Tag Archive | SID

The power of design thinking

And why you should consider using it to innovate and solve business problems.

Rashpal Bhati


On the first weekend of September amidst the beginnings of Finnish Autumn, the SID class of 2019 gathered at Laurea’s Leppävaara campus for their first contact session in Design Thinking. As we listened to the energetic tutor Katja Tschimmel, we were introduced to the history of Design Thinking.

It all started in 1969 with Herbert Simon who pondered the science of design in his book The Science of the Artificial, investigating its problem solving logic and potential place in the workplace and professional disciplines. Between 1980-90 this earlier work was further developed into visual design thinking and the design process, by Bryan Lawson (1986) and Peter Rowe (1987).

Design Thinking as a term and discipline really gained business attention during the 2000’s with publications like The Art of Innovation by Tim Brown & Jonathan Littmann as well as a seminal article in HBR by Tim Brown (2008) where Design Thinking as a business term was first popularised. Tim Brown highlighted that “Design Thinking expresses the introduction of design methods and culture into fields beyond traditional design, such as business innovation”.

Thinking like designers

Storyboarding ‘Study Buddy’ concept

This theoretical foundation led us to form student groups and explore practical design thinking for ourselves. Through the goal of designing better services for Laurea and thinking like designers we ventured into using visualization, prototyping and holistic methodology. We looked at various visual design models which explain the design thinking process, before settling on the Evolution 6² model which was followed for two days of intense group work activities culminating in the presenting of our ‘Study Buddy’ visual elevator pitch to the rest of the groups and faculty.

Many of us found the creation process rewarding and I echo Tim Brown’s sentiment from his 2008 HBR article that “Thinking like a designer can transform the way you develop products, services, processes – and even strategy.”

Design Thinking by Tim Brown, HBR, June 2008

He tales the inventor Thomas Edison whom he describes as having broken the mold of the ‘lone genius inventor’ by creating a team-based approach to innovation. We experienced the positive effects of this multidisciplinary approach first hand within our own teams. I can also identify with Brown’s sentiment that innovation is hard, and requires countless rounds of trial and error – the “99% perspiration.”

Brown explored the potential of design thinking to create customer value and market opportunity and posited that asking designers to create ideas that meet consumers’ needs and desires is strategic and leads to dramatic new forms of value. In closing he suggested that “business leaders would do well to incorporate design thinking into all phases of the innovation process.” I think this is sound advice when we look at today’s increasingly digitised economy as well as shifts in societal needs and greater environmental consciousness; society and its more engaged citizens demand action and solutions to deliver sustainable modern living with greater empathy for our shared global responsibility, incorporating the human-centered and holistic design thinking frameworks could indeed play a greater role in delivering these strategic and value driven benefits.

Usefullness of design thinking

Design Attitude by Kamil Michlewski, 2015

Kamil Michlewski in Design Attitude, 2015 discusses the usefulness of organisations taking design inspired frameworks like Design Thinking or its sub–genre Service Design to unlock their innovation pipeline to achieve meaningful business innovation objectives. Although design is “still on the margins of interest of most business schools” he states “design ideas are starting to significantly inform public service provision and policies including UK, Danish governments, and more recently, the EU has been pursuing design-inspired innovation policies. He cites gov.uk as a great example of the impact of design inspired frameworks, and refers to it as a UK government digital service run remarkably like a service design consultancy with full focus on the user with great aesthetic dimension.  Or MindLab, the Danish Government’s innovation unit that involves citizens and businesses in creating new solutions for society.

These examples Michlewski says, highlights the power of following a design-driven approach, it empowers managers and business people to think more laterally, creatively and openly, and importantly to experiment and iterate solutions within the business environment they will be deployed. This resonated with our group and following the 2-day contact session we also felt more empowered by what we had learned, and experienced firsthand, about the potential and power of design thinking.

References:

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

Tschimmel, K. (2018). Evolution 6² : An E-handbook for Practical Design Thinking for Innovation. MindShake.

Brown, T. 2008. Design Thinking. Harvard Business Review, June, 84-95.

Michlewski, Kamil 2015. Design Attitude. Farnham, Surrey: Gower.

Published 25 September 2019

Design Thinking, new superpower?

World is changing faster than ever before. Businesses are facing more and more complex issues. Management models from the days of Industrial Revolution are not so useful in the fast-moving world of today. No businesses are safe from change as world is going digital. Think about Uber and Airbnb. We want more, when we want, how we want it. Current management tools are focused on value capture but we should be focusing more on value creation. There is a need for something new.

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Design Thinking is a creative, logical tool that can facilitate innovation and transformation. Applying it to business problems empowers organizations and individuals to better understand their competitive and operational environment. It helps us to get back to the basics of human needs and human problems. Future business leaders need to be Design Thinkers. Design thinking teaches us how to bring intuition into the strategy process.

New skills are needs in the working life and therefore also education needs to change. We need skills as the ability to think creatively and critically, take initiative and work collaboratively for common goals. Design thinking offers enormous potential to improve the current educational system.

