Tag Archive | design process

10 Days to Make a Change — What I Learned from the Cross-European Virtual Hackathon

Using design and online collaboration to address challenges as a result of global COVID-19 outbreak

GoneVirtual

As in spring 2020 we were experiencing nearly a global lockdown, I was searching for opportunities to collaborate with others virtually and contribute to the vast societal challenges that were taken place. After worrying news related to pandemic, I felt it was meaningful to be able to connect with others, learn and devote to an important cause. This triggered me to join a 10-day open innovation design process named as UNA.TEN (Transform Emergency Now! 10 days for change) hackathon by the University Alliance Europe.

Una.ten

UNA.TEN hackathon communication material by Helsinki Think Company

 

To achieve local impact through European collaboration, UNA.TEN hackathon brought virtually together over 100 master level students from seven universities and several local partners across Europe to develop solutions to address challenges related to the COVID-19 context in April-May 2020. I participated in the event with virtual Helsinki team together with Helsinki Think Company and the University of Helsinki and was able to collaborate with participants from Bologna, Edinburgh, Krakow, Leuven, Madrid and Paris.

 

What made this really unique was that the fact that the hackathon was online, and we were all experiencing the same situation of being locked down in our homes.

I had previously participated in numerous design events such as design sprints, hackathons, co-creation workshops and global service and sustainability jams in different roles varying from a facilitator to a mentor and participant throughout Europe. However, all these events had been conducted face-to-face and participants had travelled to the same location, sometimes even from another side of the world, to benefit from the close on-site collaboration. I was thus curious to find out how would all virtual 10-day hackathon work in practice.

Design thinking mindset and open innovation design process virtually

Design thinking mindset and open innovation design process were framing the hackathon. Each local team could choose between four design challenges. The topics, formulated as statement starters, were relevant and diverse:

  • How might we rethink entertainment and cultural activities during the COVID post-emergency period?
  • How might we protect our privacy and help to fight dangers, fears, and misconceptions in a digital world?
  • How might we ensure travellers’ safety while COVID-19 is not fully defeated yet?
  • How might we avoid food waste due to supply chain disruption?
Schedule_una_ten

Timeline and activities of UNA.TEN hackathon (Material shared by Helsinki Think Company to participants)

Following the local and international kick-off events, organized as video calls, and creative online warm-ups, each team initiated an intense research phase to explore the context. Within a short timeframe, teams were conducting online interviews with relevant stakeholders to better understand the needs and aspirations of the people who were at the center of design.

Based on the sensemaking and the 1st insights, the challenges were reframed to scope the next phases of design accordingly. An international benchmarking call helped to gain additional inspiration and build an understanding what paths other teams had investigated. Based on the challenge reframing, the ideation could be kicked off. Teams were encouraged to move quickly to prototyping to gather more information and feedback. Again, joint calls with other teams helped to reflect and develop further.

As such, sounds like a regular open innovation design process. So what were the lessons learned of this all online 10-day event?

100% virtual hackathon — it works!

Until very recently, I was one of those who strongly believed how design process, from design research to ideation and testing, should be conducted mostly, if not entirely, face-to-face to be successful. Indeed, there’s a long list of benefits that onsite creative and collaborative process is bringing, and I was not questioning it. This is why I also literally travelled around the world to conduct research and facilitate co-creation workshops and design sprints. Moreover, I often encouraged my client teams to invite their distributed team members to one specific location to harness the power of on-site collaboration.

Onsite_Collab

On-site collaboration in action. (Photo by Nina Kostamo Deschamps)

However, these special times have demonstrated fast our ability to co-create engaging online experiences.

Indeed, based on our hackathon, people collaborate eagerly, use new online tools and design methods and are excited about the overall experience and the outcomes.

Yes, there might be some hiccups here and there, but not necessary more than in regular face-to-face events.

For me, as a fan of onsite co-creation events, this was a clear a-ha moment.

aha

Next let me share my reflections and three lessons learned what made this virtual hackathon successful. I also add a few things to consider if you are about to plan a similar type of online event.


