Service design is creating a new mindset. After SDN Global Conference in Madrid and case studies of new services we can acknowledge that this specific approach to build organisations and their DNA and offer for customers is spreading the word. In this post I want to show most interesting cases from SDN conference to memorise this time and SDN awards winners and those honourable mentioned.
Disruptive Innovation Festival is an online festival of ideas that asks: what if we could redesign everything? The 2017 festival was organised in November but all the content is available online until 4th of January. So go and have a look during the Christmas holidays, there’s lots of interesting stuff!
Capture from thinkdif instagram
Design as a empowerment was a topic of Joana Casaca Lemos’ keynote. She shared her Phd research in which she created a design tool to empower small business to communicate qualities of sustainability in order to make impact. The design tool is called Communication Assembly.
Joanna sees designer’s role shifting from being the expert on design more into being facilitator or enabler. Nowadays everyone can be a designer, and the difference often is that a professional designer is the one creating the methods and tools so that anyone can be a problem-solver aka everyday designer.
Designer is an agent of change that wants to empower people to make the impact. Joanna claims that designers often share one quality that is ‘care’. Designers are interested in making other people flourish in order to design. With that care also comes an understanding that “everyone is an expert of their own experience”, hence everyone brings value to the process.
Capture from Joana’s tumblr.
Joanna presents concept of “Design as flourishing” meaning that in order to design social-change that is lasting and effective, it must not be about the designer, the change has to be rooted in empowerment of beneficiaries. In order to do so, Joanna created Communication Assembly that brings together small businesses to create their own story of impact. By giving away the power, the designer can enable the ones affecting by the design to make the change.
The role of designer is changing; everyone wants to be a designer, or at least think like one. Have a look at this article stating that “Our profession is in between ‘utopia and oblivion.’ It will be oblivion if we continue focusing on minor aesthetic problems.”
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Who would have knew that Ikea is actually the coolest kid in town with their living lab Space10? I think Carla Cammilla Hjort’s keynote on Future Living Lab at Asuntomessut Digitalist –event was the most inspiring speech I’ve seen in a while. Ikea definitely is ahead of their game when is comes to design thinking, co-creation and storytelling!
Picture from Space10 Playbook
So, first shortly, what is Space10?
It is Ikea’s future-living lab on a mission to design a better and more sustainable way of living. Space10’s Playbook explains it well:
Ikea has a vision to create a better everyday life for the ,any people and acknowledges that to fulfil this vision, we need new ways of doing things. That is why they have set up SPACE10, a future-living lab for exploration and inspiration, rooted in the idea that together we can co-create a better and more sustainable life.
We all have a choice to make. We can close our eyes and hope for the best, or we can come together and shape the future we dream of.
What is does?
In Space10, Ikea is able to:
–> Experiment and co-create new ways of designing for a better future
–> Look into new directions and explore emerging potentials
–> Work with global collaborative network of experts and forward-thinking partners
–> Test and try new ideas and solutions in a non-commercial environment
–> Storytell and share everything we do to spark the discussion, make ideas stick and move people to action
–> Create a playground for IKEA to be inspired and connect with new opportunities
How is it done?
Space10 uses a collaborative network driven approach. Camilla explained that Space10 team is small, only about 30 employees, but they work with a large network of experts in different fields. In that way they are able to truly co-create and also have customized teams in each project.
Picture from SPACE10 Playbook
Space10 uses a set of tools, and they believe that a good tool is a job half done. The most inspiring tool they use is called Playful research. A great example of it is e.g. www.onesharedhouse2030.com. ONE SHARED HOUSE 2030 is a playful research project by anton & irene + SPACE10 that aims to get insights on the future of co-living through a collaborative survey. The project is a sequel to the interactive documentary ONE SHARED HOUSE.
Picture from https://onesharedhouse2030.com
The process Space10 uses is innovation framework that has three stages: explorations, prototypes and pilots. The process emphasize testing as early as possible. “We know that the longer we work on our plans in a vacuum, the more likely we are to fail”.
WHY is it done?
In her presentation Carla showed this striking photo and asked “How can we design empowerment rather than addiction?”. “Technological breakthroughs” is one of five macrotrends Ikea have identified.
