Tag Archive | design thinking

Design Sprint as Tool for Non-profits

By Salla Kuuluvainen

Last week I attended an event by Järjestöjen palvelumuotoilijat – Service Designers in Non-profit sector, an informal network by people who work in the NGO sector in Finland and are interested in service design. The event was organized by Kukunori, and organization that works with mental health and well-being.

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Saara Jäämies illustrating her experiences with sprints.

The theme of the evening was Design Sprint and how that process can be used in the non-profit sector. Design Sprint process originates from Google, where it was developed by Jake Knapp, who now has his own agency GV. The GV site has great resources and videos regarding Design Sprints, and Jake Knapp’s book Sprint – Solve Problems and Test New Ideas in Just 5 Days gives a thorough explanation of the sprint process.

 

What Is a sprint?

I sprint, as I just learned in the event is a 5 day design process model that allows a team or company create and test new ideas fast, and within the 5 days arrive at a fairly well-developed concept. The GV website defines sprint as a ”five-day process for answering critical business questions through design, prototyping, and testing ideas with customers.”

The sprint process in divided into days, which all have a specific outcome, e.g on Monday you start with defining a goal, learn more about the challenge and set targets, on a Tuesday you start to ideate solutions and recruit customers for testing, and so forth.

How Can You Use Sprint in Non-profit Organizations?

In the event we heard from three different kind of experiences with sprint: Milla Mäkinen told about their experiences in creating an inclusive strategy process for Kukunori, Saara Jäämies (also a service design student at Laurea!) told about experiences with using sprint in digital service design, and Nora Elstelä, Antti Haverinen and Hanna Jaakola told about their experiences with sprint process when starting a professional collaboration together.

Some takeaways from their experiences:

  • The design sprint process as itself is not very inclusive, since the customers are only included in process in the very end. For example Kukunori took their different stakeholders as full co-creators from the start of their process in order to have a really inclusive strategy. Most non-profits would like to co-design with their stakeholders and ”customers”, so it is a good idea to modify the sprint process in this regard.
  • When co-designing with a non-hierarchical collective, it’s good to take  into account the Decider role in sprint process, who usually is someone in the company leadership, and does not necessarily participate in the whole sprint. Who makes final decisions in the process?
  • The sprint in its original form is done in consecutive days, which can be difficult to organize in non-profit environments. Elstelä, Haverinen and Jaakola had experimented with a sprint which had some time days between the phases. They noticed that in this case it was important to use time in the beginning of each new sprint day to remember what happened the previous time, and use the same visualizations to help the memory.
  • Saara Jäämies remarked that the tools and methods in sprint process are especially good since they allow people to work both independently and in a group, thus allowing for different kinds of personalities to work together productively.

As a final takeaway I really loved the Kukunori space and it’s interior decoration with all kinds of quirky fun ways to visualize their strategy process and different team dynamics – I was a little surprised to find such a cool innovation space in the rather bleak suburb of Malmi in Helsinki. Good job for the interior, Milla Mäkinen!

 

 

 

 

(Lights, camera,) ACTION!

 

On a rainy Tuesday I attended School of Startup hosted by The Shortcut. This weeks theme was Design and there was a lot of workhops related. Idea of the track is to wake up design mind and skills through design methods. There will be other post(s) coming about the design week. This workshops topic was Behaviour Design by Ashwin Rajan. In the beginning Rajan started with reminding us that design thinking process isn’t linear.

 

The spirit of design thinking consist of many things.

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Design process

 

Curiosity is one of the key factors. You need to want to learn and create new things and understand the underlining things in designing process. You also need to endure discomfort because moving in new territory means that there is not much to rely on. Some times your ideas are not welcomed so you need to accept rejection. That is also why you need to fail-forward.

When synthesising I believe you get better results because the issue/task is reviewed from many points of viewes. Finding answers while being inclusive gives better knowledge. Continuing topics ”Yes, and..” gives you more information. Learning with your hands is essential, thats why many of the design prosesses include sketching and prototyping as tools. You need to be action-driven and do things to go forward.

”Experience cannot be measured. Behaviour can.”

– Ashwin Rajan

Ashwin Rajan

Ashwin Rajan (photo from LinkedIn profile).

 

According to Rajan, “behaviour is action on digital technology”. There are different types of action, some are seeking information (serve information) and other actions are doing tasks (give tools). When you are hungry, you search for food. If for example Wolt advertises ”Hungry? Wolt” it straightforwadly implifies you that in order to satisfy you need you need to take action. An action towards them. In the future it will be easier to do the same thing because it is already familiar to you. That makes sense when you think of learning by doing and how doing things changes the way you think.

