Tag Archive | business

The forgotten fuel for business – Emotions

Photo from https://www.pixabay.com

Kuudes Aisti hosted an event in the end of February 2020 where Camilla Tuominen talked about do we destroy businesses by forgetting our emotions. She spoke how to lead and understand feelings and the importance of consequences of these intangible factors and invisible behavior at the workplace.

Today organizations are focused on data knowledge and pure facts. We take it as default that feelings and difficult thoughts don’t belong to work. But this is against biology. The reality is that instead of logic, most of our decisions are based on emotions and appealing to our feelings but not knowledge. Emotions affect every cell in the human.  We are messaging to ourselves and to others though our emotions. At work our emotions impact upon people’s relationships, teamwork, customer satisfaction and employee retention. And of course, all this influences how we make decisions, how we plan,  how we negotiate and show that there is a place for creative thinking  within the organization. We all have emotions, even the C-level management. Emotions drive people and people drive performance and business. 

Imagine if

  • people at work could communicate and connect effectively and feel confident in uncertain situations, 
  • people would be more present and make conscious choices rather than automatic reactive ones,
  • people received critical feedback from others in a non-defensive manner,
  • people had more empathy towards others,
  • in challenging and stressful situations people were able to manage pressure and think rationally but at the same time be able to listen to what their own and colleagues’ feelings are saying  to them. 

Above could be a description of a workplace where people understand the power of emotional intelligence. Goleman (2018) highlights that our emotional and rational parts of our brain work in tandem and they need each other. What if we could consciously combine and manage the rational and emotional parts of our brain? What if it would be everyone’s duty at work to learn to use emotional intelligence?

How emotions and feelings influence us?

Emotions and feelings are crucial in impacting what we think, how we make decisions and how we behave. Our behavior is driven by how we think. Underneath our thinking, there is how we feel. Feelings are mental and they are sparked by physical emotions. Feelings are a subjective expression of emotions.  Emotions are physical, they contain data about ourselves, other people and the world around us. Emotions are the energetic stage on our body.  

We learn already from childhood that there are “bad, negative emotions” – sadness, anger, grief, and fear. We tend to push these emotions aside and say “stay positive” or “stop being so angry”.  We think that we are in control of our emotions when we ignore them but in fact, they control us and we lose the capability to see the world as it is.  When people are encouraged to understand their emotional truth at work there will be more creativity, engagement, and innovation at work. (David 2017.)

Tuominen explained in her presentation in February 2020, that for example, negativity in a meeting might create fear and loss of confidence, being cynical or unfair might create anger and frustration. Consequences of these might be that we decide that it is easier to keep our mouths shut in the  next meeting,  put our shields up and keep inside  one’s true self.

This might lead to worse performance, loss of work time and an atmosphere where ideas aren’t flourishing. Consequently, we might think that it is good to numb our painful emotions and continue working as normal. But according to Brene Brown (2010) “we cannot selectively numb emotions, when we numb the painful emotions, we also numb the positive emotions.”

How to avoid pitfalls?

Many times we think we have made a rational decision, but the chances are our emotions made the decision first.  Reasons are then established to justify our instinctive gut feeling. We validate our decision by saying we had an intuition. Sometimes our “intuition”, that is based on emotions, might be true but the problem is that our emotions aren’t always reliable, and we might interpret them totally wrong. We also have a tendency to collect and repeat stories of defeats. We might get hooked by our feelings and thoughts and treat them like facts. Examples of these could be “It was the same in my last job, it’s not going to work out”,  “I don’t like working with strong personalities”, “I’m bad at multitasking”, “I don’t like to work with slow people”. We get stuck in these old stories and we start seeing only one perspective.

In the end, these stories start impacting on our daily decisions at work. We need to learn to understand why we think and feel this way and learn to detach ourselves to deal with real situations. (David 2017, 2018.)

How to get started in leading emotions?

We should never ignore our emotions. We should remember that emotions are here to tell us something and we need to learn to recognize what they mean. By learning to name and admit our emotions helps us to get a start with leading the emotions, this helps us to calm down and see things more clearly. Instead of saying “I’m angry”, we should say “I notice I’m feeling angry”. “I’m angry” sounds like you are the emotion but instead of this, we need to understand that emotions are a data source and we need to listen to them. By understanding our emotions we learn to recognize their causes and understand better why you and others feel and react the way they do. 

Managing emotions is about drawing data about yourself and trying to respond effectively rather than reactively. It’s about integrating emotions strategically to enhance thinking, reasoning, problem solving and creativity. Emotions don’t own us but we own them. We need to remember that emotions are also contagious. We have no right to put negative emotions forward. We should understand what kind of bad influence it can have on others. When we learn how to handle negative emotions, we open a door for positive emotions. (Tuominen 2020, David 2017, 2018.)  

So do we still afford to ignore our emotions and feelings in the workplace? Emotions have an impact whether the business makes it or breaks it.

