Tag Archive | Service design breakfast

#Snapshots and Service Design

Browsing through a mountain of photos.

Browsing through a mountain of photos.

“I’m walking over a pile of 900 000 photos representing an amount of photos loaded daily to Flickr, image hosting website. It feels weird to step on photos, on someone’s face, on a cute baby, a guitar… I don’t think I have ever done this before, not in a photography exhibition at least”.

That was part of my customer journey through The Finnish Museum of Photography’s #snapshot exhibition that was co-designed with Futurice, and with help of Tampere University and Aalto University. Risto Sarvas from Futurice and Anna-Kaisa Rastenberger from the museum presented their case for the Service Design Achievements 2015. This was also the last Service Design Breakfast of this year, and what a great way it was to end it at the Finnish Museum of Photography.

Service design challenge

The service design challenge with #snapshot exhibition was to turn culture into something that people can walk into and have an interactive physical experience. The #snapshot exhibition’s objective is to explore how the Internet and digitalization has changed contemporary photographic culture. As you all probably know there’s a large amount of photo sharing websites and applications, and everybody’s basically carrying a camera with them in their smartphones.

Futurice was really up to this challenge, as they wanted to design for public good purposes and make a social impact. And of course it was also a very interesting design challenge. It was different from their typical project as there’s no technical platform, no clear organizational structure in museum, no existing solutions, no business drivers, and no ready brand.

Anna-Kaisa and Risto presenting #snapshot.

Anna-Kaisa and Risto presenting #snapshot.

Walking on a photomountain.

Walking on a photomountain.

How to tackle the challenge?

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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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Making of Pivo, the Mobile Wallet

The Service Design Achievement presentations continued at Nordkapp’s office as Sami Niemelä, Creative Director, from Nordkapp and Jussi Juntunen, Service Designer, from OP-Pohjola presented the story of Pivo, the Finnish mobile wallet application. The other parties included in the Pivo project were N2 marketing, and Toinen Phd media agency.

Jussi started by introducing the Pivo team that is located in Oulu, Finland. It was interesting to notice how much the team had grown since the start of the project. Jussi continued by telling a little bit of background of the Pivo. OP-Pohjola, the largest national bank in Finland, had noticed that there is a need for a Finnish mobile wallet and they wanted to create it themselves before a global competitor steps in. They also wanted to separate the new resulting brand from the OP-Pohjola brand, so they needed to create a new brand from the start as well. This was because OP wanted the app to be expanded to other banks. The aim was to create a personal financing application that offers a beautiful and effortless way to follow and understand daily consumption, and tap into various offers and loyalty programs at once.


Sami and Jussi presenting the story of Pivo app.

Sami and Jussi presenting the story of Pivo app.

In the beginning of the project the OP’s Pivo team had free hands to start developing the app and they started to try things out, making prototypes and interviewing people. From the very start the team had a common understanding of the vision based on a moodboard that Jussi had made. They had decided to make the coolest app in Finland. They came up with the idea of “Am I broke?” -concept, which meant basically a quick glance to one’s finances in the form of a graph in the app. To build the Pivo app flat design was used.

Nordkapp then stepped in somewhere in the middle of the project. The intense development time was approximately 7-9 months. Sami from Nordkapp talked about LEAN design and the importance of iteration, but reminded also about the “over iteration” that could possibly happen. At some point you just have to make decisions. With the brand name, for example, they came up with different name ideas like Lompsa before Pivo was chosen. A brand workshop was also held and they conceived four different brand attributes describing the brand. These attributes were; well designed, human, intelligent and credible.

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Service Design Co-Creation: From Library to Learning Center

At Service Design Breakfasts (SDB) some of the best Service Design talents in Finland share their experiences and best practices. Therefore, I was very excited to see what they are all about as I took part in SDB for the first time. This time the topic was “Rapid Service Design by Co-Creating with customer SD teams”. Leena Fredriksson, Service Designer from Service Design agency Kuudes Kerros, and Valeria Gryada, Designer from Aalto University Library Services, presented the project where they worked together to transform the Aalto University library to a learning center. Kuudes Kerros also participates in Service Design Achievements of the Year 2015 with this project.

Leena Fredriksson and Valeria Gryada presenting the project at Service Design Breakfast.

Leena Fredriksson and Valeria Gryada presenting the project at Service Design Breakfast.

Background of the Project

Valeria explained that there are half a million visitors yearly in the library and the way customers interact with library services is rapidly changing. There’s a change related to digitalization and new ways of learning that have emerged from that process. That’s why the library needed to carefully rethink their organization and the way they offer the services. There was a need to transform to being a learning center and they needed help with defining what the learning center actually means as a service. Thus, Kuudes Kerros and Aalto University Library joined forces and started to create a service design concept for a learning center.

