Tag Archive | service innovation

Designing a better life

South Africa remains among the world`s most inequal countries. High inequality is perpetuated by a legacy of exclusion, and the economic growth does not contribute to diminishing poverty and generating new, decent jobs. Inequality in wealth is striking: the richest 10% of the population held around 71% of net wealth in 2015, while the bottom 60% held 7% of it. Furthermore, inequalities are passed down from generation to generation with little change in inequality over time. (Worldbank.) The structural inequality and exclusion lead up to more fear and less trust among the citizens, and less participation in the community.

How does design fit in a reality, where so many people lack even the basic services: water, energy, shelter, food, sanitation, health care, transport and education?

Picture: getinstantdeals.com

This question was explored by Head of Department and Senior Lecturer at the Department of Industrial Design, Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture (FADA) at the University of Johannesburg South Africa, Angus Donald Campbell, as the keynote speaker in Studia Generalia lecture “Designing with the Underserved: An Exploration of the Complexities of Design in South Africa from the perspective of the SDGs” organized by the Finnish Design Academy on 17 November, 2020.

A time of crisis and protests contains within it the seeds for transformation and change. According to Campbell, philosophical and practical re-design of the society is possible in South Africa. While many feel helpless, small and collaborative interventions of change are needed.

Local and sustainable innovations can play a key role in the path towards the United Nation`s Sustainable Development Goals, SDGs. Reaching high-minded and noble goals does not always mean million-euro budgets or heavy structures. Instead, a locally and culturally sensitive approach, combined with an immersion into the life of people can help the researcher or designer understand the small everyday challenges people face and thus identify appropriate opportunities to improve the quality of life in big scale.

“My face isn’t designed for glasses!” 

This was an exclamation of one project participant in a project that Angus Campbell`s student Marcha Naudè implemented during 2017-19. It reflects the way how underserved and excluded people, but also people living a middle-class life in European countries, can perceive services: they should fit the services, and not the other way round. Should eye-glasses be designed for the people, or people`s faces be designed for glasses?

Poor eye-sight often causes other problems, such as weak performance at school or work, difficulties in reading, doing manual work, driving etc. These in turn can deepen the exclusion and inequality. In South Africa, the challenges within the eye-care services include lack of sufficient private and public eye care services, and eyewear frames that do not consider the contextual needs. The majority of available eyewear frames are imported and most of them come from one monopoly organisation, which designs eyewear from a predominantly Eurocentric perspective. For example, there are currently only two types of eyewear fit, the “regular” fit, based on European facial data, and the “Asian” or “global” fit, which was developed in reaction to the inappropriateness of the “regular” fit. (Campbell 2020.)

Picture: ISTOCK/UBERIMAGES

However, the wide ethnic variety of people in South Africa caused that neither the “regular” fit nor the “global” fit suited well the facial features of huge numbers of south Africans. The nose pad did not sit well on the nose, the frame width was incorrect or the arm length was too short or too long. Improper fitment causes discomfort and leads to blurry vision and long-term vision problems. (Campbell 2020.)

The project focused on trying to solve the problem with frames, applying human-centered design. Naudè conducted a comprehensive field research about the needs and challenges concerning eyesight among the deprived groups. The needs of glasses wearers in local context were analyzed. The final outcome of the project was an adaptable and customatized eyewear frame that was of local design, could be produced locally and fit well the common facial features of local people. Local production helped make the frames more affordable.

Picture: United Nations

This well-focused design project shows the way in which small but smart interventions at local level can achieve visible (literally!) results at the lives of local communities, and at the same time help the country reach the Sustainable Development Goals set by the United Nations. This particular case contributed to the SDG 3 (Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages) and 10 (Reduce inequality within and among countries).

When solutions to local problems are identified, they can be scaled up. A similar design research approach could be applicable in a number of countries in the Global South.

Laura Ekholm

More information can be found:

Campbell, A.D. Adaptable Glasses.  https://www.angusdonaldcampbell.com/project/glasses/

United Nations. The 17 goals. https://sdgs.un.org/goals

Worldbank. https://www.worldbank.org/en/country/southafrica/overview

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

Unleash Your Inner Beast

Be empathetic, gather courage and nurture creativity to make Breakthroughs.

I would like to Thank our energetic lecturer Katja Tschimmel for sharing her knowledge and experiences on Design Thinking. Thank to Virpi Kaartti for providing great support during the Study and Thank to all my fellow students for such an amazing ongoing experience. 