3 Lessons Learned from Virtual Hackathon

 

1. With people for people

As usual in a hackathon, people do not necessarily know each other upfront. In this event, although we had never met face-to-face and had very different backgrounds, we felt united. We all shared the same situation, being in self-isolation at our homes, willing to connect with others and eager to be able contribute to something purposeful. It felt we were together despite of distances, with a clear vision and enthusiasm. This shared motivation was one of the enablers, which made this hackathon a rewarding experience.

Participants

UNA.TEN hackathon participants’ motivation was an important success factor. (Photo shared originally on Twitter by Helsinki Think Company)

 

Ultimately, it is easier to create a great experience and results when people are motivated. In this event, motivation came naturally as participants were volunteering. On the contrary, often at workplaces, participants’ motivation tend to vary, e.g. some participants might feel forced to join, while others might feel distracted due to stress related to their daily jobs, which consequently can hinder the focus on the process and collaboration.

Things to consider:

If you are conducting a virtual design event, such as a design sprint, hackathon or co-creation workshop, take time to reflect and plan:

  • How to motivate people to participate? Even better, ask them upfront.
  • How to secure participants’ full engagement and keep them engaged throughout the process. What methods and techniques can you bring to facilitate the motivation virtually?

2. Trusting the process — and facilitation

This hackathon provided a joint learning experience where students and coaches connected across Europe in several occasions to share experiences, ideate, learn, present and receive feedback. Many of the participants were not familiar with a human-centered design approach, design process with divergent and convergent thinking, methods or tools we were using. Yet, it turned out well.

Outcome-focused remote facilitation and well-balanced constraints help to reach the goals

Although the process as such might be robust, you do need facilitators — those who think over the process and select the most suitable, outcome-focused, methods, plan the schedule and organize the logistics, provide guidance and inspiration, help people to get over the obstacles and remind them on the overall goals. This is a familiar topic from face-to-face events, but this online hackathon emphasized it again.

The facilitation needs to happen at multiple levels, at the process, the group but also individual levels to keep the focus and rhythm. We had facilitators and coaches for the overall hackathon, but also for the challenge area at the European level and locally.

Additionally, having set constraints, such as tight timelines and regular checkpoints to share, learn and inspire helped people to move in the right direction within the agreed timeframe. Multiple channels created on Slack encouraged people to share their thoughts and best practices in between the video calls. We could feel the pace, even though we were not physically in the same room.

Things to consider

To ensure a successful virtual design event:

  • How can you secure a sufficient number of skilled facilitators to get and keep the ball rolling over multiple remote teams and team members?
  • What kind of schedule would be realistic enough to get the results needed for each phase, from research to ideation and testing, yet feel slightly challenging to get most out of people’s creative capabilities?

3. Virtual collaboration facilitated by the thoughtful methods, enabled by technology

To conduct this all virtual hackathon, multiple digital collaboration tools were used throughout the process, e.g. Google, Miro, Slack and Zoom. Although one could get easily lost between these different channels and online spaces, our experience went rather smoothly.

The last time I had used Miro was back in 2017 when it was still known as RealtimeBoard. Throughout our design process from research to concepting, it turned out to be valuable tool.

In fact, for the hackathon purposes, facilitators and coaches had pre-selected canvases, i.e. the templates, and set up our virtual collaboration spaces, which made it easy to jump in right away. However, not that long time ago, printing large canvases and securing a good number of sticky notes were mandatory prerequisites of a successful co-creation workshop. Indeed, sometimes, as facilitators, we found ourselves dragging canvases to airports, hotels and workshop locations to capture the ideas and outcomes of the creative process and secure we could later convert the details into a digital format.

Dragging

From paper canvases to digital canvases. On the left side, we were dragging the co-design workshop canvases in a hotel corridor. On the right side, the screenshots of UNA.TEN hackathon’s digital canvases on Miro. (Photo by Nina Kostamo Deschamps)

So having tested the latest of these digital tools during this hackathon, I must say they do enable the creativity, proactive collaboration and facilitate the process. For instance, Miro has not only ready-map templates but also kits with step-by-step guides.