Picture from Carla’s presentation
Carla stated that if a company does not change the way people behave, they won’t change the society neither. She also highlighted the importance of designing social interactions, not only to design services or products. She claimed that a lot of things have been build, but if these things lack the culture, they lack life. I guess the same goes with any products, or services, or companies. If one does not engage with the users and the community, the end result is empty.
How cool is this? Every company should have its’ own lab to explore the world and its’ opportunities. Space10 also proves that Ikea is definitely not settling, it understands that the world, the business and the people are constantly changing. IKEA has to keep up. And maybe not just to keep up, but to lead the way. With Innovation lab, they invite the best designers, influencers and the critical crowd to be part of their story.
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IxDa-meeting gathered interaction design community together to mingle and discuss under the theme: Being Different.
In his keynote, Reaktor’s Design Director Timo Ilola gave three steps how to stand out as a brand:
1. Differentiate on all levels
Brands should identify where a difference can be made and then use that knowledge in all levels. As an example Ilola used Netflix, that uses cards as identifying element. And cards are used in all of their touchpoints and channels (except in the service itself!)
2. Design strategically
Ilola stated that only trendy brands should follow trends. If a brand tries to follow trends, it will end up only copying others. Brands should be internalised and a good tool to do that is to create design principles and drivers. Good way to define these is to collect all the information there is available about the brand in a one big board, and then as a team start putting pieces together as principles.
3. Be memorable
Memorable brand experiences are designed in the heart of user value, business value and brand value. Experiences should be memorable in order to stand out.
Great case example about designing brand experience that stands out, is Reaktor’s work for Finnair. By understanding the customer journey they defined Finnair’s customer experience as “Peace of Mind”. All services, like Finnair app and in-flight entertainment system, is designed the design principle in mind. Here a video about the services and here’s the whole case.
All in all, Design is an opportunity to differentiate from the competitors.
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One of the so-called hot topics in design world is how to connect empathy and technology. Technology is often understood as something that is clinical and remote from the human emotions. The theme was discussed in Design Forum talk: Empathy and Technology that was organised by Design Forum Finland in the end of November.
The most interesting keynote in my opinion was the academia perspective on how an organization can understand human. Anna Seppänen who is a Doctoral Researcher from Faculty of Theology in University of Helsinki shared her research findings on the topic. From the researcher-perspective, empathy is a buzzword and that is both wonderful and awful thing; a buzzword often is everything but at the same time it is nothing. She defined empathy being ability to share other’s positive and negative emotions but also separate them from one’s own feelings. This was a great reminder for myself; I often forget that empathy does not mean identifying, it means understanding. From service designer perspective empathy does not mean that you share the same feelings as the customer, one just have to be capable to understand what the customer is feeling. She also pointed out something that striked my mind; Anna argued that if organization explains that customer-centricity is important, it cannot be it if it treats own employees as resources or “things”. An organisation cannot be empathic towards customers if it’s not empathic towards its’ own people. One thing is also important to remember; rush is the most efficient way to loose empathy. To conclude her findings she presented the key components organization that understand human have:
Formula of organization that understands human (Seppänen)
Nelli Lähteenmäki from Fifth Corner Inc. shared her thoughts about what kind of role empathy plays in a start-up. She concluded her thoughts in three points: start-ups should be empathic in product development, technology features should support empathy and start-ups should be empathic when considering the impact of their product or service.
1. First point is familiar from service design, although service designers of course talk about services (and so did Nelli :)). The development (or design) process should be about the customer, only by knowing the customer, an empathy can be present: Ask questions, use data, stay close to the users etc.
2. Empathy can be a design principle so that features of the service can be built to support the empathy.
3. The third point is actually a hot topic of the time, according to Nelli this is the biggest challenge in the technology world at the moment. Technology companies should considered the impact they have in the users and in the society in general. An interesting column about the topic here, with the title: “Like heroin for your childer” (sorry only in Finnish). You should also read this; it is a crazy article how the ones designing these addictive services are not actually using themselves anymore. Nelli also tips about Tristan Harris who is an expert on design ethics. His TEDtalk: “How a handful of tech companies control billions of minds everyday” is worth watching!