Our two-day course on Design Thinking led by Katja Tschimmel was based on the MINDSHAKE model Evolution 6, 2012 – 2016. Big part of Design Thinking is design doing and our course was exactly like that. We worked in small groups on the subject “Studying in Laurea”.

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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

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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Learning Design thinking – did I do it right?

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Katja and Mariana, our inspiring lecturers

That was my main concern during the Design Thinking course. Katja Tschimmel and Mariana Valença familiarized us with practical Design Thinking. Katja gave us introduction to design thinking, its background, literature and visual models for design thinking process. We familiarized ourselves better with The Mindshake Design thinking model: Evolution 62. The two days of studying were full of inspiring activities to get to know Evolution 62 -model in action.

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stevton.com

For some reason I had difficulties letting go of my result-oriented mind-set to complete the activities. I tried to convince myself to focus on simply learning the tools and getting to know my new classmates. But still having the “right” answers to exercises and following the given instructions precisely were my main concerns. It was frustrating and energy-consuming. My goal to have the right answers was preventing me from actually embracing the full meaning of Design Thinking. Because Design thinking is neither art nor science nor religion, it is the capacity, ultimately, for integrative thinking. Design thinkers need to have a holistic view of the problem (Brown), as in this case the holistic view of Design Thinking instead of predicting the answers.

It must had been frustrating also for my group member to have me continuously question what were we actually ideating during the Evolution 62 process. Tim Brown emphasizes that in Design thinking, failure is totally acceptable as long as it happens early and becomes a source of learning. Well, at least I got half of the failure right. After the study days I felt I had failed trying to be a design thinker but when I read more, my failure became a source of learning. Brown wrote that behaviour is never wrong or right but it is always meaningful. He of course refers to people´s behaviour when observed for insights. But I decided to use this on my own behaviour analysis. What if my result-focused way of learning was actually a coping mechanism to deal with the new situation? I have no graphic skills and as visualizing is key elements in Design thinking, this was a big source of uncertainty. And as Design Thinking is a new field for me, I needed to follow the given instructions precisely to stay on board.

Dealing with incomplete information, with the unpredictable, and with ambiguous situations, requires designers to feel comfortable with uncertainty. (D-think) This is a goal I need to keep working for, but luckily Brown wrote something that gave me hope. Don´t ask “what?” ask “why?” Asking “why?” is an opportunity to reframe a problem, redefine the constraints and open the field to a more innovative answer. (Brown) This made me realize that I was actually doing the right thing by questioning our group work, but I was asking the wrong question. In terms of learning and design thinking I should had been asking “why?” to have the answer to convince me for my worry of us heading toward the wrong result and to grasp a more holistic view of the process.

So to answer my question from the beginning – I almost did it right!

Written by
Aino Saari

Service Innovation and Design MBA Student

Sources
Brown, Tim 2009. Change by design: how design thinking can transform organizations and inspire innovation. New York: HarperCollins Publishers.
Tschimmel, Katja; Santos, Joana; Loyens, Dirk; Jacinto, Alexandre; Monteiro, Rute & Valenca, Mariana 2015. Research Report D-Thinkhttp://blog.mindshake.pt/category/research/

Playfull innovation

Play has evolved as an advantageous and necessary aspect of behaviour. Why is it then that we so often leave it on other side of the office door? (Michlewski & Buchanan, 2016)

playground

The power of Design Thinking

Design Thinking is as a creative way of thinking which leads to transformation and evolution of new forms of living and to new ways of managing business. Designers not only develop innovative solutions by working in teams with colleagues and partners, but also in collaboration with the final users.

Its visual tools (drawing, sketching, mapping, prototyping, brainstorm, etc) help professionals to identify, visualize, solve problems and preview problems in innovative ways. Enable designer inquire about a future situation or solution to a problem and transform unrealized ideas into something to build on and to discuss with colleagues, final customers and other stakeholders.

Design Thinking characteristics are analytical and emphatic, rational and emotional, methodical and intuitive, oriented by plans and constraints, but spontaneous.

Models

Several process models have been presented. The criteria used to choose the more appropriate model include the characteristics of the task, its context, the number and composition of the team and its dynamic and the available time for the innovation process.

Some examples are: IDEO’s 3 I and HCD Models; Model of the Hasso-Plattner Institute; 4 D or Double Diamond Model of the British Council; Service Design Thinking (SDT) Model; Evolution 6² Model.

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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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Better service for elderly people – Global Service Jam 2015 challenge

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The Global Service Jam is a non-profit volunteer event organized by an informal network of service design enthusiasts. The Jam has a staff of none and a budget of nearly nothing. Amazing! I heard about the Jam when I started my MBA studies in Services Innovation and Design Programme at Laurea University of Applied Sciences. And in 2015 I was able to join this inspiring activity!