This blog is covering two parts. 1) My perspective and highlight on Design Thinking and Innovation 2) Learning during Laurea contact sessions.

 

My perspective and highlight on Design Thinking and Innovation

 

I have gained a little insight about the potential of Design Thinking and how design thinking approach can lead to create innovations to improve existing conditions and make impact.

I can already feel that Design Thinking is slowly transforming my approach towards solving problems and my realization that empathy is so much central towards design thinking.

Design Thinking is powerful, a great methodology which provides framework for understanding empathy, nurturing creativity and using early prototyping towards breakthrough innovations.

Also, keeping an open mindset to grow and learn at the same time paves the way to unleash our true unknown potential, including creativity hidden among all of us.

Here, I would like to emphasize and highlight on key aspects of Design Thinking.

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Design Thinking – from brain errors to innovations

Have you ever been in a situation when you know your business isn’t going as smoothly as it should? You know that something should be done but you don’t know where to start or can’t identify the business problems or the customers’ needs? How do you feel about failure as a part of innovating? Have you ever thought about establishing an innovation process WITH your customers instead of old fashioned way, FOR your customers? Are you confused?

These are all questions that pop up when talking about Design Thinking (DT).

What is it and how can it help to develop your business?

Design Thinking combines human-centricity and design methods with problem solving and innovation process. It focuses in organization’s ability to produce new content, develop business and make development work cross sectoral and organizational boundaries. DT’s core is located somewhere between human-centered approach, collaborative way of working and co-creation with stakeholders and the end-users.

The work itself takes place in multidisciplinary teams that are facilitated by designers whose expertise consists of the ability to match human needs with technical resources, constrains and objectives of the project or business, and ultimately conversion into customer value and market opportunity by using different DT process and tools. In DT feelings and emotions as well as failures and mistakes plays big role when achieving the results like new processes, services and ways of communication and collaboration.

There are multiple different Design Thinking process models that can be used. The choice depends on various factors, e.g. the characteristics of the innovation project and its context, the team dynamics and the time available for the process. There’s no such thing as a perfect DT process model and pioneers in the field all have their own opinions.

Design Thinking in practice

We had two-day intensive DT workshop where we concentrated on Evolution 62 model developed by Katja Tschimmel in 2015. The name of the process model refers to the six phases that all start with the letter E:

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Public and Private Sector into Cooperation for Better Services and Innovations

I attended a seminar organised by CIDe Cluster Finland in Laurea´s Tikkurila campus. CIDe Cluster is a joint project of Laurea University of Applied Sciences and Vantaan Innovaatioinstituutti Oy (Innovation Institute of Vantaa, Inc.). It focuses on the development of products and services promoting good care and rehabilitation. CIDe Cluster brings together health care and well-being companies, public sector organizations and other community players to create business development and innovation know-how. CIDe Cluster offers their partners networking events and welfare business and welfare technology trainings.

Don’t fear the restructuring

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Jari Koskinen, the Association of Finnish Local and Regional Authorites

CEO Jari Koskinen of the Association of Finnish Local and Regional Authorities opened his speech by saying that the Finnish administrative structure is moving towards the European model – state, autonomous areas (countries) and municipalities – with the new Social welfare and Healthcare reform. His opinion is that when planning those reforms, one should keep in mind the number of inhabitants in Finland. Not only was he comparing Finland to France where he, still as a spokesman of the Päijät-Häme region, wanted to create a partnership with one of the northern regions of France, but while the Finnish one had 200,000 residents, the French equivalent had over four million! Understandable, the French were not enthusiastic about a joint action. He also compared the Finnish regions with one another – Keski-Pohjamaa having 70,000 inhabitants, and Uusimaa getting close to two million! His message was “How do you divide the responsibilities in the upcoming reform if the autonomous regions aren´t homogenous?” He noted that there are  20 cities in Finland that each have a larger population than the entire region of Keski-Pohjamaa.

He had more questions to which he would want answers from the new reform policy makers. The municipalities own real estates and if the responsibilities for health care are transferred from them to the autonomous regions, will the latter purchase those properties from the municipalities? If so, will they pay the market price? How to arrange it so that nobody suffers because of the responsibilities being taken away from the municipalities?