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References:

Brown, B. The power of vulnerability. 2010. Accessed 27 January, 2020. https://www.ted.com/talks/brene_brown_the_power_of_vulnerability?fbclid=IwAR1O28UsQaEqVutHwOpySu1nTbJ7UaN-U8Ny8AVGDrYexCXOFXPK2__If3g

David, S. The gift and power of emotional courage. 2017. Accessed 13 March, 2020.  https://www.ted.com/talks/susan_david_the_gift_and_power_of_emotional_courage?language=en

David, S. Emotional Agility. 2018. Accessed 15 March, 2020. http://bestbookbits.com/emotional-agility-susan-david-book-summary-bestbookbits-com/

Goleman D, 2018, Emotional Intelligence

Tuominen, C. 2010. Emotions management. [lecture]. Held on 29 November. Laurea University of Applied Sciences.

Watkins, A. Being Brilliant Every Single Day. 2012. Accessed 1 March, 2020. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q06YIWCR2Js

A beginner’s guide to Design Thinking

by Jenny Kurjenniemi

Simply put, Design Thinking is a process for creative problem-solving.

This means solving any kind of problem, from how to secure clean water supply in developing countries, to how to create the kind of service that people will be interested in and gain financial value for the innovation.

It’s good to understand from the beginning that there is no design thinking without design doing. Super artistic skills are not required but sketching, visualizing, and prototyping are an integral part of it. We all need creative problem-solving and yes – we can all do the creative hands on part with some practice.

 

I will take you through the design thinking process and the text is divided into four chapters.

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Lessons from the Master: Forget the Titles, Facilitation is Key

After a decent amount of lobbying we had the pleasure to have the Service Design guru Marc Stickdorn as our guest speaker at the Finnish language Service Design program.

Stickdorn has just published the new book This is Service Design Doing. He talked about what he thought Service Design was and what the crucial skills for doing it were.

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Marc Stickdorn

According to Stickdorn the reasoning for Service Design is simple. Experiences stick to customers, not products.

“Organisations lose money because of bad customer experience. Customers trust the stories of other customers and less what companies tell them”, he stated.

Therefore customers will pay more for better customer experience. And that’s what Service Design is for.

All this has to be explained to the managers. There is a business reason for better customer service and it has to be shown with money. One way of explaining new services are storyboards.

“Products can be made into mockups, but services are not tangible. We need to make it tangible to talk about exactly the same thing”, Stickdorn said.

Service Design, UX Design, Business Design…

In the cover of Stickdorn’s new book there is a quip to all the disciplines that have popped up but are doing essentially the same thing.

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Stickdorn thinks that Service Design is going to become a common language.

“Many disciplines are not trained to take little steps. Managers are often afraid to take decisions to start. Service Designers should create a safe space to come up with ideas”, Stickdorn said.

Therefore they key skill for Service Designers is facilitation. How can I create a safe space so that people are not ashamed to come up with really shitty first drafts?

Stickdorn gave us tips about how to be a good facilitator. First we need to have a huge toolbox of small warmups. If there is a hurdle, we should be able to take a method and apply it and see how the group changes.

“What makes a difference is experience. Don’t try to copy somebody else. There are a thousand different styles to facilitate”, Stickdorn said.

According to Stickdorn Service Design is not a silver bullet that can fix everything.

“Be open to other stuff. There is no clear boundary where Service Design ends and other stuff starts. It allows us to use methods from other disciplines. There is not one tool or method coming from Service Design. Personas are from UX, journey maps are from branding, etc.”

For me Stickdorn’s talk gave a bit more clarity about what we are aiming to as Service Designers. It is important to talk a common language and teach the language to the managers and others in the company. In order to facilitate the change into Service Design way of thinking, we need good facilitation skills.

The author Noora Penttinen is a journalist and a Service Design student who believes in creative chaos and thinks that best ideas appear at four in the morning.

Why design thinking will not save your business

Creative mess or just a mess?Design thinking is a multi-dimensional term, that today is used very freely when talking about business development. A decade ago nobody in business had even heard of this weird lovechild of design and strategic, out-of-the-box thinking, but now it’s everywhere: in strategy papers, business periodicals, blogs and even politics. Design thinking is seen as the answer to the prayers of fading businesses, unengaged organisations and decreasing interest towards public affairs and society.

But here’s the deal: even though you can teach everyone to apply the basic tools of design thinking to their everyday lives (at least according to Tom and David Kelley), just buying post-its and whiteboards, and organising brainstorming sessions every now and then simply will not make your dysfunctioning business suddenly into a blooming one. To fully implement design thinking requires making it an integral part of your business and company culture. And in most cases, doing that would mean a fundamental change of such a magnitude, that most businesses simply aren’t up to it.

So, what is design thinking, and why is it so popular?

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Nudging: The Story of How Men Stopped Peeing on Themselves

Did you know that a person’s satisfaction can be observed from the way they are standing? Behavioural scientist Pelle Guldborg Hansen tells us that you can. If a person is standing on their dominant foot and resting the other one, they are happy. If they are annoyed they tend to sway.

Hansen’s research helps companies to improve their services. His company iNudgeYou has done a lot of work with airports. The scientists have sat for hours and hours at different touchpoints collecting data of how people behave and how they might be nudged into behaving differently.