And there are a plenty of other tools and guides to make this happen regardless of your role in the design process. Jake KnappJohn Zeratsky, and Jackie Colburn just published a new guide how to conduct design sprints remotely and Mural has been busy with creating how-to guides and more during the recent months. All in all, these tools and guides do not only enable efficient remote collaboration and provide an opportunity to conduct end-to-end design thinking and innovation processes virtually but, in many cases, they also facilitate the processing the outcomes quicker.

Miro

Ready to use templates and kits on Miro.

Things to consider

  • What tools and methods can you best leverage to conduct your virtual session successfully? Do you have a sufficient amount of time reserved to set and test the overall flow prior to day 1?
  • What is your plan B in case the participants face issues with the selected tools?

To conclude, what were the outcomes and highlights of this all virtual hackathon?

UNA.TEN was concluded with presentations on May 8th, just one day prior to Europe Day 2020. Interesting and innovative solutions were ideated, such as an immersive experience connecting international audiences and performers virtually, while exploring the historic city of Edinburgh, the ‘bubble’ festival with live music, with a concept of being together but safe, a social distancing framework, a new way to discover local activities with safety measures, a digital service to organize trips in the countryside, a platform to connect local travel entrepreneurs to jointly package their offering with others to create more meaningful experiences to travellers and so on. Some teams, with the help of their local partners are proceeding further with their concepts.

Reflecting the overall experience

The UNA.TEN hackathon was time well spent, and it inspired me to continue to explore virtual possibilities.

Here are the highlights of this virtual hackathon:

  1. Participation in an engaging social experience
  2. Getting to know people across Europe
  3. A reminder about the benefits of cross-European collaboration
  4. First-hand experience and lessons learnt how design process works all online and virtually
  5. Possibility to test the latest tools and digital templates
  6. A chance to contribute to topical issues
  7. Concrete ideas how to help entrepreneurs who are suffering from the COVID-19 implications
  8. Opportunity to continue experimenting with concepts created.

Finally, it will be interesting to see how our ways of working will be digitized in a longer run. Will this special era disrupt the way we work and collaborate for good, also within innovation and design thinking scene?

Written by:

Nina Kostamo Deschamps, SID 2016

Innovation Designer & Change Facilitator at Accenture Interactive

twitter.com/NinaDeNapapiiri

Recipe for successful design process

Modern design thinking does not replace the traditional approach to design but rather adds a new layer. Today we think broader: anyone can learn to apply design thinking to any innovation challenge (Carlgren, Elmquist & Rauth 2014, p. 30). The imagination is the only limit since design thinking can be utilised to the traditional products as well as to ecosystems (Brown, TED talk, 15:34). Therefore, it can be used for improving corporate management, cracking climate change challenge or enhancing healthcare services in developing countries, just to mention few examples.

Liedtka and Ogilvie (2011, p. 21) have taken a systematic approach towards modern design thinking and suggest a set of questions which give guidance through-out the design process: What is? What if? What wows? What works? According to them, by asking these questions we are able to have a systematic approach to wider variety of design challenges. The model (see Figure 1) takes Tim Brennan’s well known design-is-a-mystery drawing a bit further and gives a practical tool-set for each of the four stages. Visualisation is the common thread that runs through the entire process. 

Figure 1. Design process by Liedtka and Ogilvie (2011).

I would like to walk you through the four critical steps of this design process. In order to have a bit richer view over the process, additional remarks will be included from Katja Tschimmel and Tim Brown.

What is – Take a reality check!

To find viable future opportunities, we need to study the present and find “real” people’s needs and desires (Tschimmel 2019). Furthermore, we need to look at how customers currently frame their problems and the mental models. While studying this, we should understand the culture and the context in order to gain a comprehensive view (Brown, TED talk, 5:38). 

