Tag Archive | Aalto University


I had a great time at the Aalto Service Factory (ASF) that held its final event to celebrate the six years of its existence. To those who don’t know ASF, it is an open collaboration platform for service research and education atthe Aalto University.

First we learnt about the ASF network and its activities from Virpi Tuunainen and Minna-Kaarina Forssén, who held the opening presentations. It was interesting for me to find out what everything ASF does while concentrating on three target groups – researchers and teachers, students and practitioners. It organizes research presentation events called ASF Meets & Talks and events for sharing research that go by the name of Networking Evening Seminars. It has the 300 member strong ASF club, it publishes the quarterly ASF Newsletter with topics on service domain news and the monthly ASF blog with practice-oriented articles. Furthermore, ASF hosts the Researchers´ Breakfasts and another breakfast event called Early Birds that aim to build research consortiums.



Minna-Kaarina Forssén, ASF Business Collaboration Manager

ASF is also very agile in students activities. There is the yearly seminar on service industry job opportunities Young Student – Go services! and Aalto Introduction to Services organise every year. Mrs. Forssén pointed out that ASF is now finishing but the use of its good practices will continue at the Finnish Service Alliance. Check it out at http://www.servicealliance.fi.





The keynote speaker was KONE’s Senior Vice President for Development, Digitalisation Strategy, and Service Business, the amazing Kati Hagros who was previously KONE´s CIO. She talked about Digitalization in industrial services context. She emphasized the role of services in KONE’s portfolio. Already in the 1970´s, half of the company´s revenue came from services. Mrs. Hagros mentioned that KONE combines business, technology and services to create a superior customer experience.

Continue reading

Open data and its potential – free information for all

What do we mean by open data? It is material which is created by public administration, organisations, companies or private persons and which is freely available and free of charge for the use of others. I attended a morning coffee event held by the Urban Academy, where launching of the open data of the City of Helsinki and its scientific implications were discussed. The Urban Academy´s main partners are the City of Helsinki, the University of Helsinki and the Aalto University. The Urban Academy brings together officials, policymakers, students, researchers and residents to share their experiences, knowledge and opinions with one another.

Tanja Lahti, Open data advocate and Project manager at City of Helsinki, Helsinki Region Infoshare

Tanja Lahti, Open data advocate and Project manager at City of Helsinki, Helsinki Region Infoshare

Tanja Lahti, an Open data advocate and Project manager at the City of Helsinki, gave an inspiring speech on how open data takes us towards a more democratic Helsinki. She stressed the advantages of open data: more effective public administration, improved transparency and democracy for residents and last but not least broader trade activity and more innovation for enterprises.

Mrs. Lahti talked also about one of the most important data openings this year – the Ahjo Explorer which is a free App providing residents with data on the political decision making of the City of Helsinki.The App is in a machine-readable form and brings openness and transparency into municipal politics and can be used in many different ways. The App allows the political decision making to be followed wherever and whenever with updates once a day. I found it very interesting when she spoke about an application that uses open data – the Blindsquare, which is the world´s most popular accessible GPS-app for the visually impaired and blind to help them move around the city using their smartphones. The app describes the environment and announces points of interest and street intersections.

Continue reading

Invention Cycle – How to bring your ideas to life

In the very first day of SID program, I spent evening after the course getting inspired by Tina Seelig, a Stanford University Professor and co-director for the Stanford Technology Ventures Program. The forum was Aalto Design Factory’s series of Thought Leaders’ Talks. Tina has been recognized as a national leader in engineering education and she teaches courses on creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship in the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design. Yep, you remember correctly, the same institute from which Katja Tschimmel introduced us one of the pioneering innovation models.

Invention Cycle

Tina spoke about how to get rough ideas out of our heads into the real world and further into ventures. She introduced us the tool she has developed, the Invention Cycle.

We started off with the concept of Creativity. What is creativity essentially? We have to agree on the basic concepts and to create a common vocabulary first to make communication easier. Creativity is a skill we can learn, by practicing.

In a nutshell, innovating starts with Imagination – envisioning things that do not exist yet. Creativity is needed in using our imagination to face challenges and in innovating unique solutions to them. We also need Entrepreneurship to apply innovations.

