Tag Archive | Forth

Collectively ‘Thinking Design’

..my experience..
Starting studies after a decade…years of work life and now back again to a student life!

Was not sure what to expect and get from the SID master’s program starting on the morning of 4th September 2015 with ‘Design Thinking’

A very exciting day to begin, students around full of inspiration, motivated, energized and from various backgrounds. Getting to know and learn from each other all about the concept of Design Thinking was the essence of the two-day workshop held by guest lecturers Katja Tschimmel and Mariana Valença.

An interesting ice breaker for the team was the ‘mind shake warm-up’ and ‘who is who’ activities. Learnt a lot of new things not only on the subject but also about other students as well as myself! That’s when I realized that it is going to be an exciting learning journey ahead!

 Mind Shake game

Ice breaker – Mind Shake game

 who is who

Group exercise – who is who

..my knowledge..
Why design thinking?

Design Thinking is a way of thinking which leads to transformation, evolution and innovation. Tschimmel, K. (2012) it is human-centric approach which starts with observing people in their natural surroundings, helps to understand customer’s actual needs and create business that taps into their existing behavior. This way customers are much more likely to relate to the new business.

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You cannot innovate alone!

Picture by Leena Salo

You’ve got a great idea, now what? How to get innovation off the ground in your company?


“You can invent alone, but you can’t innovated alone.”

– Gijs van Wulfen


In the first course of our Service Innovation and Design studies we got to tackle the fascinating subject Design Thinking in an innovation process. In class we developed a new idea to enhance learning at Laurea in groups of 4 or 5 people.


Not only did we get a great exercise in team work, but also learned to use different DT tools such as interviews and observations techniques, brainstorming and brainwriting, mind maps and rapid prototyping, which are introduced in Katja Tschimmel’s article “Design Thinking as an Effective Toolkit for Innovation”. In the end we got a chance to present our new service concept to Laurea faculty members.


I found the DL toolkit and The FORTH method of Gijs van Wulfen very useful and interesting considering my own work and projects in the company I work for. FORTH is an innovation method for creating new concepts. The chapter titled “Raise Ideas” explains how to develop great ideas and get internal support for them inside your company.


Why do great ideas fail?

Picture from The Innovation Expedition by Gijs Van Wulfen

“What’s the use of brilliant ideas if there’s no support within the organization?”

– Gijs van Wulfen


Van Wulfen begins his book with words: “innovation is highly relevant to every organization. Yet, eighty percent of innovation projects never reach the market.” Everything might be working for you: it’s the right time to innovate, you are prepared and know the purpose and direction of the innovation, but still the project fails. Why?


Often this is due to the lack of support from the management. You might not receive resources to complete your project or the management might not get behind the idea and rejected it. It is impossible to innovate alone in an organization! A great idea needs to be bought by – not only the public – but management, colleagues and employees of your own company as well. Your vision needs to be shared by everyone in your organization for it to be successful and the idea to come into fruition.

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Energized by Design Thinking

Evening after the final contact session of Design Thinking course ended at Laurea, we made a family visit to our friends. Right from the door, they asked about my studies and that pretty much set the course of the evening. Eager to share the experience, I started telling about Laurea environment and learning principles, new colleagues I got to know, and especially about the content of Design Thinking course by Prof. Katja Tschimmel and Gijs Van Wulfen.  I was so highly energized talking about design thinking and innovation process, tools and practical exercises that my wife commented that she didn’t remember me being so passionate about particular topic for very long time. That made me to stop for a moment, asking myself what actually happened to make me feel like that.

Ever since, attempts to answer that question have only opened new ones as I entered the exciting journey through Design Thinking. This article is my reflection on couple of “energy sources” found along the way, rooted in fascinating perspective of changing landscape of business, culture and society.

The Purpose

Traditional purpose of business – to make money, focuses companies to maximize short term profits and delivers returns to shareholders. Great companies, however, believe that the business is inherent part of society as they, being so powerful, effectively shape the lives of their employees, partners and consumers. In those companies, people and society are not afterthoughts or inputs to be considered and discarded but the core to their purpose. (How Great Companies Think Differently by Rosabeth Moss Kanter, Harvard Business Review).

Design thinking is the collaborative process by which the designer’s sensibilities and methods are used to match people’s needs, not only with what is technically feasible and viable business strategy, but what generates social value. It is new powerful and effective approach applicable in different domains that enables non-designers, individuals and teams, to produce breakthrough innovations (Change by Design by Tim Brown). As such, design thinking in now becoming a new competitive advantage.

The Way to Do It

FORTH innovation method

FORTH innovation method

Continuous improvement as commonly practiced in organizations is not enough to ensure competitiveness in the future. For that, companies need to establish systematic innovation process.

One approach is FORTH – innovation method by Gijs van Wulfen. FORT consists of 5 stages which organization can complete in 15 weeks ideating several innovative products or services. It starts with out-of-the-box thinking. First by setting the focus, then continuing with observing and learning about customers’ needs and innovation opportunities, and finally coming to the point of raising and testing ideas. It ends with “home coming” or putting it back to the box in a form of new mini business cases to enable decision making for the implementation.

FORTH comes accompanied with comprehensive set of design thinking tools meant to free and speed up thinking process and ensure more effective interaction with stakeholders (Design Thinking as an effective Toolkit for Innovation by Katja Tschimmel).

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Failures are possibilities

Me and 27 other students were privileged to start the Service Innovation and Design Master’s program last September in Laurea University of Applied Sciences. Our first course was about Design Thinking held by Katja Tschimmel a Design professor and an entrepreneur, and Gijs van Wulfen the writer of the excellent book “The Innovation Expedition”.


How many things can you come up doing with a pencil? Be creative!

“The understanding and acceptance that failure and mistakes are important elements of Design Thinking, differentiates Design Thinking from the traditional way of thinking in business. Dealing with incomplete information, with the unpredictable, and with ambiguous situations, requires designers to feel comfortable with uncertainty (Pombo & Tschimmel, 2005).” writes Katja Tshimmel in her paper “Design Thinking as an effective Toolkit for Innovation”. This is where my journey to become a professional in Service Innovation and Design starts.


Quantity is better than quality! Have at least seven ideas because in average one out of seven ideas will succeed.

Immediately after reading Katja Tshimmels paper I felt relieved. In Design Thinking (DT) it is allowed to make mistakes, how great is that! The main purpose of Design Thinking is to offer effective different kinds of toolkits for any innovation processes, you just need to find the perfect tools for you. In her paper Tshimmel introduces five different Design Thinking models that help implementing the structure of Design Thinking. The models have a lot in common and their main goal is to offer tools for finding solutions to existing problems.

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