Part of the task is achieved by analysing existing data. In addition, tools like media analysis, journey mapping, value chain analysis and mind mapping are needed to gather qualitative information. 

What if – Vision the perfect world!

In order to be truly innovative, think variety, multiple perspectives and fight against stereotypes (Tschimmel 2019). Also, scout for new trends and uncertainties. Based on your study and the information gathered in the previous stage, we can now formulate hypotheses about the desirable future. Tools like brainstorming and concept development have been proven to be useful when envisioning the future.

Generating new ideas by brain writing and sketching.

What wows – Find the sweet spot!

Now we need to make some difficult choices in order to hit sweet spots that offer significant value for the customers in a profitable way. This requires testing the hypotheses carefully and studying the data available (Liedtka & Ogilvie 2011, p. 127). The ambitious goal is to test the future in the present – not an easy task. Assumption testing, business canvas, desktop walkthrough and rapid prototyping, for example, are valuable tools in this process.

Desktop walkthrough over the service concept with legos.

What works – Fail early to succeed sooner!

Learning by making is the key for the successful design process (Brown, TED talk, 7:03). Prototypes speed up the process and give us critical information on strengths and weakness of our solution. In this learning-in-action-process it is important to work in fast feedback cycles in order to minimise the experimenting costs and to maximise the information flow (Liedtka & Ogilvie 2011, p. 33). Remember, that without some failures nothing truly innovative will not merge (Tschimmel 2019). Consumer co-creation, prototype testing and learning launch are examples of usable methods in this stage.

Prototyping with social robot in elderly service center.

And what are my key learnings from this “spiced-up” version of the design process? Firstly, success does not come for free: it requires a large set of tools, systematic thinking, holistic perspective and willingness to fail. Secondly, active collaboration is the key for truly successful innovations and meaningful designs. Thirdly, people must be kept in mind every step of the way – or as Tim Brown puts it – “Design is too important to be left to designers!” (Brown, TED talk, 10:45).

References

Carlgren, L, Elmquist, M. & Rauth, I. 2014. Exploring the use of design thinking in large organisations: Towards a research agenda. Swedish Design Research Journal 1/14.

Liedtka, J & Ogilvie, T. 2011. Designing for growth: A design thinking tool kit for managers. Columbia University Press. 

Tschimmel, K. 2019. Design Thinking lectures on 6–7 September 2019. Laurea University of Applied Sciences.

Tim Brown. 2009. Design Thinking: TED Talk. https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=3&v=J0ZbVAQ8bWI

Is Design Thinking the right approach for every development project?

Heljä Franssila
First-year SID student and comms professional


The first three-day study phase focusing on the basics of Design Thinking left me inspired, yet somewhat confused. When going back home after our last day together, I could not help wondering if design thinking really is a method we can use for every development project.

Under the guidance of Katja Tschimmel, our group had set out to find a solution for establishing an agenda for an ecologically sustainable Laurea University, starting from the Leppävaara campus.

In our task, we quickly ran through the phases of a design process from understanding to testing, following the Design Thinking Model of the Hasso-Plattner Institute (Tschimmel 2012, 9), or from discovery to delivery, as in the model of the Design Council (2012, 9) – or from emergence to exposition, as in the E.6² model by Tschimmel’s company Mindshake. Our case was solid in the sense that the challenge we were facing is a real one – how to create a sustainable campus in the times of an ecological crisis – but instead of creating a holistic action plan for the university, the design thinking method basically lead us to developing a mobile app for students. It was obvious that in real life, this kind of solution alone would not help Laurea to a more sustainable future in the large scale.

As an answer to my doubts, Jeanne Liedtka and Tim Ogilvie assure me in their book Designing for Growth (2011) that we still need business thinking in addition to design thinking tools (Liedtka and Ogilvie 2011, 29). They enlist three reasons why combining business thinking models with design thinking tools leads to success. Here, in the context of our campus project, I understand the concept of ‘business thinking’ as a synonym to strategic thinking or other more traditional management models. Liedtka and Ogilvie argue that business thinking is needed because novelty, which is sought after in design innovation processes, does not necessarily create value, and sometimes even value creation is not enough. There are many other elements which must be taken into account, too, when managing a business, or, in our case, running a university (2011, 29).