The core consepts of behaviour design are important to understand because those factors determine how well you can design a product or service. Behaviour design explains customers and users as psychologal and social beings. It is interesting how everything is sort of linked together as long as it is humans that are using the service. Even though behavioral design consists more than three core consept, Rajan decided to introduce us to the following ones:

Positive Self-Concept helps us to build identity and contuinity in our lives. We want to feel good so we seek for experiences that gives us that feeling. And also we avoid decicions that make us feel bad. Bounded rationality in decicion making process creates many suboptimal desicions simply because we use shortcuts and are biased when it comes to what we want.

Cognitive dissonance happens when situation conflicts with our attitude, perception or belief. I wonder, if information bubble is partially about cognitive dissonance? We generelly don’t accept information that is in conflict with your worldview. Or is it more about keeping positive self-concepts in order not to challenge our identity? Creating action is a way of solving cognitive dissonance. Either you change the way you think or believe or you change your behavior.

Motivation always has a direction. You go towards something or seek for avoidance. The source for motivation can be intrinsic or extrinsic. This reminded me of my other course in which I’m studying about inner motivation. Same principles work in different contexts. Understanding motivation truly helps you affect things. Either way, there is two ways to change behavior when motivating people. You align action with existing motivation or you carefully create dissonance while restoring positive self-consept.

 

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Ashwin Rajan has a great way of explaining things and concepts. I truly enjoyed while he was explaining how people react to different types of actions and how behavioral design provides tools to extend or change human behaviour. In a way, it seems relatable to psychoterapy prosess. You understand and create a behavioral intervention. After the workshop I felt inspired, motivated and hungry for more information. The key learning for me was how important is to understand the psychology of users or customers in order to learn and make better processes.

 

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://theshortcut.org/school-of-startups/

https://www.fabricbd.com

What about brick and mortar?

We are living in a world where change is present, and it is forcing many industries to redefine or reshape themselves in the near future. Of all industries retailing as we know it today is for sure facing one of the biggest challenges through its existence. People´s buying behaviour and preferences are rapidly changing and, one of the biggest questions up in the air is what will be the future of brick and mortar stores?

In the Laurea´s Masterclass study unit called Design Thinking facilitated by a quest Professor Katja Tschimmel we familiarised ourselves with the design thinking concept and the Mindshake Innovation and Design Thinking Model called Evolution 62 (E.62). Practical exercises done during the 2 contact session days in September 2018 deepened participants´ understanding of the process and different tools, and it all also expanded my thinking beyond classroom walls. Since the E.62 model and related toolkit were developed in organisational context to promote Design Thinking and to show how Design Thinking tools can be applied in practice, could Design Thinking and its tool pack in general also be used for reshaping retail, more precisely brick and mortar stores?

 

E62 model

Mindshake Innovation and Design Thinking Model (Katja Tschimmel, 2018)

 

In his book called Design Thinking for Strategic Innovation (2013), Idris Mootee offers Design Thinking lens as an approach to various business challenges. He does not stop there but presents a reader a concrete list of design thinking solutions that are matched to specific business challenges. I must say that I am usually little sceptic about these kinds of lists since they tend to oversimplify matters, but in this particular case, I think he managed to make his point clear: business problems can be approached with empathy, creativity, foresight, and last but not least consumer-centricity.

 

The list

Business challenges with matching Desing Thinking Solutions (Idris Mootee 2013)

As I see it, disruption in retail business is mostly due to the fast and dramatic changes in the way individuals nowadays prefer to shop and retail´s inability to adapt to these needs (quick enough). Consumers of today like to play the game with their own rules and they want to decide how, when and where they shop. From retailers´ perspective constantly developing new technologies and all the possibilities they offer to business make everything even more complex and the future is anything but easily predicted. Essentially, it is all about the many individuals with individualistic needs and wants and retailers´ inability to predict the future.

The name of Mindshake E.62 model refers to six Es, six phases, one of which is called Empathy. As mentioned before consumers of today are more individualistic than ever and they like to set the rules, so we should study them and their rules. Empathy phase is all about deep and thorough customer (user) understanding. The E.62 tools that can be used in this phase for gaining the understanding are for example Empathy Map, User Journey Map, Persona Map and Cards (Personas), Field Observation and last but not least Interview. The idea is to be able to step into the customers´ shoes and understanding the wider context. Interview on the other hand, is an efficient tool to discover what people really need and desire. In general, the importance of this phase cannot be overly emphasized: in today´s world it is all about knowing your customer.

