fun and positive attitude feeds creative thinking which again feeds development of new and innovative ideas. It is important to encourage other participants, to add new elements and to boost creative thinking. “Yes, AND…” kind of communication is recommended  – and even if there were too wild ideas, the market research (teams went out to test ideas on common people at the streets) would cut them down.

The participants had some challenges to tackle the wide theme – the Australian host gave this year’s theme on a video and it was a really abstract one, only a sound of birds and traffic on the background. This was something new for some of the participants – but this is also one of the key principals of the Jams; the themes are wide and complex in nature – and that is why you need to use crowdsourcing, to tackle the problem together with others.  The situation was felt fussy which caused some uncertainty – but this is also part of the game. Thus good facilitation is required; to mentor the teams, to guide them and to enable smooth processes.

Top 8 benefits of Jams for the public sector

Here is the summary of the interviews:

  1. Crowdsourcing; organize a Jam when you have a wide and complex problem but do not know where to start, how etc.
  2. Co-creation; value is co-created together with customers and other stakeholders
  3. New ideas and perspectives; different backgrounds of participants enable that the issue is viewed from various perspectives
  4. Information and insights; customers and other stakeholders tell you what works now – and in the future
  5. New contacts; in a Jam you get to know other people, stakeholders, customers, students etc. which can benefit your operations also in the future
  6. Capabilities and resources; sharing of capabilities and resources can save tax revenue
  7. Efficiency; ideas – testing – iterations… fast testing of ideas can save tax revenues
  8. Impact; all the above mentioned can lead to a greater social impact

Service Jams also link with the experiment culture highlighted in the Government Program of Finland. Here you can view some ongoing public experiments, comment on them and also add your idea for an experiment: http://www.kokeilunpaikka.fi (currently only in Finnish).

-Kati Shibutani

 

Dog fur mittens?

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What does the customer of tomorrow want? I was at the launch of futurist Elina Hiltunen’s new book and petification was the morning’s first consumer trend. Elina identifies and explains 18 consumer trends that can have an impact on you, me and on different businesses through us.

The trends already exist – it’s a question of how well we identify them and can we put them to use in for example developing new services or developing existing ones? Megatrends are the big changes that are already having an impact and have been taken into account in several business fields – population growth, digitalization, longer life expectancy etc. Trends on the other hand are changes of direction in behavior or situations. And weak signals are the first signs of change, the rising phenomen  (Hiltunen, 2017, 56).

The following are the trends that I picked up from Elina.

Changes of direction

Petification – digitalization is here as well. Smart devices are entering the pet industry –  – PetPace helps you observe your pet’s health and TailTalk sensor the feelings of your pet. In USA you can purchase the lazy dogwalker’s Pooper-service – the scooper will take care of picking up the organic waste for you for a price of 15 dollars per month. And you can buy a genetically engineered aquarium fish that glows in the dark as a Xmas present.

Hello Kitty business class on the airplane is all about the trend of  taking care of your inner child and the need to stay young, relaxed and experimental. The soft throwable mike belongs in theis trend as well. The perfect me -trend  includes sharing your own views and opinions with bigger audiences – hate talk is the negative side of this and brave acts the positive one. We are many –trend manifests itself in the  courage to be yourself – being different and non-perfect makes us more interesting.

There’s no typical consumer

Something for everyone – the positive side of this trend is that even a niche segment can be interesting for a company when in global scale. Stereotypes are breaking down  – in her book Elina Hiltunen mentions an interesting example  – the physical change of the barbie for a healthier and more real look. And barbie’s friend sits in a wheelchair.

Also the aspects of getting old are changing – at my hairdresser’s I stumbled across Ari Seth Cohen’s superb book  Advanced Style. Older & wiser – all the models are over 70 with an attitude.

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The new and weird – what stuck with me was the KFC nail polish that tastes like chicken…Well, IKEA is already selling bikes and insurance and OP Bank is into transportation and leasings cars.

Digital and smart device consumers  – as our consuming is digitalizing and we’re leaving trails online, more and more information is at the same time gathered about us, our behavior and interests. Hello Barbie seeks answers to your questions from the cloud services and on the other hand the old fashioned printed book is coming again. The temple of mind, soul and body – as stress has increased in our lives the interest in physical and mental health is increasing as well. We might even pick or change a job based on it increasing our wellbeing even if the monetary value is less.

Easy, cheap, right now – there is a counter trend to this in the form of conscientious consuming. The power of many, the do good consumer and We’re all heroes – all these trends have ethics in their core, the customer of tomorrow wants to support her values with her wallet. We all have the power to make an impact – even one person can trigger a change in today’s world.

Do you want to be a trend hunter?

I’m interested in anything new – in my projects I map the past, present and future to gain deeper understanding of the needs and wants of people to help create new business models with my customers. Trends are a great way of anchoring a vision and help to inspire internal change.

