Tag Archive | Palmu

AI and Service Design

Picture by Franki Chamaki

What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of AI?

Robots? Data breach? Self-driving cars?

There are as many thoughts about AI as there are definitions. It really depends on who you ask. However, in this blog I won’t go over what it is or isn’t but rather how we as designers can influence its use for better or worse.

So is AI an opportunity or a threat?

I’d like to think it’s more of an opportunity but with that comes great responsibility. How so? I will get to that a bit later…

How to Service Design AI

On Thursday 21st of November I took part in the Ompeluseuran palvelumuotoilijat event on “How to Service Design AI” hosted by Solita x Palmu where I got a lot of food for thought about AI. Anna Metsäranta, Data-Driven Business Designer, talked about why 85% of the AI projects fail business wise and Anni Ojajärvi, Ethnographer, Business Design and Strategy, discussed the ethics of AI and how AI can influence human behavior and everyday life. Here are my key take a ways from the event:

The Recipe for a Successful AI Project

Picture from Solita x Palmu “How to Service Design AI” event
  1. AI is just a tool. Humans must define the problem as well as the outcome. The more concrete the better.
  2. We as designers need to be part of AI development projects in order to bring the human aspect to the equation. It is important that we validate along the way that the project is going towards the right direction.
  3. Your solution is only as good as your data. Case in point Amazon’s now scrapped recruiting tool that showed bias against women. The recruiting tool used application data from a 10 year period, mostly made up of male applicants’ resumes due to the male dominance in the technology industry.  “In effect, Amazon’s system taught itself that male candidates were preferable.” (Dastin, 2018).
  4. Developing AI is not just a one of thing. AI needs to be constantly trained and the results validated.

WEIRD People Define the Ethics of AI

Picture from Solita x Palmu “How to Service Design AI” event

AI is for the most part developed by WEIRD people. That is Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich and Democratic people that make up only 10 to 15% of the world population. Thus, as my final question I leave you this: How can we make this WEIRD situation into a GREAT one? That is Global, Representative, Equal, Accurate and Tolerant.  As I mentioned earlier with opportunity comes great responsibility and it is up to us designers to think of the direct and indirect impact that our design and solutions have on the customer, context, community, employee/process, society and environment.

Written by Lyydia Pertovaara





Dastin, J. (2018). Amazon scraps secret AI recruiting tool that showed bias against women. [online] U.S. Available at: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-amazon-com-jobs-automation-insight/amazon-scraps-secret-ai-recruiting-tool-that-showed-bias-against-women-idUSKCN1MK08G.

Service Design Achievement Award

I participated in the first Service Design Achievement Award seminar on 22nd of January which was hosted by Katri Ojasalo from Laurea and Håkan Mitts from Aalto. The event took place at Aalto Design Factory. Five Finnish service design agencies participanted in the competition, and they had presented their best projects in the last fall’s Service Design Breakfast seminars. The agencies were Palmu, Reaktor, User Intelligence, N2 Nolla and Diagonal.

Of course the main thing in this event was the announcement of the winner of the Service Design Achievement of Year, but before that we got to enjoy some interesting presentations.

The theme for the day was designing and developing better services – a buyer’s guide. For me this was very interesting because we have just talked with our SID 2013 group about how to sell service design for our employers and for some of us for their clients, and on the other hand I was interested in the buyers view on behalf of my work.

Anton Schubert

Anton Schubert

One common topic for the discussion was that service design is not really anymore just design but it is combination of design, marketing, technical and business competences. Like Anton Schubert from Futurice introduced to us that in the future service design agencies should have competences from each of these areas in their teams to really create value for the end users. He also said that agencies will provide more “full house” services for their clients. Jasmin Honkanen from Turku School of Economics introduced her findings from her Master thesis with the topic “Why are companies buying service design?”, and also she had found out that it is really important to combine service design and business in the future.

Continue reading

Make us simple, please

sdb_blog_1When you have an organization with 11 faculties with 24 departments, 8500 employees, 35000 students, 137 IT-systems and a very long history of academic independence, what do you do when they ask you to make them simple?

Service design agency Palmu faced this assignment and shared their story of a service design project with the University of Helsinki over a cup of coffee at Service Design Breakfast.

It was great to hear that the University of Helsinki acknowledges the obstacles of sdb_blog_2it’s highly complex organization and sees a need to transform the fragmented landscape of its services into a holistic view. But anyone familiar with the university world knows that the task is vast, to say the least.

Palmu started from within. Their aim was not so much to design the services for the organization but to help service professionals in University of Helsinki to adapt their service design model. This is without doubt the most efficient way to conduct such an enormous change, but probably also the most challenging one.

The world of academia is known for its ability to create new pieces of information and new metrics and emphasize the importance of specialization and training, whereas design thinking is all about holistic approach, simplicity, co-creation, learning by doing and sharing real-time information.

sdb_blog_1As Heikki Savonen, service designer at Palmu, noted, design thinking means changing individuals. Setting their initial focus on services for researchers needed during the research projects, Palmu team had already conducted several workshops and managed to infect over 100 university employees with design thinking mentality. But I couldn’t help wondering how do you involve the rest of them, the remaining 8400 employees? Even broadly conducted processes don’t meet the needs of change communication.

sdb_blog_3University and Palmu used a blog as their primary communication method. As Head of Development at Administrative Services Kari Huittinen explained to me after the presentation, they used a variety of other communication pathways, too, such as employee magazine, news at intranet, bulletins via e-mail and presentations of the project in several events. But the gospel of co-creation competed with many other issues an organization that big would have to communicate. It certainly didn’t reach the level of communication: the blog had only a few comments, most of the – positive and encouraging –feedback coming via email straight to the members of the project team.

It became clear to the participants of this project already at an early stage that changing the course of such a large cruise ship takes times and patience. The job will not be done overnight, probably not even in a year. However, the seed of change has been cultivated. Maybe a well-thought communication strategy is the fertilizer the simplification project needs to grow into its full bloom?

The slides and video of this Service Design Breakfast are here.

Written by Ida Rainio, content designer and first-year SID student.