Predictability is also one of the business challenges Idris Mootee (2013) describes in his book. He states: “By studying, developing, and visualizing forward-looking scenarios, an organization can equip and prepare itself for tomorrow”. He continues: “Foresight is an iterative and cumulative learning process that employs design thinking tool kit.” In this case, according to him, the tool kit includes Weak Signal Scanning, Weak Signal Processing, Weak Signal Amplification, Context Mapping and Scenario Development.

Earlier in my blog post I criticised Mootee of oversimplifying things, and now I have to admit that I have committed the same crime when categorising all retail under one umbrella. Retailing, of course, encases a huge number of different sectors – grocery, electronics, clothing, home decoration and home furnishing just to mention few – with sector-specific challenges, segmentations, buying preferences and so on, and cannot or should not be treated as one entity. Personally, my passion lies within home furnishing and physical customer experience i.e. in brick and mortar, and I am itching to dig deeper into this topic when I proceed in my Service Innovation and Design studies. Please, stay tuned.

Further reading:
Liedtka, Jeanne. 2018. Why Design Thinking works. Harvard Business Review.
Mootee, Idris. 2013. Design Thinking for Strategic Innovation
Tschimmel, Katja. 2018. E.62 Mindshake – Innovation & Design Thinking Model
Tschimmel, Katja. 2015. Evolution 62 Design Thinking Cards

Designing together

Everyone can – and does – design . — Nigel Cross

Design thinking is a key part of what makes us human. This is how Nigel Cross described human ability and tendency for design back in 2011. The bold statement above is best explained by a few simple examples; design appears in everyday-like situations, by people from any nationality and age, whether that is finetuning a recipe for homemade pizza into a culinary experience that seems to pause time itself (yes, I like pizza) or simply changing the arrangement of your living room furniture.

When it comes to food there are endless ways of innovating and using design thinking, as our instructor for Design Thinking module, Katja Tschimmel, would tell us during our first days in the SID program. Katja used the world-renowned restaurant elBulli as an example and walked us through how elBulli’s head chef Ferran Adriá used design thinking in their creative process which actually lasted almost six months every year, the restaurant being closed during winter.

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image 1. elBulli’s head chef Ferran Adriá in front of design sketches

Teamwork is the main ingredient

ElBulli’s success and groundbreaking dishes weren’t the end results of a “lone genius inventor” as chef Adriá relied on surrounding himself with a team of experts even from outside the culinary world and worked together with industrial designers, artists and computer engineers, besides other chefs of course. They made 5000 experiments to create 125 new dishes a year which indicates failing often and fast would be a routine part of the daily design process. The story of elBulli is quite similar to the one of Thomas Edison, the inventor of the light bulb, who is considered as the creator of team-based approach in innovation. According to Tim Brown (in his 2008 HBR article “Design Thinking”), Edison’s approach was an early example of what is now called “design thinking” – a methodology that imbues the full spectrum of innovation activities with a human-centered design ethos.

Roles and relationships

Working as a member of a team introduces different problems such as conflicts but also opens a lot of possibilities in comparison with working alone. An obvious practical difference is that team members have roles and relationships within the team, some of which can be formally established, such as seniorities in the company hierarchy. Team leaders like Adriá and Edison would appoint team members in particular job roles in the design process. But as Nigel Cross points out, if there are no formal roles appointed, usually informal role-adoption is evident through repeated patterns of behavior. For example, a person that is good at drawing might usually end up using that skillset during the sketching and visualization part of a design process.

Hitting a dead-end

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image 2. Hitting a dead-end. Check out this video about shifting the conversation focus

One clear benefit of designing in a team is that a few bright minds put together usually produce more ideas, and more ideas develop versatility in design concepts which ultimately narrows down to the best solutions for problem-solving. But sometimes during the design process, even a team can hit a dead-end. This is what we, the fresh batch of Laurea SID students, faced during our first sessions in the Design thinking module, fall of 2018. We had proceeded with a design concept and felt it was going in the right direction but suddenly the team ran out of ideas. After a brief moment of silence the conversation shifted off-topic for a while and suddenly a new perspective arose to the entire problem at hand. Finding this detour might have been more difficult when working solo.

Brown suggests design thinkers pose questions and explore constraints in creative ways that proceed in entirely new directions. Our instructor Katja Tschimmel also reminded us that using any design thinking toolset is hardly ever linear. Some steps during the way need more attention by the designers and as Cross concluded, everything about the process can’t be planned. It’s necessary in design also for unplanned, ad hoc exploratory activities when they seem necessary for the design team.

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image 3. Prototype ready for testing

Design thinking and the methodology around it gives us a variety of useful tools for innovation and problem-solving. Whether you’re designing alone or in a team, it seems that the rules (if there are any) can be bent when keeping an eye on the big picture. The big picture at the moment being a good Sunday pizza with paper-thin crust, a homemade tomato sauce, mozzarella and parmesan, pepperoni, red onion, strawberries and rocket, designed by our family design team. This time around the design process was quite straightforward and pleasant as it seems difficult to fail when designing a pizza.
References:

Brown, Tim. 2008. Design Thinking. Harward Business Review.