Good tools are a big help on the road. Elina gives a good tip in the beginning of the book: open a project page on Facebook and use it to post different material on and around the topic you’re interested in. This helps you become a trend hunter as well.

Let all the flowers bloom!

Tomi Härmä from MediaLuotsi opened the Finnish Marketin Reseach Society’s (SMTS) seminar on Tuesday 7.2 2017 on Leading Customer Experience using a finnish saying “let all the flowers bloom”. Meaning that all the different disciplines of research plus service design thinking & tools are needed to get deep understanding of customer’s needs and wants and learn from different perspectives on the experience journey.

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Instead of the overused term “customer experience” (CX) we are already going closer to  actual customer is the queen thinking and doing. Using facts as well as emotions to gain insights into this journey. The aim of the seminar was to learn what it means to actually lead customer experience in real life through doing.

Leading with facts or vision?

Lauri Toivonen, marketing director from S retail group, took us thru their 3 year journey of change. It has been all about leading thru vision, data has been important but secondary. As all business fields are now in global competition, the creating of meaningful content is of utmost importance. Having the ad on the price of minced meat on the front page of daily newspaper is not content. It is not enough that you’re the best in Finland as Zara, Hennes & Mauritz and XXL Sport have shown us. The aim needs to be set high.

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The starting point for the journey is a profitable business equation. Analytics, objectives, insights, optimizing and constant learning are the factors.

Creativity is the last unfair competitive advantage

Lauri quoted Jarkko Tuuria and explained that creativity needs a solid base of insight and understanding of the customers and their needs. A service is always about a solution to a customer’s problem, putting the customer really in the center.

Cultural change from advertising to doing

Human in the center means the employees as well as customers. Putting the employees in the center means doing together, sharing and co-creating – not an attitude of my team and my targets. Less leadership forums and more gathering together to solve problems and find solutions. And this requires relentless and supporting leadership and coaching. The skills needed have changed and so has the structure of the organization. Also the job titles have changed to support the change process.

Top 3

  • Loyalty 2.0 – be loyal to the customer, not the other way around
  • NO to stills – if the customer can’t use or act on the service, do not make it a service
  • AI –  helps to learn about customers and their needs

No more presentations

Insight director Laura Andström from research company Ottoboni continued on Lauri’s theme about the changes in business practises. It is all about co-creating and learning together. There are no longer consultants presenting on the the other side of the table but the work is done together from start to finish. A common goal and team work together thru common understanding and insightment process. Old school process described in the picture below meant that the customer gave the brief to the consultants/ad agency/reseach company and expected them to find the solution. Life went on both sides and in worse case scenario the consultants ended up presenting something that the customers didn’t get and got fired.

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Laura’s learnings on mapping the customer journey

Zero point – put the customer in the center and then draw a map looking thru their eyes to help them solve their problems/reach their goals. Be brave and have a vision. When you understand the customer’s everyday life, you can use the journey map as a tool. Do validate the learnings to check that the business equation works.

  • Emotion is the road to innovation – id what happens between doing, thinking and emotions
  • Hands and feet on – experiment in practice, take the employees and customer along
  • Use different research methods and practises  – to open new perspectives
  • Keep the focus – can’t have it all at once
  • One size doesn’t fit all (read the blog Don’t make a Journey Map)
  • Concentrate on moments, not channels – the customer’s experiences where value is created or not
  • Lead the emotions – concentrate on expectations and feelings
  • Co-create, measure, projectize – leading the customer journey needs everybody on be onboard
  • Follow and measure

The Informed Consumer and Insights about Insights

Insight – inspiration – vision. Those were the some of the magic words mentioned at the Informed Consumer study research in Stockholm. The study is conducted by a Nordic insight agency Kuudes and the content consists of current and future trends and motives underlying consumer behavior. The results of the study were first presented in the beautiful Fotografiska museum on Valentines day 2017, and in addition to the release of the results fantastic quest speakers were there to inspire the enthusiastic international audience.

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The first speaker, Chairman & Advisor from Berghs School of Communication Pär Lager woke everybody up by stating that “The opposite may also be true”. His big question was how to constructively find our the other possible truths that exist in every problem and solution. Insights play a big role in finding the opposite truths, and Lager framed that as outside driven company culture, which means that consumers, their behavior, motives and consumer trends should always come first.

An example used by Lager was Amazon. In the 2009 financial crisis they were able to grow substantially, and did that by selling something that has always existed in a channel that was not new. What was new however was the way they were able to capitalize on the consumer behaviors and to build new offerings by combining existing technologies to build a unique marketplace. The example is of course revolutionary and often cited, but it clearly states what can be done with a clever use of insights.

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According to Lager, insights need openness to change, and without that they are useless. It’s good to remember that even though the world is moving fast, many things still evolve very slowly. Because of that there is a great risk to get stuck in the old ways, and that is of course to be avoided at all cost. And again, this is where the alternative scenarios come to play!

