Tag Archive | laurea

Can Design Thinking Provide the Breakthroughs We Need to Reduce Global Poverty and Domestic Violence?

 

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Woman cooking next to the port and market in Cotonou, Benin [Image (c) Jeffrey Allen]

By Jeffrey Allen

25 Sep, LONDON – For the past seven years, I’ve designed and managed projects to improve lives in developing countries, focusing on education, health, good governance, human rights, agriculture, employment, the environment… everything that impacts people’s quality of life. It’s a wildly complex field, where managers have to understand business, sociology, communications, technology, innovation, politics, psychology, and more if they’re going to be successful.

I spent the first several years just getting my head around the basics, learning on the job, by trial and error, and by soaking up what I could from those around me. Before starting the job, I had observed international development work – mostly from the outside – for more than six years as a journalist remixing stories published by organizations working in the field. Looking on through my outsider’s lens, I was consistently impressed by the work development practitioners did every day to make lives better and open opportunities for billions of people in difficult circumstances across the globe. Continue reading

Unleash Your Inner Beast

Be empathetic, gather courage and nurture creativity to make Breakthroughs.

I would like to Thank our energetic lecturer Katja Tschimmel for sharing her knowledge and experiences on Design Thinking. Thank to Virpi Kaartti for providing great support during the Study and Thank to all my fellow students for such an amazing ongoing experience. 

This blog is covering two parts. 1) My perspective and highlight on Design Thinking and Innovation 2) Learning during Laurea contact sessions.

 

My perspective and highlight on Design Thinking and Innovation

 

I have gained a little insight about the potential of Design Thinking and how design thinking approach can lead to create innovations to improve existing conditions and make impact.

I can already feel that Design Thinking is slowly transforming my approach towards solving problems and my realization that empathy is so much central towards design thinking.

Design Thinking is powerful, a great methodology which provides framework for understanding empathy, nurturing creativity and using early prototyping towards breakthrough innovations.

Also, keeping an open mindset to grow and learn at the same time paves the way to unleash our true unknown potential, including creativity hidden among all of us.

Here, I would like to emphasize and highlight on key aspects of Design Thinking.

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Getting in the mood for Design Thinking

As far as Design Thinking goes, I must confess to being quite the “newbie”. Having only recently been enlightened to the magical world of service design, innovation and co-creation, I was excited to learn of the many different models that the design thinking world has to offer.

Katja Tschimmel describes the similarities and differences of the models in both her article “Design Thinking as an effective Toolkit for Innovation” as well as in the research report D-think. These include IDEO’s 3 I model (Inspiration, Ideation, Implementation), IDEO’s HCD model (human-centred design, Hearing, Creating, Delivering), the models of the d.school (Hasso-Plattner Institute and Stanford University), the Double-Diamond model of the British Council, and the DT toolkit for Educators. Mindshake’s E6 model was also introduced, and I got the opportunity to try it out myself during the course.file-25-09-16-17-59-47-1

During the class sessions, I got a glimpse of how the design thinking process could be applied to solve student-related issues. There was no lack of empathy during this task, as we all dived into tackling issues concerning thesis stress, time-management issues and networking needs.  We grouped ourselves into small multidisciplinary teams, and our team went through a the Design Thinking process to come up with our final conclusion; a service called “Matchup”. It was a service to tackle the issue of networking within our SID group.  The idea actually won!

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Design thinking – Childs play provides competitive advantage

Really?

Really?

What’s this all about?

“You have got to be kidding me”, were my initial thoughts when I saw the boxes of Legos brought to the class room. It was 4th of September and the first contact lesson for the Design thinking course was about to begin.

For someone with a background strictly from sales and business management the whole idea of using this almost chaos like approach, as it seemed to me at first, in order to reveal ideas that lead to evolution and innovation or even new ways of managing business appeared impossible. But sure enough there was a method to this madness.

Using mind maps to identify opportunities!

Using mind maps to identify opportunities!

Convergent and divergent thinking

The object of the next two days would be to familiarize ourselves with the process of design thinking. Our instructor for the course Katja Tschimmel gave us a quick introduction to the evolution of design thinking after which she took us through the six phases of the Mindshake design thinking model. I didn’t take too long for me to start realizing the reason why design thinking has allowed numerous startups to shake the foundations of traditional businesses by the use of design.

We began with the divergent phase of the process where we used numerous tools to come up with new options, we used mind maps to identify possible new service or product opportunities and identified the involved groups of people for the project by the use of a shareholder map followed by intensive idea generation session by the use of brain writing.   After the divergent phase it came time to eliminate the options and make choices. Katja introduced us to new tools such as insight clustering to do this convergent phase as well.

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Better service for elderly people – Global Service Jam 2015 challenge

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The Global Service Jam is a non-profit volunteer event organized by an informal network of service design enthusiasts. The Jam has a staff of none and a budget of nearly nothing. Amazing! I heard about the Jam when I started my MBA studies in Services Innovation and Design Programme at Laurea University of Applied Sciences. And in 2015 I was able to join this inspiring activity!

The secret theme was revealed globally on Friday Feb 27 at 6.30pm (local time)… The ideation began immediately and the theme was.. not known!  See the starting video here. For me it took some time to realize that we don’t actually have a theme. We were divided in groups. Members of each group got empty A4 papers, one for each person. Then you were asked to fold up the paper to 8 segments and to write one challenge to every segment. When that was done, you handed over your ideas to a person next to you. Everyone shared three stars for the ideas on the paper and handed the paper over again to the next person.. That continued until you got your own paper back, and shared three stars to your own ideas. It was possible to give all the stars to one idea, or share the three stars between the eight ideas. Finally, we counted the stars given to each challenge and picked up the ideas with the most of stars. We grouped those ideas and decided what the challenge we want to get grips with is.

