Hacking in the future

I participated for four nights to Digia’s API Hackatemia, the acronym API referring to Application Programming Interface i.e. how you can access either data or system of a company or system. The Hackatemia was a four-day event for technical and business development experts joining forces to learn about APIOps® Cycles, an open source method developed by Digia and in addition to learning, 16 teams were competing in developing products, services and APIs to meet the consumer or society needs.

The ideation phase was like service design, just ideating crazy ideas and then funneling them into a concrete service.  I would argue that with APIs you create services in the way service dominant logic defines a service. The physical object is just a mean to access the service being that formed of data and /or devices. As a matter of fact, the end user does not even need to think what the thinking process has predecessed the end-result.

The logic in API thinking builds naturally on loosely coupled networks. You can call the others as partners, service providers or clients but without ecosystem thinking it would be challenging to utilize or benefit of the APIs.

The API canvas has a lot of similarities with Business model canvas and Service Business Model Canvas. As the logic was easy to capture based on service design thinking it was also easy to start thinking about the business model to be created.

One thing I am missing or which I would like to learn more is how to illustrate or document the revenue stream on one-slider or as a picture. Of course, one can create an own picture, but a template would help. I would like to see this also on service business model canvas as that is needed to have a go.

Most of the solutions used artificial intelligence and varied from follow-up systems to elderly to remote health control and health personnel appointment. Our solution was called Google Fridge addressing climate change by diminishing food waste. By scanning the batch codes from the product, the fridge warns the consumer two days before the expiry date and proposes recipes to utilize the ingredient. The software does in addition the shopping and compares the shopping basket prices so that the consumer gets the best bargain.

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I truly had fun during these four nights. I do not ‘speak’ the languages the coders do as I always thought that a python is a snake, but Java Python is hot in artificial intelligence scene.

To sum up the event a key learning is that you need a diverse set of people to work on APIs. The business developers need to be there to design the business model and the tech people to make it all happen. Diversity is truly a beauty.

 

 

Motive based profiling in Service Design by Kuudes

Juha-Pekka Ahvenainen, Markus Alavaikko

We participated design breakfast arranged by Kuudes. According to their web pages Kuudes is Nordic insight, strategy and design agency. They have been doing motive based profiling of the customers for over ten years and they have published their latest studies last year. Kuudes has found eight different Finnish customer profiles based on different motivations. You can see those from the picture below.

 

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Source: http://theinformedconsumer.fi/finnish-study/

 

Different kind of profiles appreciate different kind of things. This comes close to different kinds of values of life. Profiles also get irritated about different things. They are categorized to x and y axis according to conservation vs. openess to change and according to being selfish or selfless. From the web-pages of the study you can find more detailed information about different profiles. There are insight about profile´s behaviour and demographic details. Moodboards and checklist are also used to visualize the profile.

 

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Picture: moodboard of the dreamer

 

You can also find videos from the web-pages that show you how different profiles choose their daily foods. There can be found many kinds of opinions which foods are healthy and which are not. Different profiles adopt services in different stages as you can see from the picture below.

 

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We found these studies very interesting, but what we can do with all the information and data about these eight profiles? We think service designers can really use this data to design personalised services and products for different profiles. Or at least we can use these ground surveys as a stepping stones to our own service design projects. Kuudes has done very nice work and their work encourages us as service design students to dig deeply those human insights, motivation and values in our own projects.

 

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Last but not least here are some guidelines how to do your own motive based profiles, shared by Kuudes.

  • Profiling must be done and seen as big picture because different profiles are related to eachother.
  • Profiles have to be based on deep customer insight: motives and values.
  • Clarify organisation´s inner needs
  • Clarify who are going to use profiles
  • Final results should be easily available to all members of the organisation
  • Profiles should be visual and inspiring
  • Co-creation in organisation supports implementing
  • You have to also understand the future, on which direction things are going in crucial fields

Designing Business at OP – thoughts from an excursion visit

I got the chance to participate in a company excursion visit to OP Financial Group organised by Ompeluseuran Palvelumuotoilijat. Ulla Jones, Design Culture Lead at OP was to give a presentation on and around the topic Business Design. What it is and how it was applied at OP.

I was really looking forward to this excursion for it interested me for various reasons of which few below:  

·       Company excursions are great way to hear and see how service design and design thinking are utilised and practised in companies also to learn about the current status of this interdisciplinary scholarship. As what is taught at Universities and what is written in publications, are barely ever the reality.