The role of the Universities of Applied Sciences as reformers of welfare and well-being services

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Katariina Raij, PhD, Laurea

Director Katariina Raij of Laurea University of Applied Sciences had an innovative approach: as soon as a new innovation appears, new training/studies should be made available swiftly. Otherwise, we won´t utilize the innovative ideas properly. The innovation should be quickly introduced to the markets, there are lots of innovative technologies that were never applied. How do we bring agility into the process of innovation? When thinking about health care in the public sector, it is an industry focused on curing diseases, and the whole system is based on illnesses not health.  The research findings of the JADE project 2014, Active and Healthy Ageing Report 2011, Special Euro Barometer 378 and Digi Barometer 2014 show that technology is very poorely utilized in solving  the problems of the public sector.

In order to be internationaly “visible”, it is important to invest in high-level development and know-how. Finland has a reputation of being slow in putting new health technology innovations into use in the health care sector. Finland is also very careful when approaching new innovations because of the risk of conflicts of interest. That prevents the creation of partnerships between the private and the public sector which are very important especially for the health care system. Insufficient revision of regulations and standards delays the entrance of innovations into the markets by months or even years.

She praised the new National Curriculum that is currently being drafted by the Finnish National Board of Education. She called the new curriculum fantastic, with the mindset the children will acquire and the way in which they will perceive the future. As of 2019, there will be a freedom of choice among public, private and third sector health service providers. How does the client recognize the best quality? How do we help clients make good choices? The question is: Do we need a new college degree/ complementary educational training in service navigation/ guidance?

 

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The Well Life Center of Laurea created a research project called HyvinvointiTV (CaringTV) . The HyvinvointiTV’s studio was built in the Well Life Center with professionals offering individual guidance and advisory services that were co-created with clients. The aim of the interactive HyvinvointiTV was to support the health and well-being of elderly people living independently in their own homes. At that time, the founders of course had no idea how fast the e-services would develop. HyvinvointiTV was a pioneer in robotics. The award-winning service gained a lot of attention all around the world. The clients claimed that the screen felt so real they felt as if they had invited guests to their homes.

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Care Innovation and Design (CIDe) was founded in 2010 in collaboration between Laurea and Vantaan Innovaatioinstituutti Oy (Innovation Institute of Vantaa, Inc.). CIDe sees itself as an innovation environment with an emphasis on advancing health  and well-being, supporting self-care and enabling customer-centeredness in all research and development activities. At the moment CIDe is owned by Laurea only. Care Innovation and Design as such doesn´t exist in any other University of Applied Sciences in Finland.

 

Jana Arhio, Laurea

Because who is perfect?

On 4th of November I participated in a lecture at Helsinki University of Business (Studia Generale by Simo Vehmas). This lecture was about the human rights of people with disabilities . This interesting topic carried me and my thoughts towards an ideal world, where everyone could live their life unlimited by their special needs.

As a design thinker I started creating my idea of better world for the handicapped. The world has been mainly designed for people without any limitations. It is just a fact that still today most of the disabled population face lots of discrimination and difficulties on a daily bases.

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Industrial Transformation

I attended on the 2nd of June 2015 to a Fimecc Future Industrial Services (FutIS) WP2 Final Seminar hosted by Program Manager Mr. Pekka Helle. This seminar had both researchers presenting results as well as the industrial and garco sector presenting their cases. FutIS is organized by the Finnish Metals and Engineering Competence Cluster (Fimecc) and aims to ease the industry’s transformation by research and development in the area a service business. Over twenty companies and eight research institutes collaborate in this joint program with a budget of 35 million euros. After attending to this seminar I feel strongly that the biggest challenge is to turn up side down (bouleverser) the way of looking from the point of view of the industrial needs to doing business from the point of view of the customer.

Mr. Pekka Helle, Programme Manager

Henri Paukku, Project Manager, Customer Solutions MacGregor

Mr. Henri Paukku, Project Manager, Customer Solutions
MacGregor

Transformation starts from understanding customer’s business logic, processes, long-term targets, segments and motives and adding a lot of co-creating and team-work with all the relevant stakeholders. Mr. Henri Paukku, Project Manager at MacGregor Finland Oy gave an example of bottle necks in the container ship solution offering. He explained how removing one bottle neck usually increases the problems in the next phase if the whole chain hasn’t been cleared.