Next up Head of Consumer Design at Alra, Tytti-Lotta Ojala inspired us with her talk about brand-led innovation and the role of insight in that. From a real-time survey done during her speech, it was quite clear that what’s missing from organizations when it comes to making good innovations are bold decisions. Those can be done by backing them up with clear insights and vision about the consumer and the future. Ojala stated that in order to have successful insights, they need to be defined somehow. Organizations need to think about what insights mean for them, and what do they try to capture with insights. Only then can the organization talk the same language.

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For Ojala, insight is a vessel for engaging creativity. It is not a fact, but rather a vision, and indeed needs visionary mindset and creativity to be successful. Insights should inspire people in the companies to build brands their consumers grow to love. Ojala also stated that the stronger the value proposition of the product is, the less you need to do to get noticed. A strong proposition stands out from the competitors and catches attention, but you have to think big and try to change the game. This is the way to create love from the consumers.

Last but not least was time to release the findings from the Informed Consumer study. The results contain 7 consumer segments and 3 underlying trends in consumer mindsets: significance, self-importance and moderation.

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Significance is the need to understand our purpose, and in consumption behaviors that means that the consumers are looking for significance in their choices. This is often done by grounding daily choices to personal values, which can of course vary greatly. Brands that are able to take a stand and be authentic are interesting to people looking for significance, and in fact 58% of consumers want authenticity form their products!

Self-importance is more about creativity and self-expression, and according to the study 54% of consumers value creativity and trendiness in daily life. Consumption is then focused more in creating meaning and experiences, not just fulfilling basic needs. Individuality and status are drivers for consumption.

Moderation is about loyalty, modesty and longer relationships with brands. Consumption is often cautious and consumers want to make smart choices. Routines play a part of this trend, and 75% of the consumers say that they make choices based on routines. Minimal but still good quality is important, and cutting down on less important things can be considered a pleasure in itself.

There results presented were from the Swedish study, and obviously there are differences between cultures. Kuudes has previously conducted a similar study in Finland, you can find the results here. A highly recommended read!

Ahto´17- lean service creation

ahtologobanneri-5855During this week TEKES (Finnish Funding Institute for Innovation) and Futurice  organized a free LEAN service creation workshop as a gift to Finland celebrating it´s 100 years of independence. Participants were from development functions from various industries representing the variation of Finnish companies. Naturally the bigger purpose of the event was to spread the word of agile, customer centric development methods, to boost Finnish economy. So on a grey Wednesday morning we were 500 hundred participants in 60 groups of 4-5 people together with 50 000 Post-its eager to master the method.

What is lean service creation?

According to my understanding Lean service creation is a service design process developed by Futurice.  It´s generated by applying commonly known best practices and company´s own experience from client work. It combines the principles of lean start up methodology with design thinking principles and the Strategyzer business model canvas.  The phases in the lean service creation process follow pretty much the double diamond theory frame for service design process. All the material is open source and can be found here: https://leanservicecreation.com/ .  The method is aiming in creating excellent digital services, but I would highlight, established companies can apply the process to all development work. Why is this needed?

Love the problem not the solution

A research by Harvard business school´s Shikhar Ghost points out very clearly that 75 % of all startups fail. One reason behind the phenomenon is that business school methods are not directly adaptable to startups. Those principles are based on business logic and creating five year plans as a newly founded startup only has a service and it is still figuring out, what the business logic will be. Situation is pretty much the same for established companies, when they are aiming for service innovations. For a startup setting energy in creating business plan would be almost like writing phantasy stories as there are too many assumptions included.  But how often established companies fall into the same trap? My rough estimation is too often. We have the tendency to fall in love with our own solution and forget the customer experience. This is where the lean startup philosophy, or in this case the lean service creation steps in.

businessproblesmDuring the one-day work shop we were facilitated through the phases of the process by learning by doing in it practice. Despite the fact that we only had 6 hours of time, and we were not able to try all the phases nor to dig deeper in to the phases, the main message was clear: Love the problem and test and validate everything with your customers.

You can be the change

Although we only worked like 16 minutes with each of the phases continuing straight forward to the next step of the process, the work shop mastered to demonstrate the power of the facilitated process and design thinking principles. At the end of the day all the teams had developed really good ideas, that most had some potential for further development. We felt inspired and energized. I guess the commonly known story in many company is not the lack of ideas, but the ability to develop them further. It´s also very true that in many companies the culture doesn´t support the design thinking principles. Easily this leads into a conversation, where a bigger transformation is needed. But don´t fall into this trap, because then nothing is changed.  Here you have a very practical tool to start working with your ideas. You don´t need to be a designer to  start  figuring out, what motivates your customer.

Information about Ahto´17 can be found from the facebook group.

#designthinking #servicedesign #leanstartup #leanservicecreation #agiledevelopment