Finally, according to Liedtka and Ogilvie, we must always consider whether the world really needs our innovation (2011, 29). This is probably the most crucial factor why our group’s innovation would not have survived the testing phase in the design process, as it simply would not deliver a viable solution to the challenge of a sustainable university.

Drawing portraits was a clever way of getting to know each member of our group. It also simply helped us to remember who is who. Yet it felt difficult to sketch a face of a class mate who you didn’t know at all, as the results of one-minute drawings weren’t most flattering! Image: Heljä Franssila


Victory with visuals

What are the strengths of design process, then? For me, the biggest revelation from Tschimmel’s masterclass and the study materials was the power of communicating ideas with visualisations, such as sketches, drawings and prototypes. As communications professional, I have thought to have understood the high value of photographs, videos and illustrations, but now I realise how strongly my thinking is dominated by words and text.

Tschimmel, as well as Liedtka and Ogilvie, encourage us to test and improve our hypothesis by experimentation (Liedtka and Ogilvie, 2011, 39), which can be easily done by rapid sketches and unpolished prototypes (Tschimmel 2012, 16). Using visualisation instead of text decreases the project risk remarkably, as text is much more open to interpretation than pictures and illustrated stories. The text easily leads each participant to imagine their own mental schema about the topic, which can lead to arguments when differing ideas are found out (Lietdka and Ogilvie 2011, 51). It is also recommended to do rapid prototyping as soon as possible, as it is cost-effective to fail at the early stage than in later development (Tschimmel 2012, 16).

In our study project, it first felt impossible to me to visualise my ideas either by drawing or by building legos (“why can’t I just write it!”)  but I see it now very clearly why developing visualisation skills is absolutely necessary for an aspiring service designer such as me. I am looking forward to my future as the first-rate lego builder.



References:

Liedtka, J & Ogilvie, T. (2011). Designing for Growth: a design thinking tool kit for managers. Columbia University Press. 

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

Tschimmel, K. 2019. Design Thinking. Lectures. Held on 6-7 September, 2019. Laurea University of Applied Sciences.

Design Process Three Ways

By Salla Kuuluvainen

I participated in Dash Design – an event that was preparation for Europe’s largest hackathon DASH.
In Dash Design we heard from three companies and their take on design process: Smartly.io, Pentagon Design and Iittala.

53E1C199-BFB7-4CB2-8A37-AC5018BE6527

What became quite clear at the event was that the design process can look very different and still be creative, effective and produce great results. At Smartly.io, the process is very well defined and clear structures exist. Same could be said about Pentagon Design, who brought an example of rebranding licorice for Fazer. At Iittala, there was no structured process, instead the new designs were created with a much looser approach of experimentation.

Designing with Clear Roadmaps at Smartly

Smartly.io helps companies with automatized online marketing solutions. It’s a fast paced tech company that prides in innovating fast. Smartly has a very clearly defined roadmap for product development, with a clever side process for more experimental innovation. All solutions are created close to the customer and tested internally and externally.

3 takeaways from Smartly

• Everyone at the company is involved in the design process, not just designers.
• Rapid prototyping and early release of new features is crucial.
• It’s important to work very close to the customer.

Deep Diving with Pentagon Design

Pentagon Design is a consultancy that helped a very well known, old Finnish company Fazer in rebranding some of their most classic licorice products very successfully towards a more premium category product. Pentagon Design used a very thought through approach that was based on the Double Diamond and included lots of testing with customers and feedback, and for example a process called Deep Dive that investigated the environments and user and even employee perspectives of the products in thorough manner.

