Tag Archive | prototyping

Bench of Awkward Conversations – Global Service Jam 2018

9th to 11th March 2018 teams around the world were jamming it up on six continents on the Global Service Jam.

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In Helsinki, around 30 participants and a mentor/organiser team met up on Friday 9th after a hard week’s work to immerse in a weekend of ideating, prototyping, and having fun. With some intros to the ways of jamming and getting to know our newly-formed teams we dived straight into the process.

Talk about a fuzzy front-end…

IMG_0788 The theme for this year’s Jam, revealed to us in the form of a video, was a little vague and mysterious to say the least. After the initial slight panic and confusion (disclaimer: speaking for myself here only) over the ambiguous theme, we set out for the first ideation session. From there we kept building on the ideas and moved on to grouping the generated post-it storm under a few headlines.

The ideation ran around themes that divide people, ranging from immigration to lonely people’s funerals. Despite, or perhaps because of, the somewhat morbid themes, right from the start our team had a few laughs and it felt surprisingly effortless working together. However a good night’s sleep was definitely necessary, so we had to call it a day to return the next morning.

Dragging a bench down the road

On Saturday morning we continued working on our ideas and moved on to some online and field research. With a strict deadline of having to submit and present a prototype on the following day, we had to move fast. Our idea started to formulate around reducing loneliness, potentially in the context of also facilitating easier immigration. One idea was a physical meeting place, a bench or so, where people previously unknown to each other could meet and have flash cards on funny or easy conversation topics. IMG_0791
Soon we were building our first prototype, The Bench, and taking it to the test – in the process carrying a physical bench from the Think Company to Esplanadi to observe and interview the people who were passing and perhaps connected with it. The results guided us to make some adjustments and modifications, with some more testing and iterating also left for the following day.

As in any old Design process, iteration did take a fair bit of our Jam time. Adjusting our prototype and validating our ideas or letting some go were a central part of the process, and although sometimes hard, it was good practise in letting the testing and users guide the results instead of the ideas of the designers themselves. This seems like a continuous lesson that one can’t think about too much!

Presenting: Bench of Awkward Conversations

IMG_0801On Sunday we kept improving our prototype and preparing for presenting it to the judges. The day ended with each team presenting their idea and prototype, all in their own way clever and unique. The judges’ feedback helped us to finalise our idea and change the ideas’s name back to the original working name, Bench of Awkward Conversations. The feeling at the end of the weekend was that of euphoria and exhaustion. Many left this Jam already looking forward to the next one, me included!

 

The author Kaisla Saastamoinen is a Service Design Masters student with a passion for human-centric design, co-creation, and coffee.

The Course for Human-Centered Design: How Might We Enable More Young People to Become Social Entrepreneurs?

The Course for Human-Centered Design (provided by Ideo.org and +Acumen) is a seven-week curriculum, which introduces the concepts of human-centered design and how this approach can be used to create innovative, effective, and sustainable solutions for social change.  This course has been developed to educate those, who are brand new to human-centered design. No prior experience is required. However, I would recommend this course for anyone looking to improve their human-centered design skills.

What is Human-Centered Design? 

Human-Centered Design (HCD) is a creative approach to solve any kind of problem. The process starts with the people for whom the solution is designed; and ends with e.g. new product or service that is tailor-made to suit these people’s needs. HCD is all about building a deep empathy with the people’s needs and motivations, generating a lot of ideas, creating prototypes, sharing the ideas and solutions with the people; and eventually taking the new innovative solution out in the world. Please see the below video describing the concept of HCD.

Our team and design challenge

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Fastest Prototypers in the West (well, North actually)

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The opportunity to hone my service design skills came again when I signed up for the Fast Prototyping Competition. To be perfectly honest, I didn’t even read the description, I just signed up as I knew that it would be a good experience and a great challenge. Probably because I didn’t read the description, I didn’t realise that it would be a limited event. But with about 20 people attending it was small and highly motivating. The actual name that was given on the day for this event was “Aaltoes-Fjord Service Design Challenge”. There were three guys there from Fjord to help guide us through this process- Juska Teittinen, Mox Soini, and Ville Päivätie.