·       Business Design as a topic is extremely interesting and ever more relevant for current business environment

·       I am married to OP with my mortgage 😀

After we had gathered down stairs of the OP headquarters our host Ulla Jones took us to the second floor and gave a brief presentation on the building itself. It was nice to hear and see how the Finnish design and culture was present everywhere, in the architecture and materials used. And how the building was really designed to serve employees and provide inspiring and well-functioning facilities. I am sorry I didn’t take any photos to add into my blog but you can surely google-up some pictures -or pay a visit. As downstairs is open for everyone. 😉

Our mini-tour ended in one of the six cafeterias where we sat down and helped ourselves with some refreshments. Ulla started her presentation by going through her own career path and how she had ended up designing business at OP. Key take-away from this section to me was to understand and accept that service and business designers job as such and job descriptions are constantly evolving and working as one requires courage and ability to tolerate uncertainty. The role of designer is greatly influenced by the ever changing needs of business environment that again are shaped by various external factors. Tomorrow is different from today. But to what extend we cannot know for sure.  

The second part of Ulla’s presentation was more OP-related and concentrated on how design doing and design thinking were applied in OP. And what role does design play at OP in the current business reformulation in shifting OP from a systems centered to customer centered company able to serve customers better and more profitable way with serving them more coherent packages instead of smaller solutions (as stated in OP’s strategy since 2016). This reformulation is pushed by the need to survive in the constantly changing business environment, which in turn is caused by digitalisation.

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I have also tried to gather some key-notes from the part in which Ulla explained the current status of design and design function´s set-up at OP.

Design at OP is business development done in a holistic, customer-centered, co-creative and evidencing manner. In 2016 design was used in 79% of the projects from start to finish and to understand the fast growth in the importance of design, the percentage in 2015 was only 38%. Since 2017 design aims to be seen as strategy instead of process or methodology.

At current, OP has 90 in-house designers with various responsibilities and roles who all form a competence centre serving the whole organisation.
Design at OP is applied in following three levels and perspectives:

1. Strategic Design from customer centred and business perspective
2. Tactical Design from holistic service concept perspective
3. Operational Design concentration on touchpoints and user experiences.

Business feeds the needs and Business Designer as Strategic Service Entity Lead play an important role in keeping up with the dialogue within the company and departments to enable and maintain common understanding about the customer needs.

Designers also arrange strategical workshops and provides information visualisation to support decision making.

Short and sweet: Designers at OP build insights, deliver solutions and involve customers in the development processes.

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Design function is also responsible of the internal communication and brining service design more known within the company and among its employees:
Design practises are applied in all development processes and the design team organizes an annual Design Day to the whole organisation.

You can find out more on what design is at OP from this Youtube-channel.

At the end of the visit, we had a speed work-shop in which we used OP´s value formation tool with which they use to determine how and where value is being formulated to further define and decide where a company with their services would then be positioned. In other words, where to play and what to offer. We were given a task to work on the topic around “Food to home”. I am not going to explain this work-shop here in any more detailed but have a look at the pics below to hopefully get at least a vague understanding of our idea generations.

It was a shame that so little time was left for this workshop part for it certainly would have been interesting to carry on and compare the relatively various results of the speedy innovations.

Of course, we were invited to stay for longer to share thoughts and network, but personally I felt it was my time call it a day.
Coping with full-time work, Master´s studies and all these design-events can at times become mentally and physically challenging, no matter how interesting they all are.
😉

Jenny

Bench of Awkward Conversations – Global Service Jam 2018

9th to 11th March 2018 teams around the world were jamming it up on six continents on the Global Service Jam.

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In Helsinki, around 30 participants and a mentor/organiser team met up on Friday 9th after a hard week’s work to immerse in a weekend of ideating, prototyping, and having fun. With some intros to the ways of jamming and getting to know our newly-formed teams we dived straight into the process.

Talk about a fuzzy front-end…

IMG_0788 The theme for this year’s Jam, revealed to us in the form of a video, was a little vague and mysterious to say the least. After the initial slight panic and confusion (disclaimer: speaking for myself here only) over the ambiguous theme, we set out for the first ideation session. From there we kept building on the ideas and moved on to grouping the generated post-it storm under a few headlines.