8CE3184F-BE5D-40C4-B159-0E0FF13A180F

An example of Pentagon Design’s analytical approach to design process

3 takeaways from Pentagon Design

• For a design agency, it’s good to have a strong, tried out framework for the design process, which can even be adapted to the client company’s own processes.
• It’s important to let the customers in the design process from early phases to get the right feedback.
• The design team should have the right mixture of competences.

Experimenting at Iittala

Iittala is known for every Finn, it is a very traditional interior design brand. Jeremiah Teslin from Iittala talked about the different approaches he had used when rebranding and redesigning some of Iittala’s established product categories.

Personally for me it was interesting how much Teslin talked about needing to convince the organization to support the new designs, and how he used visual rebranding, creation of attractive images of the new products and setting up spaces to showcase the products as well as organized different kinds of internal innovation events to create engagement in the company for the new products. So in a way the design process for him was much more about change management than just about coming up with new products.

1CD97D27-62E5-47EA-8037-3C74BFE5C943

An example of visualization of products

3 takeaways from Iittala

• Work with the right people.
• Make the ideas visible and tangible for the whole company.
• Facilitate behavior change with design: We don’t need new mugs, instead we need better coffee moments.

Generally what all of these three companies had was passion and awareness for the process of design, even if they worked in quite different areas and with different kinds of tools and methods. That enthusiasm is also my main takeaway from the event!

DASH Boom Bang!

“You gotta get stuff done.” – Jeremiah Tesolin, Iittala.

Event: DASH – Design Process

Time: 13.9.2018 17.00 – 19.00

IMG_3610

Host presenting DASH – Design Hackathon

Place: Clarion Hotel Helsinki (Tyynenmerenkatu 2, 00220 Helsinki)

 

”Interested to discover new design processes and learn different approaches to design? DASH – Design Process gathers three companies from different fields to uncover their design process.

Using different design processes help you to work more efficiently and to break down a large project into manageable chunks. Architects, engineers, scientists, and other thinkers use design processes frequently to solve a variety of problems.”

 

 

 

 

Keynote1: Roman Musatkin, Product Designer at Smartly.io

IMG_3612

Roman Musatkin


What defines design process?

  1. Maximizing Pruduct Development speed
  2. Building the product with the most advanced customers
  3. Everyone does customer support
  4. Everyone is involved in the design process

At Smartly.io product building is fast: plan – design – release a feature the same week. Customers give instant feedback about user experience issues or bugs in the system. They use whiteboards, sketching and Invision to keep the process agile and not too complex.

 

 

 

Keynote 2: Virva Haltsonen, Senior Strategist at Pentagon Design

IMG_3622

Virva Haltsonen

 

 

IMG_3636

Fazer Lakritsi new release, had try it after Dash 🙂

Virva presented Fazer Lakritsi concept project as a case design process. Together they built a portfolio that is turning settings around in liquerice business.  Pentagon design uses double diamond as the basic design process, normally the prosess is divided in five phases each with own meaning in the iterative project. Their long-lasting design thinking agency relies in simple formula in success: empathy + creativity + rationality = user
needs + business success. Pentagon designs attributes their success in ”Rational passion” combining rigorous procesess and creativity. Virva emphasised that it is important to learn quite quickly. Find answers to questions like ”How do we know that we are onto something interesting?” ”Who should be involved?”

 

 

 

Keynote 3: Jeremiah Tesolin, Creative Director at Iittala

Jeremiah Tesolin explained design process more through guidelines about how to develop a company:

  • Making it relevant
  • Working with what the company is really good at
  • Doing something a bit wild
  • Working with the right people
  • Familiar yet surprisingly new

IMG_3627

Jeremiah Tesolin

 

It was very interesting to hear three keynotes about the same topic with three quite different companies. They all had a lot in common in their design processes though. The dominant theme seemed to be doing things. Doing things fast. It of course fits well to the hachathon theme coming up, but also about being efficient is important in modern world today. Being agile in development process and maximizing product development speed keep you at an advantage point when comparing to competitors. Rapid prototyping and other methods are important, because you need to learn quite quickly about what to do with your next move. Doing things from scratch ’till release fast gives you opportunity to also grow fast if you do your process right.