Nelli’s example of negative impacts of technology
Besides Anna Seppänen and Nelli Lähteenmäki there were two more keynotes in the event: Sampsa Fabritius from Kieku Labs Oy and Timo Kauppila Catchbox. All the keynotes can be found from Youtube here.
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Service Design network Finland organised a post-conference event to discuss what were the most interesting topics in the actual SDN –conference that was organised in 2.-3.11 in Madrid. The aftermath about the conference was actually only a minor part of the event organised in Hellon office in Helsinki, but what was interesting was that attendees got to hear two actual keynotes from the Madrid conference: Mikko Koivisto, Lead Service Designer & Customer Experience Director @Hellon, discussed “How Service Design became a big thing in Finland” and Mariann Parts, Client Service Director @Hellon, shared her keynote about “Selling Service Design – an adaptive sales approach”.
It was interesting to hear expert’s view on why service design is so big in Finland. Mikko Koivisto had discussed with several service design experts in order to collect his thoughts as a keynote.
There was, and is, a huge need for service design in Finland because companies are searching for opportunities to improve their competitive advantages. Also Finnish customers are raising their expectations, as they are quality-oriented and experience-driven when buying services. Digitalisation as a megatrend has obviously had an impact in making service design important, but also Finland’s need to safeguard the welfare society; public sector has been the biggest service design promoter and driver in Finland, unlike in many other countries.
The culture in Finland creates an environment that is suitable for service design approach. Finnish society and work culture is typically non-hierarchical, that of course is needed in order to leverage multi-disciplinary field of service design. Also so called “talkoo”-spirit enables Finns to participate in service design workshops and similar without incentives, which is not the case in other cultures. Also Finland’s service design network has created a good foundation to service design to nourish. There’s a top-notch service design research (Christian Grönroos!) and education in Finland as well as long design tradition where service design is a logical continuum.
- Big companies like KONE and Nokia were the first ones to leverage service design and by doing so led the way for other companies incorporate service design.
- Service design terminology was translated in Finnish.
- There are excellent sales force that sells service design in Finland.
- Public sector is funding service design experiments.
- There’s lot of publications and books from the field of service design.
Koivisto mentioned that especially Helsinki’s World Design Capital year in 2012 had a positive impact on how design is seen in Finland.
Mikko Koivisto also shared key steps how other countries could learn from Finland in order to leverage service design:
- RAISE AWARENESS
Be open and share, forget the jargon and get out of the design bubble. Speak in the way that everyone understands. Public sector should lead the way.
- EDUCATE PROFESSIONAL
Even though SD is big thing in Finland, there is not enough educated professionals here!
- SUPPORT ORGANISATIONS TO TRANSFORM
- PROOF IMPACT
There should be more co-operation with business!
In her keynote, Mariann Parts gave excellent tips how to sell service design:
#1: IDENTIFY YOUR CUSTOMER
In order to customize your pitch, check the person you are selling to from Linkedin. There’s two types of customers: Problem solver, whose focus is on output, and SD enthusiast, who is interested in tools and methods. By understanding their knowledge level, it is easier to speak the same language.
#2: KNOW THEIR STRATEGY
This one should be no-brainer, do your homework!
#3: UNDERSTAND THAT YOUR CLIENT HAS A CLIENT WHO HAS A CLIENT…
You should link your project to all of them.
#4: PROOF WITH CASE STUDIES
To support your pitch showcase previous projects. Take max 3 case studies with you. Note that in order to collect case studies that will be useful later on, the team should always push with KPI’s in each project, otherwise cases do not work. You can measure e.g. loyalty, employee experience.
#5: INDENTIFY PROJECT SCOPE
In order to identify the scope, ask your customer what are the three most important things to achieve with the project? Then ask what is the most important (from those three)? That is your scope.
#6: BE EMPATHIC
Read the verbal and non-verbal, and ask relevant questions. In the end it comes to who do you want to do business with.
#7: YOU ARE NOT ALONE
Buying service design is always a somewhat leap of faith, therefore using client quotes e.g. can be helpful when selling sd.