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The focus of Global Service Jam this year was on prototyping and a key jam philosophy was “doing, not talking”. Global Service Jam lasted 48 hours and it is a long time to do team work. If we noticed that we are stuck and the planning is not going forward, we took the main philosophy do, not talk into the use again. We concentrated more on doing, and suddenly noticed that our project work started to be productive again.

Our team was interested in studying services available for elderly people in Finland. These days all the services go online and many aged persons don’t know how to use computers. Loneliness is also a growing problem among older people. Personal contacts get limited in this online world.

Our team consisted of four persons. Marja is Finnish, I’m also Finnish. Ecaterina (Cathy) was from Romania and Catherine from Kenya. We decided to study user experiences, so went to Leppävaara Espoo to interview people on the street. Catherine and I were a pair, and Marja and Cathy another pair. We discussed with people about this topic and it was interesting to notice that people were willing to talk – even in Finland, where people don’t normally open up to strangers on the street. This also showed how important this topic was. Younger people talked about their grandparents who need help with online services. Middle-aged people discussed about their parents, and of course we talked with elderly people as well.

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What we learnt: We found out that people over 70 don’t typically use computers, and they don’t even want to learn. Sometimes children and/or grandchildren help but they may live far way. Companies and supervisors (so-called trustees) are not trusteed. Elderly people believed that banks will offer services for them in the future too, but personal services get more expensive all the time. Trustworthy parties are libraries, banks and public service points (yhteispalvelupiste in Finnish). Major problem is that all the gadgets like mobile phones get more technical year by year. Devices get smaller. If you call for example to a health care service number, and an answerphone asks you to press number one and then a # key, that can be difficult if you don’t see well, or you cannot hear well.

We created a persona, Annikki 80 years old, who was a person we wanted to plan for.

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And empathy map helped us to develop a service concept further.

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I want to thank mentors who volunteered to help teams in a service development work. All you needed to do was to press the rubber chicken and the help was there.

In case of emergency

Based on the feedback we received by interviews, we started to plan a new service for elderly people. The idea was to found a Café Safe Haven that provides needed services in a cozy and home-like environment. It would be a place to meet people, to remove loneliness, and to solve every day problems in a secure environment (next to the familiar place like a library). We built a prototype of the café and filmed a customer journey video for our final presentation that took place on Sunday Feb 29.

Video:

The services could be refunded by government or RAY (Finnish Slot Machine Association that does charity). And members could afford to pay a small membership fee with the money they save when they don’t need to pay expensive service fees for banks anymore.

It was educational and also fun to create a totally new service in 48 hours’ timeframe. I definitely courage everyone interested in Services Design to take a chance to participate in next Global Service Jam! It is worth it! Trust me.

Anne Hirvonen, 1st year student in SID program, Laurea University of Applied Sciences

References

Global Service Jam: http://planet.globalservicejam.org/
GovJam: https://www.facebook.com/HelsinkiServiceJam

Do Your Service Speak Different Cultures ?

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Figure 1 – Multicultural faces, source: http://geoffallan.blogspot.com/2009_04_01_archive.html

 

Hello, Culture!

The cross-cultural issues in service was my first elective course with in my Service Innovation & Design MBA study; with the expectations set to provide a better understanding to cross cultural aspects of service design, and I wasn’t mistaken at all!

Coming from an background where I have lived in four countries before, visited dozen in my business and leisure trips and worked with most of the nationalities in the world in my professional life, I thought I had that good cosmopolitan mind-set that will help me to better tackle service design issues with different people coming from different background. But as I have over gone my studies in the course, I have found that cultural understanding does not come from only dealing with people from different cultures, it comes from deeply understanding the one own culture and what are the real values a person is believing in first, then trying to understand both the underground and surface levels of what others value and finding a common ground where the two cultures can meet with the minimum collision(s) possible.

Service design is all about human centered design and the human understanding, where a service is tailored to satisfy the real needs of certain stakeholder or stakeholders. But as we humans vary in our own cultures and with the global environment we are living in, Its important to understand how services can fit to match a different cultural groups and how it can be tailored to respect the values that a group of customers belief in, in a way that make the service more relevant, homecoming and familiar.

Meet… Richard Lewis!

For that, a lot of discussion has been done on what is really the definition of a culture and what does it stands for. Based on the cultural framework that I had studied which is the Richard Lewis cultural framework, Richard Lewis has drawn what is his interpretation of a culture as follows: Continue reading

The amazing journey started

A new journey started on 12 September 2013!

It won’t be a lonely journey as we have a great crew with different backgrounds and stories. It was really nice to meet my classmates and start the program together. We come from different countries and work in different industries. I believe that it will be very interesting as we can share different experiences and knowledge in the class. What I can learn won’t only come from books but also from everyone in the classroom.

The first three days were full of surprise. We got to know each other by doing team work and playing games. It was good to hear the stories from graduates. It gave us a basic idea of the possible paths in the program. The practical exercises were my favorite parts as I was able to work with my teammates and create our ideas together.

Personally, the most important thing that I learned from the practical exercises was the process of how to find out potential opportunities, create ideas, implement ideas and make it happen in the business world. Each step in the process was so important and quite different than what I had thought before. The creation of a service was much more complicated and logical than what I understood in the past. The process of creating a service was quite useful even for other creations in the life. I was really inspired by learning the process. I felt that I started to have a design thinking approach.

I also learned that never ignore any crazy ideas. I noticed that I might have missed many good ideas which flashed quickly in my mind before. Sometimes what you wrote on the paper was much less than what you thought in your mind. In this situation, many good ideas just flied away and you didn’t notice them at all.

After the first three days study, I am quite sure now that I have selected the right program for myself.

Bring your toolkit on the journey

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