Tag Archive | change

Utopia or Dystopia? How is the Future Looking like in Service Design?

By Salla Kuuluvainen
I recently attended two events which made me think about futures thinking and it’s relation to service design and innovation. Innovation, by definition, is an act that reaches towards the future, and and engages the innovator in creating a future that may be something they wish for.. or not. How can we as innovators and service designers engage in creating those desirable futures?

50 years from 1968

I attended an event in Tiedekulma where the year 1968 was discussed. I went there, not because my studies of service design, but because I’m interested in changing the world, and when younger, also identified as an activist. One of the speakers, Johanna Vuorelma, a historian, claimed that politics in today’s world no longer are utopistic. In 1968 there was a real sense of trying to build a better, different world from previous’ generations’ with a World War and its horrors.

I could agree on that. The revolutionaries and activists of today no longer reach for a desirable future, instead they try to preserve something of old: a somewhat habitable planet or a shred of human rights, or a homeland that looks like in 1950`s if they are active in the conservative movements. So activism today may look like the same thing as
in the crazy year of 1968, but actually the drivers and motivators behind the actions may be very different.

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Futurist as Designer

Another event I attended during Helsinki Design Week was Futures Talks, organized by Futures Specialists Helsinki. In the event we heard many different ideas and scenarios for future, some more positive than others. The idea that impacted me the most had to do with design thinking. The organizers discussed the idea of designing our futures, meaning that studies of the futures thinking is not just a passive act of trying predict what will happen – instead a we should see how each of our actions and choices creates the future in this very moment.
In conclusion of these two events I thought that maybe utopistic thinking does not happen in the realm of activism and politics anymore, but that sometimes more optimism and positive energy for change can be found around events that discuss design and innovation. Our final task at the event by FSH was to create a future wall with post-it notes about our personal utopias, dystopias or protopias – protopia meaning a world that is better by a small, achievable change. Maybe Service Design is actually just about that – creating a protopia for our everyday lives.

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How might we design for change?

“Reading aloud is an important tool to plant the love of reading in children”, said Rana Dajani explainng her idea of We Love Reading in the innovation platform: Open IDEO.

We Love Reading is an initiative to hold read-aloud sessions in refugee camps that encourages women, men and youth to be leaders in their communities by setting up read aloud sessions. These sessions are done by the people of the camp themselves within the vicinity of the tents. Children not only enjoy the storytelling experience in their own language and culture but, it is also a capacity building tool for adults in the camp that give them a sense of purpose there.

You might hear about this initiative because it has been elected by UNESCO as an effective education program and they also participated in WISE Congress last year.

The initiative already has a pilot in the Zaatai refugee camp of Jordan, where thousands of Syrian refugees live and it is one of the top ideas of the Openideo challenge: How might we improve education and expand learning opportunities for refugees around the world?

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What is OpenIDEO?

Along with the challenge of refugee education, on OpenIDEO you can find many others calls, all of them starting with How might we…? OpenIDEO is a design thinking methodology platform where “people from all corners of the world, no matter who they are, collaboratively tackle some of the toughest global issues bringing their experience and unique perspective to the conversation and development of ideas.”

What is Design Thinking?

In Tim Brown’s words it is “a methodology that imbues the full spectrum of innovation activities with a human-centered design ethos”. The mission of design thinking is to translate observations into insights and insights into products, services or experiences that will improve lives.

Design thinking tools are such as empathy and getting out into the world to be inspired by people, diverged and converged thinking, synthesis as a capacity to frame insight, using prototyping to learn with your hands, creating stories to share ideas, visual thinking, joining forces with people from other disciplines.

Some of its principles include working by building on the ideas of others, collaboration, bridging the knowing-doing gap, interdisciplinary teams and a systematic approach to take challenges through inspiration, to ideation, implementation of the idea and iterating along the process.

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Wrapping the story

OpenIDEO is a tangible opportunity to apply the design thinking framework to global problems at this critical point where rapid change is forcing us to look not only to new ways of solving problems but to new problems to solve. All local communities around the world are facing these global challenges in their own places.

Along with the We Love Reading idea, on OpenIDEO you can find 400 research contributions to the challenge of improving refugee education, 376 ideas were developed collaboratively and 7 top ideas will eventually be funded. The impact of these ideas will take place in refugee communities and it also has an inspirational impact on the ideas of others that we are not yet able to measure but we should not underestimate.

 

Carmen Moles
Service Innovation and Design MBA Student

 

Research and sources:

Brown, Tim 2009. Change by design: how design thinking can transform organizations and inspire innovation. New York: HarperCollins Publishers.

Tschimmel, Katja 2012. Design Thinking as an effective Toolkit for Innovation. In: Proceedings of the XXIII ISPIM Conference: Action for Innovation: Innovating from Experience. Barcelona.

http://www.academia.edu/1906407/Design_Thinking_as_an_effective_Toolkit_for_Innovation

Brown, Tim 2008. Design Thinking. Harvard Business Review, June, 84-95.

http://www.ideo.com/images/uploads/thoughts/IDEO_HBR_Design_Thinking.pdf

OpenIDEO challenges.openideo.com

We Love Reading Project www.welovereading.org

Photo credit 

 

How do you react when you face change, uncertainty and chaos?

How many people we have in this room? This was the first question asked in our workshop with the topic Leading through change, uncertainty and chaos. At that time I didn’t have any clue what we’re going to do in this workshop. So, there were 15 people and we were asked to divide in to two groups with same amount of women and men and we had to make sure that we don’t know each other before.

‘Here are instructions for the game we’re going to play today. Read them carefully together outside of the room in ten minutes and make sure everyone knows the rules of the game when you come back’, our workshops facilitator said. Ok, so we’re going to play some game here, I thought and we went to read the instructions. Because of the limited time, one of us, read them aloud and rest of tried to understand the idea of the game. I was confused, I didn’t understand what the game was all about, it sounded like chess, but with different rules.

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