Tag Archive | Service Innovation and Design

To me sound of SID is like a sound of music

How I found my inner spark of Services Innovation and Design Thinking? I was one of the lucky ones who got in to Services Innovation and Design (SID) Programme at Laurea University of Applied Sciences. We newcomers met for the first time during our 3-day kick-off session in September 2014. I had high expectations for the class but I also kept my mind open because I didn’t know if my expectations were fair.

I think Design Thinking was a good subject to start with. We had workshops during the study days and we got to know each others. I learnt a lot from my group but also of myself. For example I noticed that the passed working years in the traditional business life had moulded the standards and rules around me. And now it was time to let them go and start to think about services and business in a new and innovative way.. in a SID way.

We had inspiring lecturers leading our workshop; Gijs van Wulfen, the founder of FORTH Innovation method, and Katja Tschimmel, a researcher, coach and a famous Design Thinker.

Gijs   Katja

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Designing is about doing, not talking!


“Design is all about action, and business too often gets stuck at the talking stage. Uncertainty comes with the territory when business objective is growth. But that doesn’t mean that you are powerless to do anything about it. You can’t make it go away, but you can manage it rather than allow it to manage you.” 

Ogilvie, Tim, and Liedtka, Jeanne. Designing for Growth: A Design Thinking Tool Kit for Managers


According to Dr. Katja Tschimmel Design Thinking has, in fact, become an effective toolkit for any innovation process, connecting the creative design approach to traditional business thinking. It is just what business managers need when looking for new opportunities to take their businesses to the next level.

Becoming a Design Thinkerdesign thinking2

Ogilvy and Liedtka assimilate TQM & quality with Design Thinking & organic growth and innovation. Surely the transformation from a structured and rational fact-based business manager into an ambiguous and empathy-focused Design Thinker calls for true desire to learn a new way of thinking. It also means challenging and rethinking some of the most common business tools and development practices.


6 helpful tips on how to apply Design Thinking:

  1. Choose a method or process model and follow it – there are plenty to choose from
  2. Throw away the facts, figures and trends you already have and focus on what you do not know
  3. Be empathetic: take a deep-dive into your customers’ lives to understand their TRUE needs
  4. Embrace trial and error – it will not make you look stupid, it will make you stronger
  5. Test your innovation and be prepared to iterate – it will not be ready the first time around
  6. Include as many people as possible and share the ownership in your internal (and external) Network

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Designers: Think BIG! … but also BEYOND and GLOCAL


Tim Brown, in his book Change by Design (100% recommended), urges a global change by what he calls Design Thinking.

Tim proposes to the world a new way to face the upcoming challenges, the small but also the big ones. A new way of redesigning the world. He offers a tool usable for every person to solve any problem in a creative, innovative and effective way.

He has been designing things every day during his whole professional life and that’s why he analyses the way designers thinks each time they have to face an assignment, a problem to solve, a question to answer.

This metal process, this mindset, this way of thinking is what he calls design thinking (in lowercase) and seems to be simply the way designers think and work in every project.

This mental process always follows the same scheme, the same stages in broad terms. This structured process, consolidated in the design sector as a practical and effective methodology to achieve the established objectives, is what he proposes as a framework to deal with any challenge to improve the world whatever its nature.
So this process abstracted and subsequently converted in a tool that could be used in every situation is what he calls “Design Thinking” (now with uppercase)

Brown sustains that everyone can solve wicked problems using Design Thinking (DT) as a toolbox even if you are not a designer. That’s why DT is an open source tool that can be applied in different disciplines. Even more if those disciplines lack creativity.

Tim Brown urges designers to play a bigger role than just creating cool, fashionable objects. He urges to think big, he calls for a change to local, collaborative, participatory “design thinking” as the 19th-century design thinker Isambard Kingdom Brunel did.

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You cannot innovate alone!

Picture by Leena Salo

You’ve got a great idea, now what? How to get innovation off the ground in your company?


“You can invent alone, but you can’t innovated alone.”

– Gijs van Wulfen


In the first course of our Service Innovation and Design studies we got to tackle the fascinating subject Design Thinking in an innovation process. In class we developed a new idea to enhance learning at Laurea in groups of 4 or 5 people.


Not only did we get a great exercise in team work, but also learned to use different DT tools such as interviews and observations techniques, brainstorming and brainwriting, mind maps and rapid prototyping, which are introduced in Katja Tschimmel’s article “Design Thinking as an Effective Toolkit for Innovation”. In the end we got a chance to present our new service concept to Laurea faculty members.


I found the DL toolkit and The FORTH method of Gijs van Wulfen very useful and interesting considering my own work and projects in the company I work for. FORTH is an innovation method for creating new concepts. The chapter titled “Raise Ideas” explains how to develop great ideas and get internal support for them inside your company.


Why do great ideas fail?

