Tag Archive | Service design methods and tools

Citizen participation model and game by City of Helsinki


Service designers and City of Helsinki employees have developed a new model for citizen participation. One model application is a game that the city service teams, for example in libraries or in health stations, play in order to plan how to increase the participation of their clients.

The goal of Helsinki is to become the best functioning city in the world. According to the new strategy of the City one way to get there is to increase the participation of the citizens.

Service design in the strategy of the City

Although Helsinki is among the top cities in the world (3rd last year on the list of the best cities to live in), there is still a lot to do, since some of the city employees never thought how to make their clients to participate in developing the services. The new strategy gives a strong mandate to the employees to do that now. Service design is in the heart of the City strategy.

“Helsinki is primarily a place and a community, not a bureaucracy. I believe that the City cannot solve the big challenges – nor is it even sensible to do so – on its own, but instead we need strategic partnerships with everyone who is interested in developing Helsinki” – Mayor Jan Vapaavuori in the City news

Model for citizen participation

The designers discussed the topic “Creative means to increase participation” in a Helsinki Design Week event in Helsinki City Hall Design Lab in September 11th. Continue reading

Learning in Action – How We Won the Second Place in a Service Design Competition

”Could you send a female inspector?”

This is how Jaakko started our pitch at Sitras’s Service Design competition on March 3, 2014. The competition was part of Sitra’s new security forum, and it intended to test how service design could help to improve public services and make them more user-centric.

The actual design goal set by Sitra and the Finnish Ministry of the Interior was to think of ways to lower the barrier of reporting a racist crime.

Statistics show that the amount of reported crimes has dropped significantly. This is not necessarily good news. As the amount of people from diverse ethnic backgrounds has rised in Finland, the question is whether the amount of racist crimes has actually diminished or whether people don’t just report them anymore. Is the reporting process clear enough for people of foreign roots? Do people have the skills and the motivation to bring their issue forward? Do they trust the authorities? Is there enough knowledge? Could service design help to improve the situation?

This was the challenge of our design team, comprising four enthusiastic first-year SID-students, Jaakko, Ida, Hanna and Mervi. In addition to our service design studies, we all have different educational and professional backgrounds and skills – a group of truly T-shaped people. For us, the competition was a great opportunity to test our newly learned service design methods skills in action. We wanted to learn in practice and do something concrete. Earning some course credits while we were at it didn’t harm, either.

We knew we were competing with professional agencies and experienced service design researches and that made us all the more motivated. Heck, we really wanted to win and show what we are capable of! It turned out that our motivation, determination and willingness to prove ourselves earned us a second place in a very tight competition. We played to win. ”The hungriest team” as one member of the jury put it.

Walkthrough of Our Design Process Background work

As soon as we knew we were accepted to take part in the competition, we started to work on the challenge. We did a lot of background research and dug as deep as we could. We read several reports and studies. We made phone calls to police officers and non-profit organizations that have a lot of experience in working with immigrants and minorities. Piece by piece, we found out important information related to our design challenge.

We also collected and discussed our own previous knowledge. The request for a female inspector, which started this story, was a true case that happened to Jaakko about a year ago. He was scheduled to make a fire inspection in an institution for immigrant women. If a male fire inspector might be too intimidating for them, can you imagine them to walk to a police station and report a crime, most likely meeting a severe-looking policeman behind the desk asking them all kinds of questions about the uncomfortable, maybe even humiliating situation they encountered? Can you picture her trusting him? We couldn’t. It became obvious very soon that we were dealing with quite a wicked problem that had to be approached holistically.

Personas and Stakeholder Map

We used many different service design tools in our design process. After a quick brainstorm and a lot of post-its in Jaakko’s living room window, we decided to create personas. They turned out to be a great starting point. “Ali”, “Cagri” and “Zahra” helped us greatly throughout the process. Their images in mind, we were able to empathize and hold a user-centric focus.



Early on, we started also to create a stakeholder map including all the service providers, non-profit organizations, institutions, and facilities that were relevant for potential crime victims. We figured that since they already are in touch with our target group, they could act as “fixers” for victims of racist crimes.

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Engaging stakeholders in the designing of a service: a case study in the B2B service context

Author: Adeyanju Alade. Email: aladeyanju@yahoo.com

The background of this master’s degree thesis was from a Tekes funded project named “Service Innovation through Strategic Stakeholder Integration” (SISSI). SISSI is a joint project undertaken by Laurea University of Applied Sciences in cooperation with Hanken School of Economics, Finland.  In addition, there are two case companies as main partners in SISSI project.

l&tThe topic of this thesis was inspired by the definition of service design as presented by Selgelström. The definition says service design is “the use of designerly way of searching for solutions to problems in people-intensive service systems through the engagement of stakeholders” (Segelström 2010, 16). A rhetorical question of “how stakeholders can be engaged” came up on the mind of the author of this thesis. As a result, the academic journey on this thesis then began.

Stakeholder engagement can be defined as the effort or action an organisation undertakes towards understanding and involving stakeholders “and their concerns in its activities and decision making processes” (Partridge, Jackson, Wheeler & Zohar 2005, 6). A quality stakeholder engagement process has the potential to address complex problems in both private and public sector’s service design and delivery (REVIT, 2007).

The literature review of this thesis covered topics such as service, service dominant logic, service design processes and tools, value co-creation, stakeholders, and stakeholder engagements. Some relevant conclusions and speculations from the perspective of this author were also presented in the literature review. In addition, some gaps were identified in the reviewed literature (see thesis report).

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