Tag Archive | Cultures

Ritual Design – A New Perspective or Sacrilege?

“We needed a fresh approach, all our clients already know service design and how to use the tools”, starts anthropologist and service designer Veera Suomalainen her talk at October’s IxDA Helsinki meetup.

My first thought was what?! Every time I tell people that I study service design, I have to explain them what it means. I guess the clients of Suomalainen’s Exove are more enlightened.

As Suomalainen’s background is in anthropology, she got the idea to look at rituals and how they could be used in service design. Rituals are repetitive actions with a greater goal and bigger meaning than just the function. Examples of rituals are rites of passage such as the Finnish military service or penkkarit.


Veera Suomalainen explaining rites of passage.

When a person is performing a rite of passage they are in a liminal space, not here but not yet there. This liminality garners great fellowship with others in the same position. Liminality can be found in non-places such as airports or shopping malls as they do not have rich meanings.

Continue reading

Future of Service Design – does it exist?

Ever thought about this? Is service design just one ism, which comes like a wave: First small, getting strong and then fading away. When reaching the end of its existing curve, the ism is so worn out that no-one even wants to hear the words “service design”.

PaneeliAalto University Executive Education arranged on the 1st of June 2017, on International Service Design Day, networking event around this very interesting theme. Speakers and panelists who game from different backgrounds looked at the topic in a versatile and detailed way. They represented front line service design expertise: Peter Barkman, Managing Director from Palmu Helsinki, Laura Franck, Client Service Director from Hellon, Ulla Jones, Business Designer from OP Financial Group and Pekka Toivonen, CEO of Muotohiomo. Next I will raise some points from the discussion to give some thoughts to this important heading.

Transformation is the point

Service design have to grow from project oriented way of doing to be way of thinking that leads to cultural change and transformation in organization. “Human” and “experience” should be taken as a part of business plan in the organization. The experts see that service design as a concepts and the term might disappear. The content itself becomes an everyday part of organizational approaches and practices. Whatever the term that is used, important is to make measurable changes with goal of creating better experiences and focus on customer. Continue reading

Do Your Service Speak Different Cultures ?

multi-cultural face blog

Figure 1 – Multicultural faces, source: http://geoffallan.blogspot.com/2009_04_01_archive.html


Hello, Culture!

The cross-cultural issues in service was my first elective course with in my Service Innovation & Design MBA study; with the expectations set to provide a better understanding to cross cultural aspects of service design, and I wasn’t mistaken at all!

Coming from an background where I have lived in four countries before, visited dozen in my business and leisure trips and worked with most of the nationalities in the world in my professional life, I thought I had that good cosmopolitan mind-set that will help me to better tackle service design issues with different people coming from different background. But as I have over gone my studies in the course, I have found that cultural understanding does not come from only dealing with people from different cultures, it comes from deeply understanding the one own culture and what are the real values a person is believing in first, then trying to understand both the underground and surface levels of what others value and finding a common ground where the two cultures can meet with the minimum collision(s) possible.

Service design is all about human centered design and the human understanding, where a service is tailored to satisfy the real needs of certain stakeholder or stakeholders. But as we humans vary in our own cultures and with the global environment we are living in, Its important to understand how services can fit to match a different cultural groups and how it can be tailored to respect the values that a group of customers belief in, in a way that make the service more relevant, homecoming and familiar.

Meet… Richard Lewis!

For that, a lot of discussion has been done on what is really the definition of a culture and what does it stands for. Based on the cultural framework that I had studied which is the Richard Lewis cultural framework, Richard Lewis has drawn what is his interpretation of a culture as follows: Continue reading