Picture from The Innovation Expedition by Gijs Van Wulfen

“What’s the use of brilliant ideas if there’s no support within the organization?”

– Gijs van Wulfen


Van Wulfen begins his book with words: “innovation is highly relevant to every organization. Yet, eighty percent of innovation projects never reach the market.” Everything might be working for you: it’s the right time to innovate, you are prepared and know the purpose and direction of the innovation, but still the project fails. Why?


Often this is due to the lack of support from the management. You might not receive resources to complete your project or the management might not get behind the idea and rejected it. It is impossible to innovate alone in an organization! A great idea needs to be bought by – not only the public – but management, colleagues and employees of your own company as well. Your vision needs to be shared by everyone in your organization for it to be successful and the idea to come into fruition.

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Flight SID2014: Take-Off in the World of Design Thinker

On 12th Sep, 2014 0900Hrs flight SID2014 took-off with my cloudy thoughts into the world of Design Thinking. With clear Flight SID2014flight path, our Captains Katja Tschimmel and Gijs van Wulfen, introduced each other. I was surprised when Katja introduced Gijs and Gijs introduced Katja. But that is how I learn about “Collaboration principle in Design Thinking”. After brief introduction, it was time for the safety drill; Captain Katja introduced Design Thinking as the human centered, collaborative approach, based on the principles of visualization, experimentation and walk us through the various Design Thinking tools.

Now time for some food for thought, the only choice in the menu. Our innovation assignment was to develop a new service for better learning experience at Laurea and build Laurea as a brand. Captain Gijs walk us through the FORTH innovation method and this is how we came up with our innovation idea using different Design Thinking tools:

Forth Innovation method in practice

Forth Innovation method in practice

Full Steam Ahead: created a Mind Map. Identified the potential target groups and kick-off the innovation workshop.

Observe and Learn: created a Mood board, using design thinking tools like foto safari and image interviewing and presented the first draft of our concept.

Raise ideas: using Brainwriting, generated hundreds of ideas for our concept and shortlisted the potential innovation idea.

Test Ideas: presented the first draft of our idea as a Desktop Walkthrough to people outside our group and got feedback for our idea and some valid questions were raised around the idea which helped us correcting mistakes made in the first draft.

Home Coming: the whole process is followed by final Desktop walkthrough and producing the Business model canvas for the stakeholders, in our case for Director Katri Ojasalo as the final artifact of the innovation assignment.

I hope you are still with me and since it’s a long flight, I decided to read “Change by Design” by Tim Brown and this is what I learn:

  “In today’s competitive global economy, businesses cannot survive on working with traditional demand and supply methodology. Innovation is really what drives economic growth. Businesses need to start observing their customers to come up with innovative solutions that the customers not even know they need. Design Thinking methodology helps businesses  co-create innovative solutions with their customers.”

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Service Innovation and Design: A Giant Leap

13th September 2013, my first master class on “Design Thinking and Innovation” at Laurea University and I must say What A START!!!

It was a very exciting day meeting all new people and introducing each other in all different ways. For example by creating persona, empathy maps and bingo game, this made it easier for our SID2013 batch to know each other better. This is when I realized that it is going to be an exciting learning journey ahead!


Laurea “Service Innovation and Design” (SID) 2013 batch Persona 🙂

Our day began with fun-filled group activities followed by introduction in to the concept of Design Thinking and Innovation. Special Thanks to Professors Katja Tschimmel and Gijs van Wulfen for introducing me to the world of different methods and toolkit used in the process of Service design and Innovation.


Design thinking is an iterative process!!

Prof. Tschimmel explained the concept very well that design thinking is an experimental and iterative process, not a linear process. Also it can be seen as a collaborative and participative process. This iterative process model is composed of four phases: Exploration(understand and observe), Creation (choose and define) Reflection (prototype & test) and then Implementation, simple isn’t it? Design thinking is all about transforming process in to evaluation and there are variety of tools that designers can use, such as visually related tools – drawing, sketching, mapping and prototyping.

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Failures are possibilities

Me and 27 other students were privileged to start the Service Innovation and Design Master’s program last September in Laurea University of Applied Sciences. Our first course was about Design Thinking held by Katja Tschimmel a Design professor and an entrepreneur, and Gijs van Wulfen the writer of the excellent book “The Innovation Expedition”.


How many things can you come up doing with a pencil? Be creative!

“The understanding and acceptance that failure and mistakes are important elements of Design Thinking, differentiates Design Thinking from the traditional way of thinking in business. Dealing with incomplete information, with the unpredictable, and with ambiguous situations, requires designers to feel comfortable with uncertainty (Pombo & Tschimmel, 2005).” writes Katja Tshimmel in her paper “Design Thinking as an effective Toolkit for Innovation”. This is where my journey to become a professional in Service Innovation and Design starts.


Quantity is better than quality! Have at least seven ideas because in average one out of seven ideas will succeed.