The ideation ran around themes that divide people, ranging from immigration to lonely people’s funerals. Despite, or perhaps because of, the somewhat morbid themes, right from the start our team had a few laughs and it felt surprisingly effortless working together. However a good night’s sleep was definitely necessary, so we had to call it a day to return the next morning.

Dragging a bench down the road

On Saturday morning we continued working on our ideas and moved on to some online and field research. With a strict deadline of having to submit and present a prototype on the following day, we had to move fast. Our idea started to formulate around reducing loneliness, potentially in the context of also facilitating easier immigration. One idea was a physical meeting place, a bench or so, where people previously unknown to each other could meet and have flash cards on funny or easy conversation topics. IMG_0791
Soon we were building our first prototype, The Bench, and taking it to the test – in the process carrying a physical bench from the Think Company to Esplanadi to observe and interview the people who were passing and perhaps connected with it. The results guided us to make some adjustments and modifications, with some more testing and iterating also left for the following day.

As in any old Design process, iteration did take a fair bit of our Jam time. Adjusting our prototype and validating our ideas or letting some go were a central part of the process, and although sometimes hard, it was good practise in letting the testing and users guide the results instead of the ideas of the designers themselves. This seems like a continuous lesson that one can’t think about too much!

Presenting: Bench of Awkward Conversations

IMG_0801On Sunday we kept improving our prototype and preparing for presenting it to the judges. The day ended with each team presenting their idea and prototype, all in their own way clever and unique. The judges’ feedback helped us to finalise our idea and change the ideas’s name back to the original working name, Bench of Awkward Conversations. The feeling at the end of the weekend was that of euphoria and exhaustion. Many left this Jam already looking forward to the next one, me included!

 

The author Kaisla Saastamoinen is a Service Design Masters student with a passion for human-centric design, co-creation, and coffee.

Design Kit: The Course for Human-Centered Design, by IDEO.org and +Acumen

Late last year I felt I could use a little recap on some of the things learned on the very first courses of the Service Design Masters degree. At the same time I was longing for some fresh thoughts and a push to jump start my thesis – a way to get creative and actually do some design stuff instead of just planning it. The free Human-Centered Design course by IDEO.org and +Acumen, mixing online and in-person teamwork, seemed like a good way to do that.

Described as an “intensive, hands-on learning experience“, the course description promised the participants would “leave this experience equipped and energized to apply the human-centered design process to challenges across industries, sectors, and geographies to generate breakthrough ideas.” Well, that sounds great, but would someone with quite some earlier knowledge and experience in Service Design and in general human-centered design projects get something out of it too, besides a repetition of things already known? I was also wondering how the theme and topics would feel, as the focus seemed largely to be in humanitarian and social welfare – a hugely important topic, however sadly not my forte previously.

Inspiration, Ideation, and Implementation

IDEO mini challenge 1The course started in January and, thanks to all sorts of online groups and forums, it was fairly easy to find a team to do the meet-ups with. We ended up being 5 in our group, all previously unknown to each other. The course platform provided us with instructions on the different phases, “classes”, we were to go through to complete the course. The first meet-up went in a bit of a haze, getting to know each other while trying to follow the guidelines from the somewhat confusing set of material piles (for each “class” there being 2 separate packs of materials). Lucky we had a group leader of sorts in our group, making sure we had agreed on specific days for our future meetings so we could keep up with the course deadlines.

The course followed a set structure and timeline, with the design process following the steps Inspiration, Ideation, and Implementation. The second group meeting was missed by a couple of us, but the ones attending divided the research between us all and we all managed to do our parts before the following meeting. And on the third meeting we finally got to a classic – you guessed it – post-it party!

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Latest at this stage it was fairly clear the methods and principles of the course were very familiar to a Service Design student, but doing research and ideating was in any case tons of fun and not at all that easy. It was great to work together with a group of people not previously familiar with each other, building on each other’s ideas and hearing about new ways to look at the same things.

 

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In the following meeting we moved on to How Might We questions – this brought us another interesting conversation, as some in the group had somewhat unknowingly used a similar approach to problem-solving. After that it was time for creating a story board and moving on to prototyping.

The course finished with an energising afternoon over brunch, making a pitch for our solution, followed by reflection and discussion on our learning.