Who are you selling to? Read the whole article: here
Besides these two keynotes, it seemed that one thing had caught attention in Madrid event: Joe MacLeod’s keynote about Ends. Macleod argues that designers should consider the whole lifecycle of the service, also the end of it. His website can be found here, and slides here.
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Designing holistic brand experiences was the leading theme in Digitalist Design Forum 2017 event that was organized in Helsinki 16th of November. I got a chance to listen three of the speakers; Andreas Rosenlew, Päivi Svens and Bart Ahsmann. But before going into the topic, let’s praise the event itself a little bit; I think Digitalist Design Forum was a great example of a holistic brand experience; the event was organized very well and attention was paid in every detail – it is great to see that the organizer does what it preaches.
The CEO of Design Forum Finland, Petteri Kolinen, opened the event by sharing his story how Martela’s brand experience was redesigned. Kolinen explained that old manufacturing company’s brand experience was designed with “identity-first” approach; Martela’s WHY was found from “inspiring spaces”, HOW was built around inspiring concepts such as “inspiring schools” & “inspiring offices” and WHAT was actual products and services. He argued that the key in finding the brand core (WHY) was to involve people in the designing process. He stated that when the core represents the values it is real, and it can only be real if the people can participate into the process of finding the core. Kolinen explained that the core is the heart of the brand.
Kolinen’s thoughts are familiar from Simon Sinek’s concept: Start with why. Sinek has inspired many by his theory where he advises that companies should start by having a clear vision of WHY they exist; only by doing so leaders can truly inspire others to follow – in Kolinen’s words WHY means creating the identity or core of the brand.
Andreas Rosenlew, Executive Brand Advisor & Managing partner in Grow Partners, had somewhat provoking presentation under the title “Brand-Driven Customer Value Design – E2EO2O – is the engine of demand growth”. He started by arguing that there is “silent bubble” happening at the moment with the hype that is created around buzzwords like service-ux-mvp-design, and compared it to the .com-bubble. Rosenlew explained that there are service designers and similar starting single projects around customer-centricity but all in all not that many companies can actually pull thing together and bring actual value out of it. He pointed out that the aim of design should always be to design holistic and sustainable value in relationships between people and brands; “with generic insights, there are generic services”. He explained that in order to achieve a holistic view, a designer must consider all aspects of the value: functional, experiential, social and financial. Rosenlew crystallized that by bringing design in the heart of the company, holistic brand experiences can be built. He also stated that every company nowadays is B2BC2C company.
Päivi Svens, Head of Marketing in Fazer Lifestyle Foods, shared her story about how Fazer Candy brand experience was re-designed, under the title “Strategic capability with a Design know-how”. She explained how the design team was put together with an aim to make the company’s processes more efficient. By doing so, understanding how the processes were build and what to do in order to design more efficient processes, the team was actually able to take the Fazer’s design to a whole new level overall. By reasoning the design capabilities with a business case, a new design strategy was build. Examples of Fazer’s new branding that has won design awards here.
Bart Ahsmann, the Director in CLICKNL and the President in BEDA, introduced “Key elements for future fit design expertise”. He presented a roadmap that somewhat showcased designers’ future ecosystem. “The top sector Creative Industry drafted this Knowledge & Innovation Agenda with the unique skill set of the creative professional and the challenges in society in mind.” The agenda is divided into three roadmaps, first roadmap intorducing the knowledge base themes: Design for change, Value creation and The Human touch. The roadmaps can be connected to societal challenges and domains in the agenda arising specific research questions. This way the framework links multidisciplinary foundation-laying research together with pratical applied research. More information about the agenda here. Download the framework here.
The key findings from the Digitalist Design Forum part 1 are:
- Start with identity – the WHY of the brand
- New kind of culture of collaboration is needed in order to create holistic brand experiences
- The aim of design should always be to design holistic and sustainable value in relationships between people and brands; “with generic insights, there are generic services”
- Every company today is a B2B2C2C company
- A hard side of design is needed in order to build a business case
- Without holistic view on design, brand may go into silos
- Future topics for research: Design for Change, Value Creation and the Human Touch
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