Fjord’s Process

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We had just 9 hours to do ¾ of a Double Diamond (or 3/5 circles of the Fjord process) and present our work. It was fast prototyping alright! One of the greatest features for me was the fact that we were doing work for a real client. Fjord had come with a big client for the Finnish market to see if we could help them out with their service concepts. We were given the brief of a large travel company in Finland. It has identified 5 market segments and wanted an idea for as many segments as possible. So in this case, there were 4 teams and therefore 4 different segments were used. I really don’t know if we are allowed to share the client’s name, so I will not do that here Continue reading

Travellab: A Creative Concept for Developing Services at Helsinki Airport

Helsinki Airport (picture from Finavia).

Helsinki Airport (picture from Finavia).

 

What could make airport service experience more pleasurable for transfer passengers? Well, you could get some ideas as Kirsikka Vaajakallio and Jaakko Wäänänen from Diagonal, as well as Juha Vasko from Finavia presented their Travellab project at Service Design Breakfast last week. Diagonal’s Travellab is also a candidate for Service Design Achievement 2015 in Finland.

 

 

What Travellab?

Diagonal created the Travellab concept, which is a model for testing ideas at the airport. More precisely it’s a model for rapid prototyping and idea ranking created for Finavia to improve the transfer experience at Helsinki Airport. It’s also a great example of using service design tools and design thinking in a creative way to develop services.

 

Diagonal and Finavia presenting Travellab.

Diagonal and Finavia presenting Travellab.

Background of the project

Starting point for the project was Finavia’s strategy to make the Helsinki airport the most desired transit travel airport and to support this goal the Travellab was created. The project started with a positive problem as Finavia had been gathering service ideas during the years and already had 200+ existing ideas for enhancing the customer experience at the airport. However, some help was needed and the brief for Diagonal was to design a model for Finavia for prototyping and validating ideas in a consistent way. It had to be taken into consideration that transfer passengers spend relatively short amount of time at the airport, approximately 1,5h.

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Behind the scenes – Tools in innovation designers’ sandbox Part 5/5

Anyone can be a designer with the right mindset. Source: http://vhirsch.com/blog/2010/06/14/people-centric-design-rules/

Anyone can be a designer with the right mindset. Source: http://vhirsch.com/blog/2010/06/14/people-centric-design-rules/

Multidisciplinary teamworksimple but effective toolsvirtual workvisualization, prototyping, design thinking… There are tons of different tools designers can use in their work.

This is my final blog post about the designer tools our innovation team uses in our everyday work here at the UNICEF Headquarters in New York. This time I’ll introduce two projects relating to Design Thinking and discuss how this discipline has helped us to approach things from new angles and to perceive projects from the user’s perspective. Designing with the user is possibly the most crucial part of design and prerequisite for successful solutions.

I hope you have enjoyed reading about our way of working and that my posts have provided you with inspiration for your own work.

Global Design for UNICEF Challenge encourages students to design solutions that fit the problem context. 5 Why’s is one of the Design Thinking tools included in the competition curriculum. Photo credit: Erika Pursiainen, Innovation Unit, UNICEF NYHQ

Global Design for UNICEF Challenge encourages students to design solutions that fit the problem context. 5 Why’s is one of the Design Thinking tools included in the competition curriculum. Photo credit: Erika Pursiainen, Innovation Unit, UNICEF NYHQ

Design Thinking helps students approaching difficult challenges

Norah Maki, our Project Assistant, is also an MFA (Master of Fine Arts) candidate in the Design for Social Innovation Program at School of Visual Arts. Because of her background she pursues design thinking in her work.