 

To summarise the experience, here’s a little list based purely on my personal thoughts:

+ Nice and easy way to recap a human-centric design process

+ Practical and structured guidelines and tasks

+ Basic background info and examples on methods and process

+ Great to work in a new team and learn from others!

– 2 separate material packs for each class didn’t feel like the best way to go

– No new methods or insights for someone already familiar with Service Design

– End result and experience would depend a lot on the team: in my case it was wonderful but it could have been totally different if e.g. there was someone really bossy or other characters that can make ideation etc. difficult.

All in all, I was very happy with my experience. And the team proved to be so good that some of us have already met at a couple of other Service Design events, and we plan to meet with the whole group again soon!

 

The author Kaisla Saastamoinen is a Service Design Masters student with a passion for human-centric design, co-creation, and coffee.

School of startups: Behavior Design

Juha-Pekka Ahvenainen

I have been participating to school of startups organized by the Shortcut. The Shortcut is a non-profit organisation owned by Startup Foundation, and a sister organisation to Slush and Startup Sauna.  According to their website  Shortcut is a community driven organisation that promotes diversity as an engine for growth. They want to encourage people from diverse backgrounds to consider creating or working for a startup to best utilise their skills and aspirations. They want to inspire and empower our community through gatherings, workshops, trainings and programmes that help them explore ideas, share knowledge and develop skills to enable new talents required in the startup life.

http://theshortcut.org/

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On a first day of school of startups the topic was behavior design introduced by Ashwin Rajan, the founder of the Fabric Consulting. His firm helps companies to focus on behavior change through technology. I wanted to share this topic with you guys because for my opinion this is very interesting topic and it comes somehow very close to service design.

According to Ashwin Rajan behavior design provides tools to extend or change human behavior through technology. The most successful digital products can really transform human behavior. For example there has been a huge change in photography from the age before digital products to age of smart phones. Another good examples are dating and cab haling.

Rajan emphasizes that you should start the designing process from the behavior, not the technology. On the other hand behavior can be seen as actions on digital technology: snapping, swiping, scrolling, pausing, liking, tagging, sharing and buying. Behavior designer´s goal is to create following situations: ” A specific, ´intent rich´ digital action done with enough frequency to create recurring revenue!”. For Rajan´s opinion experience can not be measured but behavior can and target behaviors can be tied to metrics and growth. One of the big things of the lecture was the concept of cognitive dissonance which according to Rajan is the heart of the behavior change.

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There can be found three things which affect on how behavior works. Those are ability, motivation and triggers. Six factors can affect on ability: time, money, physical effort, brain cycles, social deviance and non-routine. Triggers can be internal or external. Rajan told us that the motivation part is the most difficult one to understand and design at his job as a behavior designer.

For example social media notifications are external triggers. At fabric consulting they use specific user archetype canvas to gather all the important information of the archetype at a behavior design project.

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Ashwin Rajan is going to publish a book about this topic. I am looking forward to his new book. He also showed us a glimpse of some other useful canvases to do the challenging art of the behavior design. This blog post was just a scratch of the surface of this important topic of our digital era.

Behavior eats strategy for breakfast.  -Anonymous-

“Memorable experiences, meaningful life”. But what is an experience, exactly?

Aalto Experience platform fosters and promotes a multi-disciplinary approach to understanding and designing for experiences by combining scientific, artistic, business, and technological angles to human experiences.”

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13th February marked the day of the Aalto Experience Platform Kick-off. With the mission of making Aalto University a world leader in multidisciplinary experience research, Experience Platform is an open community for experience research. Besides a brief introduction on the platform itself and networking, the kick-off offered insights on some of the multifaceted approaches to experience research by presentations on User Experience, Citizen Experience, and Consumer Experience.

What is an experience?

In their opening intro session Markus Ahola (Project Manager, Aalto University) and Virpi Roto (Professor in Experience Design, Aalto University) started head-on by addressing the not-so-simple question of What is an experience. Not surprisingly there was no conclusive answer but a mixture of responses and definitions by the multidisciplinary Experience Platform academic board members – each of them giving a different perspective to demonstrate the complexity of the question on a video that was shown.

A general trend behind the research and the Experience Platform seemed to be the growing investments (not only monetary) in experiences while material possessions are being less and less valued. Through my human-centered and soft-value-focused glasses the slogan of the platform “Memorable experiences, meaningful life” seemed like a breath of fresh air in the often cold and money-focused world of ours. On a practical side, it was also interesting and inspiring to hear that the platform will have a physical, multidisciplinary working space after the summer.

