Tag Archive | prototyping

Is Design Thinking a magical cure-all?

Change as a Challenge

The internet and with it the digitization and growing technological achievements are changing our world. Of course, change is nothing new; industries and companies have to face change every day through competition and innovation. Mootee describes, all companies must endure change to survive or grow (Mootee, 2013, p.124), but the change we’ve been experiencing for a while now, is particularly fast and influential. We are living in an age where change is reshaping industries and categories (Mootee, 2013, p.124) with great impact, bringing opportunities that we can exploit for growth, but also risks that can lead to an existential threat if we are not sensing it early enough and respond to it properly.

Change brings chances by Bento Orlando

Change is not the problem, but the challenge businesses have to overcome. The problem or danger, like Mootee describes it, lies in applying theories and practices based on outdated models of two or three decades ago (Mootee, 2013, p.99). As these practices and theories are outdated, they often cannot provide an adequate response to today’s challenges. More than 80 percent of our management tools, systems, and techniques are for value-capture efforts, not for value creation; (Mootee, 2013, p.75). This is a problem if a business wants to compete with other companies who can create and offer new values, which are requested by customers in this new landscape.

Design Thinking as a Solution

Design thinking is an approach everybody can use, to find a proper response with new alternatives and ideas we need (Brown, 2009) to create new values. Because design thinking is promising, some business leaders gazing hopefully towards design thinking as the next management “wonder drug” (Mootee, 2013, p.35). The hope of helping one’s own business to new heights with this seemingly playful approach is tempting. But the hype surrounding design thinking makes some people overlook the fact that this approach is not just hanging sticky notes to fancy walls in colorful spaces. Design thinking’s association with or applications in business is often way oversimplified (Mootee, 2013, p.54) and that can raise false hopes. Business leaders must understand the context before designing and implementing any change program (Mootee, 2013, p.124) and this is an important part of design thinking.

Essential parts of Design Thinking in E.62 design by Mindshake

To learn design thinking properly it is useful to participate in a design thinking workshop as I did during my design thinking class at Laurea University. Katja Tschimmel, who is a design thinking coach taught us various models and tools, which we were able to put into practice together in groups. Using the methods with divergent and convergent phases was important because a big part of design thinking is design doing (Mootee, 2013, p.80). It is a process where you learn in collaboration with the others and like Katja Tschimmel said you copy and adapt and adaption is necessary in times of change.

Katja Tschimmels Design Thinking class

My Experience with Design Thinking

As a designer who has been working in this field for almost 4 years, design thinking is not something new. I know the advantages of including customers in the process or methods like prototyping. I didn’t expect to hear much new, but as a designer, you still can have eye-opening moments while learning about design thinking. The course broadened my perspective, reminded me of things that had already faded into my subconscious and sharpened my terminology and methodology.

A Valuable Practice

Design thinking is far from a magical cure-all (Mootee, 2013, p.35), but a valuable practice to sense change, to find opposing ideas and constraints who lead to new solutions (Brown, 2009, 4:00)redefined values up to new business models. It is an approach that can replace outdated practices and theories to face today’s challenges properly.

Author: Bento Orlando Haridas – September 2019

References

  • Mootee, I. 2013. Design Thinking for Strategic Innovation: What They Can’t Teach You at Business or Design School: Wiley.
  • Brown, T. 2008. Design Thinking: Thinking like a designer can transform the way you develop products, services, processes – and even strategy.: Harvard Business Review
  • Tim Brown. 2009. Design Thinking: TED Talk. https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=3&v=J0ZbVAQ8bWI

Design Thinking – the bridge between the problem and solution

I had a chance to attend a two-day intensive course called `Unlocking the Secrets of Service Design´ offered by CityDrivers. The trainers were Dr. Niels Billou and Adil Mansouri who are experts on Design Thinking and innovation. Both trainers created very energetic and enthusiastic environment that helped us, participants, to get excited about the two-day intensive course.

Trainers: Dr. Niels Billou and Adil Mansouri

During these two days Niels and Adil introduced the principles, practices and the process of Design Thinking and methodology of Service Design. I have some experience about Service Design and Design Thinking from my Service Innovation and Design studies in Laurea. By taking the two-day course, my goal was to learn new tools and methods that I haven’t used before and to know how I can apply these to my future projects. Here are my key take-aways from the days.

Day 1 – Introduction and understanding the customer

The first day gave an overview of Service Design and Design Thinking. After an interactive lecture all the participants rolled their sleeves and started working with the case assignment and exploring the first parts of the Design Thinking process – understanding the customer, collecting and analysing the interview data.

What is Design Thinking?

“Design thinking is a human-centered approach to innovation that draws from the designer’s toolkit to integrate the needs of people, the possibilities of technology, and the requirements for business success.”
— Tim Brown, CEO of IDEO

 

DT

Billou introduced few different definitions for Design Thinking. In my opinion the most descriptive definition for Design Thinking is from Tim Brown. According to Brown´s quotation Design Thinking helps to make decisions based on what customers want. And when using tools from designer´s toolkit, like applying experimentation and empathy that helps to create innovative solutions to problems.

Trainers introduced a Stanford D. School Design Thinking model that consists of five stages: Understand, Observe, Define Point of View, Ideate, Prototype and Test.