Her main project is the Global Design for UNICEF Challenge, an academic partnership and design competition that engages students in coming up with creative solutions for pressing development problems. This year the Challenge is being scaled to include new universities outside The US, beyond The City University of New York (CUNY) that has served as the flagship partner for the competition.

In the process of moving towards the global Challenge, Norah has developed the competition curriculum and provided the students with more design thinking tools. This enables them to approach the challenges from the user’s perspective and to design feasible solutions that fit the problem context. The competition process now includes the following tools to encourage creative thinking from students and help them accomplish all competition checkpoints: User Journey, 5 Why’s, Stakeholder Mapping, co-creation, and consultation with experts. The winners will have the chance to go to the field to test their prototypes and do some actual co-creation with the users: the children!

Tile game pushes people to think beyond current frameworks

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Behind the scenes – Tools in innovation designers’ sandbox Part 4/5

2013, New York, The US. 3D printing at New York University. Photo credit: Erika Pursiainen, Innovation Unit, UNICEF NYHQ

2013, New York, The US. 3D printing at New York University. Photo credit: Erika Pursiainen, Innovation Unit, UNICEF NYHQ

The New York University (NYU) students I referred to in my last blog post about virtual work were asked to prepare a 1-minute video to communicate their ideas for the next class. There are so many ways to visualize projects and their components that I can only just begin to grasp the subject in this post. I will now introduce 3D printing and share four data visualization tips from our Design Lead. Nevertheless, I hope this article gives you some interesting ideas to visualize different types of data and processes.

3D printing for prototyping

I guess I had heard about 3D printing before but I didn’t really recognize what it was until here in New York. While preparing a post for our blog I was browsing through our photo database and came across a photo of Chris (Fabian, UNICEF Innovation Unit Co-Lead) throwing in a 3D-printed item he had received from Singularity University up in the air. From that point on I wanted to see a 3D printer because it seemed more like a tool from science fiction movies than a machine invented in the 1980’s. Later on I learned that 3D printers come in many different shapes and sizes.

2013, New York, The US. Chris’ 3D-printed item he got from Singularity University. Photo credit: Erika Pursiainen, Innovation Unit, UNICEF NYHQ

2013, New York, The US. Chris’ 3D-printed item he got from Singularity University. Photo credit: Erika Pursiainen, Innovation Unit, UNICEF NYHQ

From what I know, 3D printing is used at least in our Innovation Lab in Uganda. Also, the Design for UNICEF student team developing modular drones have used 3D printing within their design process. Recently, we got a 3D printer to the New York office: the 3Doodler. Some team members tested it and made cool Christmas trees. All I was able to make was a weird white ball of string (it was supposed to be a snowman). I guess it’s a good tool after some practice.

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How to be a good designer

You need to have the right mindset

Nigel Cross, Emeritus Professor of Design Studies in the UK describes in his book Design Thinking (2011) successful designers as optimists and opportunists, who are exploring uncertainty hopefully and dedicated to the tasks in hand. Unlike engineers who want to test, measure and prove something, designers cope with this uncertainty by analogy-making and intuitive judgements. They also use ethnographic approach in order to dig up tacit knowledge and make new hypothesis of future situation of use.

Cross compared designing to sharing a social process of interaction and to a face-to-face negotiation between different participants of the process. To make a proposal for a solution designers use a wide range of designing techniques, such as sketching, prototyping, mock-ups and scenarios. A successful designer cannot work alone in his studio; being an innovative designer requires capacity to work with a small team that shares the same passion to creative thinking and that is also capable of broad system thinking.

You need to go beneath the surface

Tim Brown, CEO and president of IDEO, an innovation and design firm, points out in his article Design Thinking (2008) that designers have a new role at strategic level in service delivery. He continues that design thinking can radically renew health care services, for instance. Rather than sudden breakthrough, a service innovation process is a systematic creative human-centered process followed by iterative cycles of prototyping and testing. It is hard work at customer interface, not only designing more attractive products, advertising or communication strategies.

You need to have right tools and process

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