Immediately after reading Katja Tshimmels paper I felt relieved. In Design Thinking (DT) it is allowed to make mistakes, how great is that! The main purpose of Design Thinking is to offer effective different kinds of toolkits for any innovation processes, you just need to find the perfect tools for you. In her paper Tshimmel introduces five different Design Thinking models that help implementing the structure of Design Thinking. The models have a lot in common and their main goal is to offer tools for finding solutions to existing problems.

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Starting the service innovation & design journey

The classroom was filled with excitement on last Thursday, as the 4th SID Master’s group started to navigate their service innovation & design journey. Throughout orientation the 28 new students were completely submerged in the Laurea’s cocreative learning culture, which provides the foundation for success as they pursue the Master’s program together. Team-building exercises at the very beginning of the studies help the new students hit the ground running, get familiar with each other and learn basic concepts they’ll use over and over again for the next 18 months. So, even before the actual classes began, they learned to rely on one another and were able to start building professional and personal connections.

Team-building exercise

Beginning part-time studies in a Master of Business Administration program can be particularly challenging for a lot of students: The transition of going back to university after years of full-time work, acclimating to a new location, getting used to the amount of work, meeting a bunch of new people with diverse cultural backgrounds, and learning new disciplines is a lot to juggle all at once. University, career, family obligations, and social life all require time and effort. There is a lot of anticipation, a little bit of nerves and seemingly more questions than answers at this early stage. But one thing is for sure: The students will have an abundance of resources to guide them along — faculty, support personnel, second-year SID students and the rest of the “SID family”. During the first day’s panel discussion, the new students got plenty of useful advice from SID alumni and students representing all the three previous SID groups. From the very start the new students are beginning to grasp what it means to be part of the “SID family” that consists of more than 100 current or former SID students, 14 SID faculty members, several visiting lecturers and 18 SID Advisory Board members.

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“Drag-on – identity” Experiencing GovJam 2013 at Turku

HC SVNT DRACONES?? Hä? What? Is that the theme? What that means? First day in Global Government Jam at City of Turku started with lots of question mark in the air – all where totally blown away. We had just introduced through pre-recorded video what GovJam 2013 is going to be and at the end of the video they revealed the secret theme. Which was: HC SVNT DRACONES.

GovJam Turku


Less talk, more action

We formed groups and begin to draw or write what ever did come to our minds. HC SVNT DRACONES. What images that brings to your mind. Well…fire, dragons, snake, lohi, Harley Davidson, HC – WC, doctors, cones, Latin, church, ancient writing – I started to warm up. So did the others. When 8 minutes had gone we gathered our thoughts in one table and started brainstorming. One thing led to another and soon we had couple of ideas to start with. From Latin to understand doctors and from hospitals and dragon eggs to customer rewarding system to rewarding doctors when they had performed understandably to their patients. After 15 minutes we had clue about our service concept. Wow!

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Service Design meets Futures Thinking #4

A research based series of posts discussing the statement “Futures Research supports the Service Design process in multiple ways and throughout the whole process” by Minna Koskelo (LinkedIn) and Anu K. Nousiainen (Linkedin).

Part #4: We are in the Service Innovation business!

Our three (and a half) previous blog entries have been summarizing the purpose of our study initiated in 2012 and the main findings from the study including the synergies between (Service) Design Thinking and Futures Thinking, and our illustration for Futures Research enhanced Service Design process. After some more investigation (selection of 150 books and articles) and integrating the strategic business thinking into the model with Katri Ojasalo (Linkedin), (our Head of Master’s Degree Programme in Service Innovation and Design here at Laurea University of Applied Sciences) we are proud to announce our forthcoming chapter in an international Handbook of Service Innovation (to be published by Springer in early 2014). Indeed, we have came into a realization:

What we’ve done so far is not only about Futures enhanced Service Design – instead, this is the next chapter in building unique, synergistic and dynamic capabilities for Service Innovation.


Take a novel path to create new business opportunities and new value

 It has been clear from the beginning of our study that Design Thinking and Futures Thinking share a strong synergy in their principles and targets. Now it is crystal clear that by combining their unique approaches in innovation process results in bright and viable business opportunities (see process framework A. below). While Futures Thinking concentrates on driving forces in complex evolving systems and alternative contexts, Design Thinking embraces the viewpoint of system constraints and people oriented solutions. Not only this powerful combination gives you options for decision making in strategic and offering creation level but it tackles the two critical challenges in today’s (and tomorrow’s) business: Uncertainty and timing in creating Value Roadmaps in the interconnected and changing world. Here, Futures Thinking helps to make uncertainty easier to approach through providing alternatives for decision making and therefore improving organization’s readiness to act. Design Thinking improves the organization’s agility to seize the change with emphatic, adaptive and deep research approach and through iterative co-designing with customers to provide desirable, feasible and viable options for solutions.

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