“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.
Empathy, experimentalism, optimism, collaboration. These are the characteristics designers have – just to name a few. During the introduction lesson lectured by Katja Tschimmel on 8 – 9 September we took an intensive dip into the world of Design thinking. And instead of just listening and learning we also got our hands on to the desing process and acted on a basis of design thinking – learning by doing. We evoked our inner designers in teams amongst the theme ”Studying a Laurea” and our guide during the project was Tschimmel’s and Mindshake’s EVOLUTION 6² model.
What comes to the characteristics of a designer, here’s my thoughts about them and how we took an advantage of them during the study project.
Empathy – Being a very human-centered and interested in peoples lifestories, to me this is the most inspiring characteristic of a designer. What would be more invigorating than to understand the inner mind of your customer and to create a service that responses to his/her inner needs and desires? In our project we for example interviewed the potential persons from our target group and made customer journey mapping in order to understand better the fictive customer.
Experimentalism – Design thinking releases the acceptance of failures and actually is even provoking to test new ideas and creations in an early stage by prototyping. We didn’t have too much time to prepare our ideas so inevitably we were forced to accept the possibility of a total failure of our ideas. And in addition, we were encouraged to accept the fact that our idea does not work in a real life. And thus we were coached for experimentalism.
Summary: Using a co-creative process, Design Thinking helps organisations to build on unmet user needs and create value from user insights.
Before I started my Service Innovation and Design (SID) studies and went through the Design Thinking masterclass hosted by Professor Katja Tschimmel, I never realised how much published content such as books, reports and essays existed on the subject of Design Thinking (DT).
Design Thinking is a framework for how to come up with ideas – loads of them at the beginning all way until refining and develop to prototype the bests ones. Design Thinking is human-centred and aims to foster creativity and innovation – the principal sources for businesses differentiation and competitive advantages.
Through Mind Mapping we identified opportunities for innovation
Design Thinking is not new, throughout history good designers have applied a human-centric creative process to build meaningful and effective solutions. Perhaps this justifies the big interest from strategists and businesses on the topic and the big demand on articles and methods variations.
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.
I started my studies in Service Design this autumn 2017 and Design Thinking was the very first course I took part in. As there was the word “design” in the course title I was a bit worried about my capabilities to succeed in this. These worries became a reality soon as the course started and I found myself with a pencil in one hand and a Lego dude in the other. Do I really have to draw something? What is this thing with post it –notes? Are we seriously going to play with legos?
Our lecturer Katja Tschimmel gave us a brief introduction to the world of design thinking and how it has evolved during recent years. She also introduced us few models, including her own tool kit Mindshake E.6² that are used in innovative, problem solving processes. According to Tschimmel, even though we are not professional designers, we can adopt certain methods from traditional design processes that can help us solve problems in a creative and innovative way. (And we don’t necessarily need to wear black turtleneck pullover and designer classes.)
As the very first course at Laurea, Katja Tschimmel and Sanna Marttila introduced both the Finnish Service Design and English Service Innovation and Design groups into the secrets of design thinking. My expectation for the course was nothing less than to be able to switch myself into some sort of design thinking mode. That turned out to be more complicated than I expected but the two days and Tim Brown’s article Design Thinking made me conscious of what design thinking and service design might be. I have to admit I was a bit surprised how much academic research has been created around design thinking and service design. I somehow thought that service design is something very practical. Which I guess it can be too. Also the number of tools and methods developed for service design was new to me.