Hannu Seristö, Vice President External relations at Aalto University also gave a short speech about human-centricity being needed not only in business but also in the public sector while pointing out that humans have not exactly been in center of business traditionally. However, times are changing, and with that feelings and experience, and particularly ease of buying, continue to be increasingly important.

Who do we design for?

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With that it was time for Kristina Höök, Professor in interaction design at KTH Sweden to step on stage for her presentation on User Experience – designing with aesthetics through bodily and emotional engagements. Her presentation content and style was exactly what the Experience Platform introduction highlighted in their operation in general: human, brave, and crazy. At times provocative (and in my opinion, in a good way: keeping the audience interested, trying to shake us a little and question our own beliefs), her presentation gave plenty of examples on the importance of movement and of understanding oneself first in order to design for a (separate) end-user. Movement was not a focus in design I had previously, in all honesty, thought about too much – except for e.g. potential limitations in one’s moving that might affect a service perhaps. But following the presentation it made sense and I found myself reflecting on many thought-provoking parts of the presentation.

From the service designer point of view one of the most memorable parts of Kristina’s presentation was the statement “you can’t design for someone else if you don’t know how it is or how it feels yourself”. This statement at first sounded to me almost as the total opposite of empathy and putting oneself in the other one’s (=end-user’s) shoes – traditionally one of service design’s main guidelines! And that made me think: fine, if one is naturally emphatic and would consider the other and their needs, wishes etc. naturally anyway, but what if the designer is a selfish one with no regard of other points of views than their own? However, throughout the rest of the presentation the point became clearer and actually was very close to, not the opposite of, empathy: using oneself as the end-user, researcher, designer at the same time, but through empathy and compassion. Perhaps for a more traditionally scientific research field this could be provocative in a totally different way, as one of Kristina’s main points was “research through design” – not having research done separately and in isolation, then followed by design based on the results. Another interesting point was the interest in designing things that are not only reading your emotions but create technology to make people experience new things about themselves and their body – not just things like like facial recognition or counting your steps. In hindsight this had a nice connection also to the following presentation from Anne Stenros, Chief Design Officer at City of Helsinki, who also spoke about the shift from high-tech to human-tech. Add a Feldenkreis video with a baby and a sitting bone exercise and you’ve got the most interactive and perhaps memorable presentation of the kick-off.

Citizen Experience – From Audience to Actor

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Next up was then Anne Stenros from City of Helsinki. Her presentation was around citizen experience and in particular the shift from audience to actor: city-users becoming city-makers. Her quirky and well-spoken style was a hit in my opinion, with her topic being both fascinating and well-presented. She went through some current trends and emerging signals of the city universe and the citizen experience, with a note of human-centricity visible in each scenario. This presentation too arose many thoughts and reflection as well as shared practical examples of some of the trends already visible in the city design today. Personally I was a little relieved to hear that the era of “Smart city” was about to transform to “Responsive city” – reinforcing the previous presenter’s point in the shift from high-tech to human-tech. According to Anne, the shift was about responding to needs of citizens rather than optimizing technology for users.

A brief look into the trends in consumer experience

Lastly, Eric Arnould, Professor in Marketing in Aalto University gave a presentation about consumer experience based on the perspective of theory. Some of this was familiar from the service design studies but it was a good recap nevertheless. A groundbreaking thought in 1982, consumption not being about making rational choices but about “fantasies, feelings & fun”, was a good reminder on how things have indeed changed from consumption being seen as a purely economic exchange like it had been by marketing thus far. The presentation discussed some perspectives on defining ‘experience’, for example highlighting the narrative, material, social and political aspects and on the other hand the cultural, situated and relational nature of experiences. In the end though for me the thing that made me think the most was actually in the Q&A session after the presentation, when an attendee asked Eric about his thoughts on the “new work” and new work spaces. “Consumerification of work”, aka new work spaces that look like leisure-time or consumer space, was a concept that I would like to continue to ponder on also after the event.

Topped with circus performances, demos and some snacks, the event was a wonderful experience. Now we just have to figure out how to define ‘experience’…

The author Kaisla Saastamoinen is a Service Design Masters student with a passion for human-centric design, co-creation, and coffee.