All of these elements (Creativity, Imagination, Innovation, Entrepreneurship) make an Invention cycle, characterized by relationships, attitudes and actions.

Going further into the imagination phase, Tina pointed out how true passion is evoked with engagement. We need to be motivated and to motivate others and have the right mindset allowing experimentation, which generates us the data we need to carry ideas further.

Pretotype before Prototype

Regarding experimentation, Tina introduced the thought of doing pretotype before prototype. The example given that enlights it well was offering a new dish in the restaurant menu just to see if it would be ordered or not. This way we can rapidly see if the concept is worth developing further or not.

Framestorm before Brainstorm

We should put a lot of time and attention to looking our ideas from different angles – we should ask the right question before ideation phase. There exists an infinite number of solutions. To maintain the right set of mind, Tina suggested that in the beginning of innovating we ought to fall in love with the problem, not the solution.

‘Sisu’ is needed on the way

When achieving the implementation phase of the Innovation Cycle, we need entrepreneurial spirit: capability to inspire others to invest on our idea and to build a good team. We also need grit or sisu to push through the greyest stone. Tina referred to storytelling as an aid to create a compelling sales pitch.

(For our fellow foreign students, check the meaning of sisu as explained by Wikipedia.)

In the conclusion of the lecture audience posed a few questions to Tina. One of them was how to implement the cycle. According to Tina, we should first figure out where we are in the cycle. We need people with diverse sets of strengths – creatives, innovatives, entrepreneurs and so forth. Then we should share the essential vocabulary, inspire our team and excite our imagination with problems!

The other question which alerted my curiousity was about whether this concept or tool is transferable interculturally. I disagree on its transferability, as the degree of power of authority in societies varies a lot. You need a culture with low degree to enable the equality of team members and thus enable them to contribute to the process. I would gladly receive comments on this thought on the blog comment section.

Tina has published a book that goes deeper into these lecture topics. It is called “Insight Out” and is available in Amazon, currently being rated 4,5 stars by 23 readers.


(This blog post contributes to the course of Current Topics in Service Design.)

Industrial Transformation

I attended on the 2nd of June 2015 to a Fimecc Future Industrial Services (FutIS) WP2 Final Seminar hosted by Program Manager Mr. Pekka Helle. This seminar had both researchers presenting results as well as the industrial and garco sector presenting their cases. FutIS is organized by the Finnish Metals and Engineering Competence Cluster (Fimecc) and aims to ease the industry’s transformation by research and development in the area a service business. Over twenty companies and eight research institutes collaborate in this joint program with a budget of 35 million euros. After attending to this seminar I feel strongly that the biggest challenge is to turn up side down (bouleverser) the way of looking from the point of view of the industrial needs to doing business from the point of view of the customer.

Mr. Pekka Helle, Programme Manager

Henri Paukku, Project Manager, Customer Solutions MacGregor

Mr. Henri Paukku, Project Manager, Customer Solutions

Transformation starts from understanding customer’s business logic, processes, long-term targets, segments and motives and adding a lot of co-creating and team-work with all the relevant stakeholders. Mr. Henri Paukku, Project Manager at MacGregor Finland Oy gave an example of bottle necks in the container ship solution offering. He explained how removing one bottle neck usually increases the problems in the next phase if the whole chain hasn’t been cleared.

Business logs

Example of a business logic (MacGregor)

Bigger ships have bigger capacity but if the terminals aren’t fit to it, there is a gap between capacity and functionality. Data collecting and collaboration between different parties is extremely important. Attitude towards data gathering and traditional logistic chain needs to change. The idea is to make bigger profit, utilization and increase the cash flow. Mr. Pekka Helle stated that with good Solutions design and service innovations, investment costs are lower, the revenue curve higher and the profit lifetime longer. 

Continue reading

Making mutual funds a mutual fun

Openfin hack and ideathon poster

Openfin hack and ideathon poster

They say the best way to become a great service designer is to participate in as many service design contests and hands on happenings as possible. It was what I thought when Minna Myyryläinen, one of my SID Laurea fellow students, brought the idea to join the openfin Hack and Ideathon competition in Espoo.