Service Design Co-Creation Process

The task was to create a new holistic service concept, but there was a major challenge due to a very tight schedule of only two weeks, altogether three campuses, eight different target sectors, and everyone’s calendars mostly full. To tackle this challenge they started to recruit Service Design teams. Kuudes Kerros invited 6-8 students to join the team and the work was done in three teams of four people, lead by a Service Design professional. More precisely the teams consisted of students, researchers, exchange students, library staff and Kuudes Kerros personnel. First they had a kick-off meeting and then used brainstorming to clarify the service concept and continued by building and testing it together with the coaches. They created three on campus -teams, and all the members of the team had individual interviews, which in the end amounted to almost 200 interviews. To succeed in this co-creation effort they created a ‘project language’ to get the teams in the same page in a short time. To find the real problems they used the terms ‘headache problems’ and ‘migraine problems’.

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Need for Service Design up in the Air?

Airline-Customer-Service-AgentHave you ever read the story about the funniest customer feedback in the world? It is the one directed to Sir Richard Branson, the founder of Virgin Group. It was sent by a passenger who flew from Mumbai to Heathrow with Virgin Airlines and who wasn’t too happy about the food catering or the inflight entertainment during the flight. Apparently Finnair doesn’t want this to happen to them, so they hired a creative technology company called Reaktor to improve their in-flight entertainment service. Reaktor describes itself as a constructer of well-functioning services. The reason they believe they were chosen was that they could deliver both the design and development from the same house.

Starting Point

It had previously taken a huge amount of time to navigate through the entertainment system. For the new system the aim was to have less levels to navigate, show the content on the first page and of course for it to be faster. The main goal was to improve passenger satisfaction. It was interesting to hear about the development process, which was reputedly a new way of working for Finnair and Panasonic, the manufacturer of the hardware. The displays in the planes have a computer inside and it was impossible to take them out of the aircrafts as they were flying daily. It required people from Reaktor to travel to Panasonic office in California where they had the equipment needed for the development process.

The Designing Process

Reaktor 2The team consisted of five smaller groups: Development, Coaching, Concept, UX (user experience)/UI (user interface) and Visuals. According to Reaktor the team worked seamlessly together during the process. The kick-off for the project was in June 2013 and the installation started in August 2014. They had possibility for only two plane visits, which was surprising to hear. So they decided to build a test lab where they then performed user research and tests. The process wasn’t linear, but instead went from designing, developing and testing back to beginning several times.

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An Interface Against Boredom

I find an ongoing set of inspirations in the way in which innovation appears in restricted circumstances. In the case of Reaktor’s in-flight entertainment system for Finnair (one of the candidates for the next Service Design Achievement of the Year, to be announced on March 18), that limitation was old, if not yet outdated, technology. In installing new software, they had to navigate both the corporate structure through which their client, via Panasonic, tends to handle its design in matters relating to the in-flight screens, and the technical limitations of the screens, the replacing of which would have been really expensive.

It very much seems to me that in the 14 months between kick-off and implementation, they pulled of a significant, if not radical change. What’s interesting is the how, as it sort of contradicts many recommendations for design thinking. Some of the facets were of course quite traditional: a benchmarking of the old system against its competitors; the building of a test lab once non-installed screens were procured; plane visits; user tryouts. Most importantly of all, a client-demanded content first approach. On the other hand, implementation was done with a single run and no chance to test before flight, and many of the facets one would expect to have included in the design process were not – probably due to the client’s standard practices for outsourced design. This is a risky, but understandable, decision in a situation where the express purpose of the system is to prevent boredom during long flights.Marjo Mansen and Karri-Pekka Laakso presenting the design process.

Interestingly, however, I would define what was done as an interface design, not a content-driven process. Continue reading

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.

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Service Design as a Tool for Strategy Creation

In the Service Design Breakfast event at Startup Sauna on November 13th, Laura Invenius from ABB Drivers and Lotta Buss rom N2 Nolla have presented the case of strategy creation using the service design as a tool.

ABB and  N2 Nolla - Service design as a tool for strategy creation

ABB and N2 Nolla – Service design as a tool for strategy creation

ABB Drivers, who produce devices that are used for speed control of electrical motors, needed to develop a new strategy in order to create better customer experiences in digital touch points. N2 Nolla was chosen because of their service design approach in strategy creation.

Believing that co-creation is the most powerful way to build internal commitment, they started with putting together right team for the job. From ABB, team joined people from sales, product management, and marketing coms. From N2 Nolla came service designers, market researcher and digital strategist.

Strategy development process started with creation of clear brief. Next phase was about obtaining insights, both internal and external. Regarding external stakeholders, early decision was made to focus on customers, while investors and those looking for jobs were left aside. Internal insights were obtained from the factory tour and discussions with sales and product management. External insights were collected from 8 countries in discussions with end-customers, partners and OEMs.

Strategy development process

Strategy development process

Additionally, they have collected business and project goals, brand guidelines, and a lot of background information like: competitor analysis and benchmarking, customer research, NPS, and market outlook.

Co-creation workshops were the most important events. First one was dedicated to current state analysis; second one was two days co-creation workshop with country organizations, and the last one with the core team was done to finalize the work.


  • Personas used to cluster information about customers and partners
  • Buyer’s journeys and gap analysis used to identify problems and challenges in interactions.

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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.

Doing micro and then macro

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: “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.

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