Nudging is defined as any aspect of choice that should not influence behaviour in principle, but does in practice. He gives an example from the toilets of the Amsterdam Schiphol Airport. Men tend to splash urine around when using the urinals. It might not be a big problem for individual men, but it is a big problem for the airport, because it must clean all the toilets with all the urine on the walls and floors.

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Can a lawyer learn Design Thinking? The lawyer: “Hold my beer.”

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What IS Design Thinking, really now?

I have never seen myself as having anything to do with design. Me, a public sector senior manager with a law degree, who loves books and exercise – doesn’t really scream design, does it? What I do have is an open mind, which is why I found myself being a fresh Laurea SID student receiving my first introduction to Design Thinking (DT) from Katja Tschimmel, the founder of a Portuguese DT house Mindshake.

What I soon learned is that DT is not something that belongs solely to the design landscape. On the contrary, it is an iterative thinking process that offers the tools used in design, such as visualization and a human-centric approach, to be utilized in other fields like management and marketing. Katja had the perfect storytelling example of this: the Katalonian restaurant elBulli, which the Chef Ferran Adrià turned into an innovation laboratory for creating amazing taste – consequently leading for elBulli to be nominated world’s best restaurant a staggering five times.

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At the Footprints of Nobel Winners – Cambridge Venture Camp 2017

Hello,

We are three Master´s Degree students from Laurea Tikkurila where we are studying in a program called “Future Studies and Customer Oriented Services”. Last autumn we participated in a course ”Digitaalisen palvelun käyttäjäkeskeinen suunnittelu” and there we started to develop a business idea for a digital application called ”Big Steps for Little People”, and with that idea we won WeLive -designing competition early 2017. After that our teacher encouraged us to apply to Cambridge Venture Camp 2017 with our business idea. Cambridge Venture Camp is an international entrepreneurship boost camp by Laurea Entrepreneurship Society, LaureaES. We sent in our application and received invitation to be interviewed. We heard afterwards that LaureaES had received about 50 ideas/applications and only 8 of them were chosen to participate the camp. Guess what? We were one of them!

So that was a start of an interesting and motivating journey to learn about entrepreneurship and developing our business idea further. First there was a Finnish week at the end of March in Leppävaara campus which included lectures of pitching, team building, MVP (minimum viable product), external funding and finance. Week also included different kind of workshops for example regarding value proposition canvas. We also got to visit Microsoft Flux, where we had our first pitching competition. In our team it was Katri, who lost in lottery. Just kidding, Katri is a great speaker and for that reason she presented our idea.

The highlight of the Cambridge Venture Camp 2017 was the Cambridge week, that was organized during 9.-13.4.2017 in Cambridge. At the same time as we were there, Laurea´s BIB Bootcamp participants were also there. We had partly the same program with them. We stayed at Downing College in Cambridge University. Week included lectures from local professors and Finnish lecturers as well.

During the week we learned about Cambridge ecosystem, market research, marketing and business design, valuation, creating prototypes, funding possibilities for startups, lean business model canvas and also more about pitching skills. We had many workshops and we learned to use different kind of service design tools. During the whole week we developed our business idea further with help of all this. Days were very intensive and required 100 % attention the whole time. This was a great hands on way to learn basics about entrepreneurship and business idea development in a short time. All the lecturers were great and very professional. We also got realistic feedback about our business idea from lecturers and from other participants as well.

Trinity

Trinity College. Photo: Katri Rantanen.

But it was not just hard work and studying! On Tuesday evening we had a fine dining dinner at Trinity College (picture above) with all the LaureaEs and BIB participants and also some Cambridge professors joined us. Trinity College is a very rich and highly appreciated campus. They have 32 Nobel winners and for example Prince Charles has studied there. Dinner tasted excellent and we had many interesting conversations during the evening with other participants. After dinner we had an after party in Vodka Revolution Bar. On Wednesday we went all together punting on the River Cam (picture below). Luckily it was a great weather and we had some sparkling and strawberries with us. Yam! We also had some free time in the evening to see the beautiful city and do some shopping. It is easy just to walk around in the city because distances are short. We recommend Cambridge to all, it will make you feel very intelligent (or not).

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Punting on River Cam. Photo: Katri Rantanen.

During the whole Cambridge Venture Camp 2017, we had great atmosphere and team spirit. LaureaES did an excellent job organizing everything and making sure that we could focus on the essential – learning and development. Did you know that they do all this on their free time?

In overall this was a once in a lifetime experience. We encourage everyone to apply to next Cambridge Venture Camp with your own business ideas, in case you are interested in entrepreneurship or just learning more. As Isaac Newton, one of Cambridge University´s famous alumni said “What we know is a drop, what we don’t know is an ocean.”

Mervi Kleimola, Katri Rantanen and Niina Rinkinen

#CVC17 #WeLoveBusiness #LaureaES

http://www.laureaes.fi/en/home/

https://www.cam.ac.uk/

https://www.downing-conferences-cambridge.co.uk/