Tag Archive | service design process

Is Design Thinking the right approach for every development project?

Heljä Franssila
First-year SID student and comms professional


The first three-day study phase focusing on the basics of Design Thinking left me inspired, yet somewhat confused. When going back home after our last day together, I could not help wondering if design thinking really is a method we can use for every development project.

Under the guidance of Katja Tschimmel, our group had set out to find a solution for establishing an agenda for an ecologically sustainable Laurea University, starting from the Leppävaara campus.

In our task, we quickly ran through the phases of a design process from understanding to testing, following the Design Thinking Model of the Hasso-Plattner Institute (Tschimmel 2012, 9), or from discovery to delivery, as in the model of the Design Council (2012, 9) – or from emergence to exposition, as in the E.6² model by Tschimmel’s company Mindshake. Our case was solid in the sense that the challenge we were facing is a real one – how to create a sustainable campus in the times of an ecological crisis – but instead of creating a holistic action plan for the university, the design thinking method basically lead us to developing a mobile app for students. It was obvious that in real life, this kind of solution alone would not help Laurea to a more sustainable future in the large scale.

As an answer to my doubts, Jeanne Liedtka and Tim Ogilvie assure me in their book Designing for Growth (2011) that we still need business thinking in addition to design thinking tools (Liedtka and Ogilvie 2011, 29). They enlist three reasons why combining business thinking models with design thinking tools leads to success. Here, in the context of our campus project, I understand the concept of ‘business thinking’ as a synonym to strategic thinking or other more traditional management models. Liedtka and Ogilvie argue that business thinking is needed because novelty, which is sought after in design innovation processes, does not necessarily create value, and sometimes even value creation is not enough. There are many other elements which must be taken into account, too, when managing a business, or, in our case, running a university (2011, 29).

Finally, according to Liedtka and Ogilvie, we must always consider whether the world really needs our innovation (2011, 29). This is probably the most crucial factor why our group’s innovation would not have survived the testing phase in the design process, as it simply would not deliver a viable solution to the challenge of a sustainable university.

Drawing portraits was a clever way of getting to know each member of our group. It also simply helped us to remember who is who. Yet it felt difficult to sketch a face of a class mate who you didn’t know at all, as the results of one-minute drawings weren’t most flattering! Image: Heljä Franssila


Victory with visuals

What are the strengths of design process, then? For me, the biggest revelation from Tschimmel’s masterclass and the study materials was the power of communicating ideas with visualisations, such as sketches, drawings and prototypes. As communications professional, I have thought to have understood the high value of photographs, videos and illustrations, but now I realise how strongly my thinking is dominated by words and text.

Tschimmel, as well as Liedtka and Ogilvie, encourage us to test and improve our hypothesis by experimentation (Liedtka and Ogilvie, 2011, 39), which can be easily done by rapid sketches and unpolished prototypes (Tschimmel 2012, 16). Using visualisation instead of text decreases the project risk remarkably, as text is much more open to interpretation than pictures and illustrated stories. The text easily leads each participant to imagine their own mental schema about the topic, which can lead to arguments when differing ideas are found out (Lietdka and Ogilvie 2011, 51). It is also recommended to do rapid prototyping as soon as possible, as it is cost-effective to fail at the early stage than in later development (Tschimmel 2012, 16).

In our study project, it first felt impossible to me to visualise my ideas either by drawing or by building legos (“why can’t I just write it!”)  but I see it now very clearly why developing visualisation skills is absolutely necessary for an aspiring service designer such as me. I am looking forward to my future as the first-rate lego builder.



References:

Liedtka, J & Ogilvie, T. (2011). Designing for Growth: a design thinking tool kit for managers. Columbia University Press. 

Tschimmel, K. 2012. Design Thinking as an effective Toolkit for Innovation. In: Proceedings of the XXIII ISPIM Conference: Action for Innovation: Innovating from Experience. Barcelona.

Tschimmel, K. 2019. Design Thinking. Lectures. Held on 6-7 September, 2019. Laurea University of Applied Sciences.

Swimming in a Sea of Possibilities – Design Thinking and the Beauty of Teamwork

A two-day course in design thinking taught me that a team is more than a group of people and that in our aim to reach our goals, failure can be a positive thing.

Katja Tschimmel

Katja Tschimmel introducing Laurea students to the fascinating world of design thinking.
Image: Suvi Seikkula.

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Learning the essence of Design Thinking process

“There is no universal best DT process model, the choice innovation managers make depends on their disciplinary background and their personal taste.” says Katja Tschimmel in her article about Design Thinking process models and tools (Tschimmel 2012, 11). And this is also what she tells us listeners during our first hours of Design Thinking course (Design Thinking 2017). The decision of choosing of an appropriate Design Thinking model is influenced, among others, the characteristics of the task in question, its context, the composition of the team and its dynamics, the number of designers involved, and the time available for the process (Tschimmel 2012).

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Can Design Thinking Provide the Breakthroughs We Need to Reduce Global Poverty and Domestic Violence?

 

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Woman cooking next to the port and market in Cotonou, Benin [Image (c) Jeffrey Allen]

 

By Jeffrey Allen

25 Sep, LONDON – For the past seven years, I’ve designed and managed projects to improve lives in developing countries, focusing on education, health, good governance, human rights, agriculture, employment, the environment… everything that impacts people’s quality of life. It’s a wildly complex field, where managers have to understand business, sociology, communications, technology, innovation, politics, psychology, and more if they’re going to be successful.

