Mikko Jäppinen and Heikki Savonen, service designers from service design company Palmu Inc (along with Pasi Sihvonen from University of Helsinki) presented their latest project: “University of Helsinki, make us simple, please?” in Service design breakfast event in Start-up Sauna in Espoo, Finland.
University of Helsinki: “Make us simple, please?”
University of Helsinki had hired (after a public tender) Palmu to redesign their researchers’ administrative life. Pasi Sihvonen gave some background about the highly bureaucratic world that researchers have to live in order to get everything running. Pasi told that one day less admin work per project comes around 1,5 million euros savings per year. Competition with universities is tough and in order to keep up with the others they decided to start tackling this area.
Heikki Savonen tells in detail what’s happening. Currently they’ve interviewed around 50 researchers, facilitated over 10 workshops. They’ve tried to dig in to deeper to heads of researchers. To see what the problems are – trying to find out what is working and what is not. Profiles have been created to understand behavior of different researchers. “Most challenging work was to get academic to be normal and try out and learn from try outs”, he says. Also communication about the project around the university has been challenging.
Figure 1. How to Fail in Service Design, Palmu 2012
The last Service Design Breakfast was not about digital design, but more human-centric services. Reima Rönnholm started his presentation by asking everyone if they have already failed in anything this week or this day. Failing isn’t really fun, but what can we learn from failing? Reima quoted Steve Blank saying that no business plan survives first contact with a customer. Making mistakes is inevitable and the key is how to do it successfully.
The first successful example of designing a service was service design process of Helsinki Airport. Making the most painful points a pleasant experience and suggesting it to customers as a service, not something they are forced to use. What really make any service are processes, people and customers. Places and materials are always there, but the service is not unless there are people using it. You have to do lots of modeling to make an intangible service concrete. You have to try and make errors to see how to make things work.