Cross, Nigel. 2011. Design Thinking – Understanding how designers think and work.

Where is the Groan Zone in Design Thinking?

By Salla Kuuluvainen

Abductive thinking is a skill crucial for Design thinkers. It refers to being able to stay analytical and emphatic, rational and emotional, methodical and intuitive, oriented by plans and constraints, but spontaneous at the same time (Tschimmel 2012,3). We practiced our best capability in abductive thinking in a two-day workshop with Katja Tschimmel, learning a process for Design Thinking called E6 developed in her company Mindshake.

Trust the Process – There Will Be One Solution at the End!

As facilitator I have worked quite a while with enabling better collaboration in teams. In the workshop I paid special attention to the process of divergent and convergent thinking, which is very important in creating new ideas – divergent meaning the space where we create new ideas and convergent the space where we make decisions and prioritize on the ideas. Tim Brown (2009, 68), explains that as design thinker it is important to have the rhythm of divergent and convergent spaces, and with each iteration arrive at a result that is less broad and more detailed than the previous iterations.

I have worked with the Double Diamond process for quite a while, and I was fascinated about the level nuance in the E6 process in regards of convergence and divergence, which in this process were simply not only seen as phases in the process but as qualities of the different tools. I found this approach allowed for a very in-depth process.

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The Classical Double Diamond model – only two iterations with divergence/convergence.

I liked how different forms of prototyping were present in different phases of the process, not only at the end, and how prototyping could also be a generative, divergent tool for expanding on the idea. In our group I noticed very clearly the value of our prototype in not only showcasing the consept, but also in expanding the idea, by working with our hands and thinking at the same time.

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Our first prototype allowed for lots of discussion and expanding on the idea.

Better brainstorming is what every creative team needs

Some more detailed observations in regards to creativity were Katja Tschimmel’s instructions to brainstorming, which I found great. Often the problem with brainstorming is that ideas have a very different level of detail: some are on very high level and vague, others very specific and almost ready concepts.

Often the problem in the Double Diamond method is that we tend to loose the more detailed ideas in the process of clustering ideas under bigger headlines. But in the Mindshake process the vague ideas were developed further and semantically confronted with other ideas to have more detail.

I noticed that we did not end up in the famous Groan Zone, which lies somewhere between the convergent and divergent zones of process, where the group experiences feelings close to despair and has a very hard time finding their way forwards in the process. Even if some facilitators claim that Groan Zone is natural appearance in every process and can indeed produce some of the best solutions, I as facilitator try to minimize it in the processes I facilitate, since I feel that with the right tools the groups can often avoid it.

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I think that the reason why the process felt easy was the fluctuation between divergent and convergent – in most cases people feel at ease on one area of the process but not the other, and now they were allowed to find their comfort zone in many phases of the process.

I still think I have some personal journey ahead to become a full Abductive Design Thinker, but this workshop was a great start on the path of creativity and collaboration.

References:

Brown, T. 2009. Change by Design. New York: Harper Collins Publishers.

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.

Free Design Thinking Models to Help You in Your Project

by Miikka Paakkinen

Design in a business context looks to answer two questions: what problems are your customers facing, and how might we solve those problems while providing the best possible experience? Design thinking models can help you in your quest for the answers. Along the way, they might also assist you in asking better questions and finding the biggest underlying problems worth solving.

In this blog post, I will introduce three design thinking models that offer free toolkits for you to use.

Why does design thinking work?

 

 

Before going to the models though, let’s take a quick look at what design thinking can do for you.

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What makes design thinking so appealing?

by Piia Hanhirova

Inspiration, encouragement and empowerment. In my opinion, those are the most important values and aspects, which design thinking offers, and the reason why it appeals to so many people regardless the field they work in or are busy with. Design thinking underlines the deep understanding of people – their needs, wishes and motivation – and gives voice to users and customers.

This year’s Service Innovation and Design (SID) studies started with Katja Tschimmel from Mindshake. She guided us through the past and the present of design thinking as well as introduced us the various design tools based on the Evolution 6² model.

Evolution 6² model

But most importantly, she simply made us do it, that is, work in multidisciplinary teams and use the design tools in practice. So, our team, coming from different backgrounds with multifaceted experience, moved from divergent to convergent along the way of design thinking process, and worked on tools such as the opportunity mind map, idea hitlist, vision statement, user groups, intent statement, prototype, visual business model etc.

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