In order of doing design process right, all three companies have another thing completely the same: getting customers involved. Having customers involved in the design process helps you to understand the users needs and get genuine feedback. Some build the product together with the most advanced customers, others are making things relevant by understanding the context of use. As Jeremiah Tesolin said: “You own the vase, but you bring the flowers into your life.”

Just as building services with clients/customers/users, you also need to involve everyone in the company in the design process. Sharing the knowledge in “Friday demos” or talking to people stimulates your brain to new ideas. Working with the right people creates objects and services people love. A lot of the times sharing and learning is done by tools such as whiteboard, InVision, Slack, Pinterest, photographing and other things that help you visualize things.

One has to make exceptions to the system and create change towards collaboration and new contexts for services and designs. New moments, new experiences, new uses, new behaviours, new relationships, new degrees of funcion.

 

”Dash is organized by Aalto Entrepreneurship Society, the largest and most developed student entrepreneurship community in Europe. Aaltoes organizes various events and programs to promote entrepreneurship and help early-stage startups to start their ventures. Aaltoes is behind events and programs such as Kiuas, early-stage startup incubator, and FallUp, Europe’s entrepreneurship event for students.”

 

The author Siru Sirén is MBA student in Futures Studies and Customer-Oriented Services in Laurea UAS// Licenced social service professional

 

More info and ideas:

https://www.dash.design

https://www.smartly.io

http://www.pentagondesign.fi/fi

https://www.iittala.com/fi/fi/tarinamme

https://www.fazer.fi/tuotteet-ja-asiakaspalvelu/tuotemerkit/fazer-lakritsi

https://www.invisionapp.com

https://slack.com

https://www.nordicchoicehotels.fi/hotellit/suomi/helsinki/clarion-hotel-helsinki/

https://www.helsinkidesignweek.com

*Article-photo taken as a screenshot from Dash website

Design when everybody designs

When, a couple of years ago, I announced I was going to quit my job to attend the HPI School of Design Thinking, most of my family and friends thought I was about to neglect the business path I had been following to find my true self in sketching trees on a notebook. (Which, by the way, is a back thought I never really excluded).

Later on, when sitting next to a scientist, a film producer, a psychologist and a dancer, all aiming to become design thinkers, I wondered what would bring us all together.

Once clarified that our goal was not to become excellent drawers, what does design mean to us? And if background is not a differentiator, what’s that make us feel in the right place?

Tim Brown (2008) lists a number of characteristics shaping the profile of a design thinker:

  • Empathy, as in the ability to observe situation from multiple perspectives
  • Integrative thinking, as in approaching a problem holistically
  • Optimism, as in having trust in finding a solution that fits, no matter how blurry the process is
  • Experimentalism, as in curiosity and resilience to failure
  • Collaboration, as in a natural tendency to work in teams

groupwork

This last point is further explained, again by Tim Brown in his book “Change by design”, where he summarizes the profile of  design thinker as a “T-shaped” person, meaning someone with a deep expertise that can clearly contribute to the outcome, but also with a certain capacity and disposition for collaboration across disciplines.

Continue reading

I’m Developer, I’m not Creative?

I have always thought that since I’m ex-developer, I’m not creative. Developers only need to follow programming logic and mathematics rules to develop from business requirements. Then I found myself from Katja Tschimmel’s course on Design Thinking at Laurea and very quickly realized that I need to be very creative for next two days.

We started Design Thinking course with different exercises for being creative and some instructions how to be even more creative. We got some advice and ideas how to move ahead when you have total block.

Katja

Then Katja Tschimmel started to tell us about different kind of models of the design thinking process. Great, this would be easy after all, all developers love processes.

Continue reading

Design Thinking –and quite a lot of doing

Throw-back Saturday. Sitting by my lap-top trying to find ways and words to describe my thoughts on last weekends’ Design Thinking -course. What are main learnings I took home from the weekend and what are the ideas I still carry with me after getting familiar with the recommended literature* on the topic? I grouped the outcome into three main themes; Group dynamics, Design processes and various models, Characteristics of a designer.

