Tag Archive | design

Swimming in a Sea of Possibilities – Design Thinking and the Beauty of Teamwork

A two-day course in design thinking taught me that a team is more than a group of people and that in our aim to reach our goals, failure can be a positive thing.

Katja Tschimmel

Katja Tschimmel introducing Laurea students to the fascinating world of design thinking.
Image: Suvi Seikkula.

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Nudging: The Story of How Men Stopped Peeing on Themselves

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.

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Finding my inner designer

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?

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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.)

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From a need to a service – design thinking methods at work

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.

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Can a lawyer learn Design Thinking? The lawyer: “Hold my beer.”

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What IS Design Thinking, really now?

I have never seen myself as having anything to do with design. Me, a public sector senior manager with a law degree, who loves books and exercise – doesn’t really scream design, does it? What I do have is an open mind, which is why I found myself being a fresh Laurea SID student receiving my first introduction to Design Thinking (DT) from Katja Tschimmel, the founder of a Portuguese DT house Mindshake.

What I soon learned is that DT is not something that belongs solely to the design landscape. On the contrary, it is an iterative thinking process that offers the tools used in design, such as visualization and a human-centric approach, to be utilized in other fields like management and marketing. Katja had the perfect storytelling example of this: the Katalonian restaurant elBulli, which the Chef Ferran Adrià turned into an innovation laboratory for creating amazing taste – consequently leading for elBulli to be nominated world’s best restaurant a staggering five times.

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Design thinking: Innovation with creativity and confidence

Getting back to studies after a decade was like, having butterfly effect and feeling equally anxious and excited! Moving ahead with hopes and believes, that this course in Service Design and Innovation will be a serious learning curve for current and future growth in my career path. We jumped into the course of Design Thinking with Katja Tschimmel at Laurea University on 8-9 September, along with many new faces around and hundreds of new thoughts churning in my head.

A course stimulating, creative, full of learning and findings using Design Thinking methodologies – Evolution E6 introduced to us by Katja Tschimmel. We explored this highly complex tool, which usually takes months when practiced professionally,  in just two days. It was an intensive experience of learning with creativity and building confidence among group. Started off with pre preparation to build group spirit and gain understanding of group members by sketching and writing on post-it about each other, soon we realised our group was  – ‘Vegabond Yogi’s’

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The first question arises in the group work was; So what is Design Thinking?

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Think like designer: Trust others and step out of your biases

In design thinking human is always in the center. Having that in the focus of your goals you have a good start as a design thinker. The service innovations meet the needs of people as the result of a cross-discipline approach by co-creating minds. Technology and other resources are enablers to increase people living good life being parts of designed product or service.

Tim Brown points out that integrative thinking leads to going beyond existing models. Fast and rough prototyping leaves room for thought and increases ability to create novelties. Tangible prototype helps the designers and end-users to identify the improvement areas. Or if the model does not serve the purpose at all.

Our two-day design process simulation proved that a heterogenous group of people can create something new. What occurred to me that to be successful you must step out of your biases and try new ideas without self-criticism. Analyzing skills are essential, but during the ideation phase and while constructing the prototype you must find your inner child to be playful and spontaneous. Continue reading