Finally our team, addition to Minna and me, included Antti Kytö and Jaakko Porokuokka, all SID13 Laurea students. I knew – despite none of us being a real hacker in code – this team could do anything related to creating awesome business concepts using our service design methods and toolkits. Luckily later the hacking part was completed when I persuaded my colleague and friend Lassi Jatkola to join our team. Before the event itself the team studied trends and innovations in the financial sector and shared views and ideas through chat.

Getting ready for the challenge

On Friday 26th the team gathered to the app campus premises and prepared itself for the 22 hour challenge ahead. Me and Jaakko had already agreed to stay overnight at the app campus as it was offered as a possibility by the competition rules.

Jaakko, Minna, Antti, Lassi

Team preparing for the challenge

Aalto OpenFin project manager Mojtabaei Renani Mahnoush said the welcome words and wished all participants good luck. Next was Juha Viljakainen’s, from OP-Pohjola, time to give some background on OP-Pohjola and the financial service sector generally, its history and challenges.

The competion rules and three categories were introduced by Jouni Lähteenmäki from OP-Pohjola. The categories included:

  1. consumer app innovation zone
  2. entrepreneur app innovation zone
  3. business ecosystem infrastructure innovation zone.

The competitors would be evaluated by financial aspect, market potential, business model viability and how realistically it could be implemented. In addition presentation with surprise factor and impressive demo would get extra credits. Final word was given Futurice’s Riku Valtasola, who explained how the business idea to concept works in the company he represents.

Beginning the design process

Continue reading

Innovation and Development Activities in Professional Service Firms – a Role Structure Perspective, doctoral dissertation by Tiina Tuominen

By Riku Seppälä

I attended the public defence of Tiina Tuominen’s doctoral dissertation at Aalto University in Otaniemi, Espoo on 22nd February.  Title of her thesis is Innovation and development activities in professional service firms- a role structure perspective.  The thesis can be found here: http://otalib.aalto.fi/en/collections/e-publications/dissertations/

Continue reading

Organizing Service Operations in Manufacturing – Doctoral dissertation by Taija Turunen

The service marketing literature is full of examples about servitization of products. How companies like Rolls Royce, KONE, IBM and many others have turned the game around by servitizing the traditional product oriented business. The literature has been evolving from product-related services to service orientation and new services development as areas of exploration for manufacturers. Recently the literature has been questioning why companies are servitizing and what are the benefits and related problems related to this shift (Turunen 2013).
Taija Turunen from Aalto University found a gap in the operational implications of this phenomenon: How to actually make such transformation? Turunen’s doctoral dissertation examines and explains the process of servitization, the organizational structure characteristics assisting transformation and the operational premises allowing this revolution, like the author strongly describes the organizational change, needed in order to succeed.

The thesis explores organization’s journey from product centric business towards service orientation and servitizing. Turunen’s study is based on wide literature review together with 8 case studies and 95 interviews. Turunen defines servitizing as the transformation process of product companies towards services, including service aspects to the product. In the literature review Turunen shows the evolution of literature related to servitization from 1988 all the way to day. Thesis draws the background with literature review exploring the provider benefits associated with servitization and the market orientation as a driver for servitization. Turunen then continues discussing the challenges associated with servitization: The different logic between products and services, transforming company to service culture, service development and innovation, managing service operations, building a service strategy, and understanding the customer interface. Based on Turunen these are all factors that are yet unfamiliar to fully product oriented manufacturing firms. Turunen does not claim that much this kind of companies exists but wants to describe the contrast between the two extreme ends. Ford’s legendary T-Ford car works as an example for the extreme behavior of manufacturing firm: The whole design was based on the goal of not needing any after-sales services. The car was made so simple that any farmer could fix it with their own tools. Manufacturer had no interest about the usage of the product. This aspect of behavior has later brought challenges to the manufacturers who have tried to move towards servitization. They have had no record about their products: who bought the product, where the product is now, how the product is used, etc.? They did not have the interest before to collect this data.

Continue reading