Outcome grouped

GROUP DYNAMICS
The two-day intensive course started off as it was to continue,
fast and intensive. 20170916_135752Right after the opening words, we were to get to know one another through inspiring bingo-game to find a person with the right feature. I got pretty close…
Another fun exercise was to play with the Mindshake Design Thinking cards to identify, pair and cluster the design techniques with the corresponding design actions. It was interesting to notice how quickly the groups started to work on the task productively without really knowing one another. Here’s a mini video-clip I took from my team in action. 😊


At least to me, these exercises managed to proof the importance of team-work (you could’ve not managed to fill in the paper without getting and giving help), point out the heterogeneous nature of our group (diversity is a strong asset in a design team), and strengthen our group dynamics from the very beginning.

DESIGN PROCESS AND MODELS
All these warming up tasks prepared us for the bigger teamwork that was to follow. We were given a design case to work on by following the Evolution62 -model, which at times turned out to be not so clear. However, after refining our concept for several times we finally managed to come up with a brilliant idea and an applicable concept I still am proud of today. To get an idea on our design process journey, check the evidence. 😉 Continue reading

Educating the Design Thinkers of Tomorrow

dtblog_kuva1

First day at school

My Daughter

My first-born started her school journey this autumn. It’s the same school that I attended 30 years ago, a respected and multicultural school, back then quite a traditional one – discipline based, classroom centric, the teacher standing in front of the class, the pupils listening. It still is a good school, but I already have come to notice some important changes.

The first graders’ theme for the first weeks has been their hometown Helsinki. They have already made many excursions (e.g. Children’s town at the City Museum), spent time outside of school moving and observing their environment (e.g. how many cyclists use helmets) and learnt through their own experience (e.g. mapping how they travel to school). Currently, they are building in teams a city block, which involves planning, discussing different alternatives, making decisions together and executing their plans. The number one hit has been the intelligent carpet, a huge iPad as my daughter says, for doing math exercises, memory games and other cool stuff with your feet. A big thank you goes out to the progressive thinking and creativity of the class teacher. She acts rather as a facilitator and coach in the knowledge creation process than as the knowledge provider, like in the traditional teaching approach.

a%cc%88lymatto

The “Intelligent Carpet” in action!

 

Whether the school’s management and teachers are talking about Design Thinking when planning the curriculum or teaching methods is secondary. Most important is what they are doing and how they are doing it. The fact is that the school’s teaching approach celebrates the ideology and values of Design Thinking, such as human-centricity, empathy, multidisciplinary thinking, holistic approach, creativity, collaboration, playfulness and visualization of thoughts. Also the phases and methods are similar to those used in Design Thinking, such as the design process introduced by IDEO for educators: discovery, interpretation, ideation, experimentation and evolution. Most importantly, the pupils are taught to think on their own and exercise analytical thinking, mixing facts and rational thinking with feelings and emotions. I truly hope they also learn to tolerate uncertainty and risk-taking and accept that doing mistakes and failures is an important part of the process. This wasn’t self-evident when I went to school.

Continue reading

Design Thinking: The Journey of Group 5

Design is a central feature of our everyday life. But what is it? How do you define a good design solution?  Is it about aesthetics, quality or functionality? How do you develop the creative process and when can you consider yourself a designer?

The discussions, lectures and exercises during the Design Thinking course were aimed at helping us answer all these questions. We were provided with different tools and methods to develop ourselves as designers and contribute to creation of new services.


Researching for inspiration & Benchmarking

The first group exercise started during the first contact session. The theme selected by our group was “Services for Museums” and we had to identify the problems of the current service offering and design new solutions. In groups of 5-6 people, we brainstormed on problems and possible solutions during the first contact day. As our first course assignment, we were asked to research the services that exist on the market, how they are represented in Finland and abroad, and how the services or lack of them affect potential consumers’ daily life.

Continue reading