I spent the first several years just getting my head around the basics, learning on the job, by trial and error, and by soaking up what I could from those around me. Before starting the job, I had observed international development work – mostly from the outside – for more than six years as a journalist remixing stories published by organizations working in the field. Looking on through my outsider’s lens, I was consistently impressed by the work development practitioners did every day to make lives better and open opportunities for billions of people in difficult circumstances across the globe. Continue reading

Stages, more stages and the same stages all over again

The Design Thinking course on September 2nd-3rd 2016 was very illuminating. Doing Design Thinking by following a specific model really shows how much work should be put in design work itself from exploring to implementing. Doing the same thing over and over again with different methods (moodboard, brainwriting etc.) truly opens up new ideas during the process.

We started our service planning from one idea and through all the steps ended up in something different. Continuing the process further and with more time would have, in my opinion, led to another outcome. Doing so much work in such a short time really doesn’t give space for ideas to develop by themselves.

The difference in similarities

During the lessons we learned especially the use of the Evolution 6² model, which has more stages than other models discussed in class and in the paper Design Thinking as an effective Toolkit for Innovation (Tschimmel 2002). Nevertheless, all the models can be, more or less, divided in three main stages: first you have to learn the problem (through observing, exploring, understanding, defying etc.), then you develop an idea/ideas based on your observations (through experiments, ideating, reflecting, elaborating etc.) and finally you’ll find a solution that can be made available to public (through prototyping, testing, implementing etc.).

brainwiriting

Brainwrite instead of brainstormWhy? No need to feel ashamed of saying something idiotic out loud while you can write it on a Post-it anonymously.

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An exceptional pharmacy

2nd of June Service Design Network Drinks was organized by Diagonal and a pharmacy Ympyrätalon apteekki.

Do you use pharmacy services only when you are sick or have a hangover? Traditionally pharmacy has been seen as a place taking care of sick people. Now the focus is turning also towards healthy people who want to take care of their well-being. The focus is on the well-being.

Mr. Mikko Koivisto a leading service designer from Diagonal told about the process how they managed to renew traditional business like pharmacy.

SDN Drinks

The project consisted of three parts: customer understanding, concept phase and design and implementation. During the customer understanding part many service design methods was used e.g. mystery shopping, interviews, observation, shop-along, customer journey map, personas and benchmarking.

Customers and employees of the pharmacy was involved at the ideation phase that produced new service ideas. The goal of the concept phase was to produce visualisations of the ideas and concepts discovered through research. The ideas were tested at pharmacies. The employees of the pharmacy were educated to a new service concept and they took it as their own. A manual was produced to summarize all the key elements of the new concepts and services. The manual was also a practical tool to communicate the concepts to the other apothecaries of the (YTA) Yhteistyöapteekit pharmacy chain.

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At the moment Ympyrätalo pharmacy offers over hundred different kinds of services. An apothecary Tiina Vaitomaa said that the most popular service at the moment is a salt therapy. It is especially common among singers who have to take good care of their voice.

SDN Drinks2Mrs. Vaitomaa told that the key to success is to do co-operation with other companies because alone it is difficult to succeed. Mrs. Vaitomaa is an exceptional brave and innovative apothecary. She advises to innovate and test new things. One of the most important thing is to find multi-talented and committed employees. In the future consume of the services increases significantly and Ympyrätalon apteekki is already ready for that change.

Text and pictures by Laura Rinta-Jouppi SID student 2014

The Pharmacy for People

Some people are just excellent in developing new ideas and turning them into succesful concepts. A pharmacy in Helsinki, Ympyrätalon apteekki, started its services with a totally new concept: The Pharmacy for People. A Finnish service design company, Diagonal, created this concept together with a pharmacy chain of 120 private pharmacies, Yhteistyöapteekit (YTA), and especially with the pharmacy Ympyrätalon apteekki. But all this wouldn’t have happened without the commitment and enthusiasm of one person, the proprietary pharmacist of Ympyrätalon apteekki, Mrs. Tiina Vaitomaa, and the will to be pioneers in new innovative business models by the whole chain. The process has been boundary breaking, and so is Valtomaa. She is willing to try new ideas and test them. The Pharmacy for People has won several rewards in a Finnish design, The Fennia Prize and Kultahuiput.

I got the chance to hear about this excellent concept and its service design process in the Service Design Drinks event on the 2nd of June 2015 in Ympyräntalon apteekki.  The event was hosted by Mrs. Tiina Vaitomaa, the Proprietary pharmacist of Ympyrätalon apteekki.

Service Design Drinks on the 2nd of June 2015

Service Design Drinks on the 2nd of June 2015

Tiina Vaikalma

Mrs. Tiina Vaitomaa, Proprietary Pharmacist

Mr. Mikko Koivisto, the Leading Service Designer in Diagonal started by describing the service design process.

The process consisted of three phases:

1. Understanding the customer and gathering knowledge

2. Concept definition

3. Design and implementation

The first phase was done by interviews, observing, mystery shopping, visiting customers and checking their medicine cabinet, making trend analysis etc. It was done in a very comprehensive way and with a lot of collaboration with the pharmacies. One result from the first phase was that customers desire more services than what is being offered. Another main result was that suppliers had too much power and the pharmacies had become mediators. This resulted in lower contribution margins and revenue. Also more focus on pricing was needed.

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