DT processStanford D. School Design Thinking model

During my studies I have noticed the stages of different Design Thinking process models are actually quite the same – only the titles and amount of stages vary. Earlier I have been using only the Double Diamond Design Thinking process, since I know the stages and it is familiar to me. So now I was excited to get to know a new process I haven´t used before.

Power of Empathy

Empathy is all about understanding the people. First phase of the Design Thinking process is to understand the customer. Adil talked about the power of empathy and how important it is to step into customer´s shoes. In this part of the process the data reveals underlying needs of the customer. The trainers introduced few effective tools for this data gathering part:

  • In-depth interviews – help researchers to learn more about a person’s experiences, processes, attitude, problems, needs, pains and ideas.
  • Empathy map – represents a customer’s actions and a mind-set. Interview guide can be adjusted into an empathy map and cover what the customer “Think”, “Feel”, “Say” and “Do”.

 

After an interactive lecture the participants were divided in multidisciplinary teams. Trainers pointed out the importance of cross functional teams – it is vital to have people from different backgrounds who co-create innovative solutions together. My group got a design challenge to redesign the workday lunch experience and encourage people into sustainable eating habits.

Our first step was to go out and interview people regarding their lunch experience. We made an interview guide for the interview – one was interviewing and the other took notes. I have been interviewing people before but I haven´t been using empathy map template. I noticed it helped to sum up the findings and catch a deeper insights from the interviewees such as what the user was saying, doing, thinking and feeling. In my opinion this tool works especially well in mini-interviews when having only 30-60 minutes to do the interviews.

Data visualization leads to insights

Our next step was to analyse and interpret our data to find insights from interviews. Niels introduced us a storytelling tool. Each of us had a chance to be a storyteller and describe what we heard and observed from the interviews. The listeners draw visual images about important details on post-its – finally we had a wall full of post-its. The empathy map template used in interviews was very helpful in this exercise.

Storytelling: Capturing data & clustering insights

The last step of the first day was to cluster the post-its and find common patterns between the notes. This storytelling and the visual data capturing were new tools for me. I was surprised how easy it was to see the overall findings when the post-its were full of pictures, and not just text. I could use this in workshops at work when we have limited time to capture customer data.

Day 2 – From Insights and Ideas to Innovation

The last day started with a summary what we had done so far and what was ahead of us: ideating, developing a prototype and testing it with customers.

Finding a focus

We started the day by creating a persona. Adil explained personas are fictional customers created to represent different user types. The persona helped us to step into the customer´s shoes and it guided us to make useful design decisions later during the day.

personaCreating a persona

At this point of the Design Thinking process we were on the “Define a point of view”-stage. According to Niels the Point of view sentence help us to build a line between the initial problem and future solution – it narrows the focus and makes the problem specific. It was surprisingly hard to summarize our thoughts into one sentence.

Next the trainers encouraged us to generate plenty of wild ideas by using how might we… –method. How might we questions launched many crazy ideas and we put those on the post-its. After that it was time to vote for the best idea. Adil introduced a Prioritization Matrix that helped us to identify the most important and valuable ideas, prioritize them and vote for the best idea.

prio matrix.pngPrioritization Matrix

Presenting a Prioritization Matrix on the lecture was a great reminder for me. Once I have been using that during my studies but since there are so many tools it is easy to forget. Since the time was limited during these two days the impact / effort axis on the Prioritization Matrix helped us to point out the best ideas fast. I put this tool into my toolbox and definitely will use this in the future projects.

Fail early, to succeed sooner

In the afternoon we started to build a prototype that eventually helped to solve the problem. According to Niels the prototype is a draft version of a product or a service. It should present our idea and when showing it to the users the aim is to get feedback for iteration.

This was the best part of the day and we were really excited about this step. The team made a prototype out of Legos. This was a first time for me to do this part with Legos. Lego characters were the actors on the stage and the bricks worked very well when presenting the idea and the experience around it. We were very pleased to our prototype.

Building a Lego prototype

The last step of the Design Thinking process was testing the prototype with users. The team went out and we presented the prototype for few users.

“If prototypes aren´t failing you are not pushing far enough. Failure is part of understanding and improving”
– Dr. Niels Billou

final proto.png
Final prototype

Niels’ quote went straight to the point. We got plenty of feedback and enhancement ideas for the prototype and some users crushed the prototype by saying “That won´t work in real life”. We presented the prototype and the feedback for the whole lecture group. Our team proved Niels´ quote true – the failure is truly part of understanding and improving.

To sum up these two days, this intensive course taught me new tools and methods of Design Thinking and reminded me of tools I already knew. Since there are so many tools to use, the hardest part is to choose the most relevant ones for every project. I´m excited to learn more – practice makes perfect, doesn´t it?

 

If you want to discover more different Design Thinking tools and methods, I recommend This is Service Design Doing Method Library. Library consists of 54 hands-on Service Design methods. This is a useful site when choosing the right methods.
https://www.thisisservicedesigndoing.com/methods

tiss

 

Written by: Marianne Kuokkanen

 

 

 

 

 

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)

2015-04-23 09.00.44

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

2015-04-23 09.16.02

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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