Business logs

Example of a business logic (MacGregor)

Bigger ships have bigger capacity but if the terminals aren’t fit to it, there is a gap between capacity and functionality. Data collecting and collaboration between different parties is extremely important. Attitude towards data gathering and traditional logistic chain needs to change. The idea is to make bigger profit, utilization and increase the cash flow. Mr. Pekka Helle stated that with good Solutions design and service innovations, investment costs are lower, the revenue curve higher and the profit lifetime longer. 

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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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The Inspirational New Children’s Hospital 2017

I am glad to have participated in The Service Day 2015 on the 18th of March. As a new student in the field of service design and innovation it really made me open my eyes to how much service design has already spread into the health sector. I saw a lot of commonalities in the projects, which were presented. All of these projects included a great holistic view of the all the parts tied with the service and even better, an innovative fresh way of organizing them in a new customer centric and efficient way. This holistic view of customer insight was a part of all of the projects.

What impressed me was how these projects really had people believing in them. In their minds there was little space for pessimism, a bit of sanity and a huge believe in the idea and a great deal of professionalism. What comes out when all these talented people with a different background are put in the same room, are these incredible service design projects.

People need other people, and what all these projects had in common was an impressive amount of collaboration. Good service design is creating together. This is where I emphasize the word co-creation! The best sand castles are built with many hands and ideas.


Children have the best imagination together, so why not adults? One raising castle is the new pediatric hospital, which has been largely discussed in the media and a lot of debate (e.g. 1a, 1b) has been going on about the funding of the project, which hasn’t followed the traditional norms of building public buildings. A foundation for building a new children’s public hospital was founded in 2012 and the hospital is going to be ready in 2017.

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Anne Berner presenting the  Children's Hospital 2017 project

Anne Berner presenting the Children’s Hospital 2017 project

Anne Berner had the first presentation in the Service Day 2015. As her presentation really impressed me, this blog post is devoted to her project. Among many other duties Anne Berner is the Chairman of the board of the Association and Foundation New Children’s hospital 2017. She pointed out that in the beginning of the project it wasn’t known who owns the project and who is in charge of it. She says that this was not easy as it wasn’t clear if it is the county of Helsinki or the state paying the bill. The solution was an open fundraising campaign, so that everyone anywhere could partake in the project. But … especially the media and part of the Finnish public seemed to think this was wrong. Happily not everyone. The funding is based on donations which some people think is begging.

The way Anne Berner talked during the Service Day made me believe that this project is in the right hands. She has a humble and an iterative attitude towards the project which characterizes a good service design. She is very well aware of the critics and sees even the negative discussion around the hospital as positive. She takes critique in a constructive and strengthening way, which is necessary in service design. She also says that the more there is discussion, the more important the campaign becomes. According to her, best innovations are built only with criticism. Myself, I think this project is revolutionary and shakes the traditional thoughts of service into a new service design way of thinking. She pointed out that there has always been a lot of community effort in Finland, especially during and after the wars. Hospitals have been built using fundraisers before, so why should it be different now?

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Experiences from the Global Service Jam Helsinki 2015

10393857_741350965951185_8017900955231328757_nGlobal Service Jam is a yearly event enabling anyone interested in service design and design thinking to co-create, experiment and develop new solutions inspired by a shared theme.  This year, the Jam was arranged in 100 cities during the weekend of February 27th – March 1st all around the world.

In the Jam, the participants will go through the entire service design process in one weekend, gathering customer insight, creating new service concepts in interdisciplinary teams, building prototypes and testing the new concepts with real customers.

For me it was the first time I have ever participated in the Global Service Jam. I had high expectations and have to say that my expectations were exceeded. The Jam is an absolutely fantastic event to learn about service design, customer oriented service development, creative methods, concept development along with meeting new people and getting new friends. It is a 48 hour journey, focusing on “doing and not talking”, creating solutions based on real customer needs – and having a lot of fun!  The following video will provide a glimpse of what the Global Service is all about and revealing what the shared theme for 2015 Jam was.

During the Jam we also had inspiring presentations by Jani Turku from IMPROVement and Anton Schubert, the Head of Design at Futurice. The key message from Jani Turku was that creating new services requires you to allow yourself to play, be human, listen, say “yes, and…” instead of “no, but…”, dare to try new things and to be open-minded.

Anton Schubert talked about the importance of prototyping and how everything can actually be tested. It is just the matter of using the right tools and methods. Prototyping is about learning, failing safely and inexpensively, i.e. failing often to succeed sooner, as stated by David Kelley, the founder of IDEO.

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