The secret theme was revealed globally on Friday Feb 27 at 6.30pm (local time)… The ideation began immediately and the theme was.. not known!  See the starting video here. For me it took some time to realize that we don’t actually have a theme. We were divided in groups. Members of each group got empty A4 papers, one for each person. Then you were asked to fold up the paper to 8 segments and to write one challenge to every segment. When that was done, you handed over your ideas to a person next to you. Everyone shared three stars for the ideas on the paper and handed the paper over again to the next person.. That continued until you got your own paper back, and shared three stars to your own ideas. It was possible to give all the stars to one idea, or share the three stars between the eight ideas. Finally, we counted the stars given to each challenge and picked up the ideas with the most of stars. We grouped those ideas and decided what the challenge we want to get grips with is.

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The focus of Global Service Jam this year was on prototyping and a key jam philosophy was “doing, not talking”. Global Service Jam lasted 48 hours and it is a long time to do team work. If we noticed that we are stuck and the planning is not going forward, we took the main philosophy do, not talk into the use again. We concentrated more on doing, and suddenly noticed that our project work started to be productive again.

Our team was interested in studying services available for elderly people in Finland. These days all the services go online and many aged persons don’t know how to use computers. Loneliness is also a growing problem among older people. Personal contacts get limited in this online world.

Our team consisted of four persons. Marja is Finnish, I’m also Finnish. Ecaterina (Cathy) was from Romania and Catherine from Kenya. We decided to study user experiences, so went to Leppävaara Espoo to interview people on the street. Catherine and I were a pair, and Marja and Cathy another pair. We discussed with people about this topic and it was interesting to notice that people were willing to talk – even in Finland, where people don’t normally open up to strangers on the street. This also showed how important this topic was. Younger people talked about their grandparents who need help with online services. Middle-aged people discussed about their parents, and of course we talked with elderly people as well.

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What we learnt: We found out that people over 70 don’t typically use computers, and they don’t even want to learn. Sometimes children and/or grandchildren help but they may live far way. Companies and supervisors (so-called trustees) are not trusteed. Elderly people believed that banks will offer services for them in the future too, but personal services get more expensive all the time. Trustworthy parties are libraries, banks and public service points (yhteispalvelupiste in Finnish). Major problem is that all the gadgets like mobile phones get more technical year by year. Devices get smaller. If you call for example to a health care service number, and an answerphone asks you to press number one and then a # key, that can be difficult if you don’t see well, or you cannot hear well.

We created a persona, Annikki 80 years old, who was a person we wanted to plan for.

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And empathy map helped us to develop a service concept further.

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I want to thank mentors who volunteered to help teams in a service development work. All you needed to do was to press the rubber chicken and the help was there.

In case of emergency

Based on the feedback we received by interviews, we started to plan a new service for elderly people. The idea was to found a Café Safe Haven that provides needed services in a cozy and home-like environment. It would be a place to meet people, to remove loneliness, and to solve every day problems in a secure environment (next to the familiar place like a library). We built a prototype of the café and filmed a customer journey video for our final presentation that took place on Sunday Feb 29.

Video:

The services could be refunded by government or RAY (Finnish Slot Machine Association that does charity). And members could afford to pay a small membership fee with the money they save when they don’t need to pay expensive service fees for banks anymore.

It was educational and also fun to create a totally new service in 48 hours’ timeframe. I definitely courage everyone interested in Services Design to take a chance to participate in next Global Service Jam! It is worth it! Trust me.

Anne Hirvonen, 1st year student in SID program, Laurea University of Applied Sciences

References

Global Service Jam: http://planet.globalservicejam.org/
GovJam: https://www.facebook.com/HelsinkiServiceJam

Young designer from Norway, experiments with using visualization tools and methods from service design thinking, to enhance engagement of previous prisoners and troubled youth

Caroline Chaffin, a Norwegian student who is about to graduate with an MBA degree in Service Innovation and Design, wanted to do something different for her Master thesis. With a previous background from Healthcare and Social entrepreneurship, she wanted to find a case company with a social purpose, which allowed her to work close with the end-users of the service offering. She states that: «When working as a social entrepreneur, nurse or service designer, what I find in common is being an ambassador for the end-users, and having the ability to create real value, for real people. This was a requirement when starting my thesis journey».

Caroline is an active networker and found the case company for her thesis, by attending the Norwegian Social Entrepreneurship conference, in Oslo February 2014. The conference was hosted by one of Norway’s largest investors within the field; FERD, and Monsterbedriften won the title as social entrepreneurs of the year.

Monsterbedriften is a Norwegian social entrepreneur, who wants to help former prisoners and people who have not completed their education, or have trouble getting work. Helping youth who are found among a marginalized group in the society, is an important target group, which has increased in Norway during the last decade.

Caroline used Monsterbedriften as a case company in her thesis, and the focus was on the internal customers. In the case company the internal customers are the staff, and can also be considered as end-users. This is argued by the company’s vision: to help as many people as possible get a new start in life and pay it forward, which emphasize giving staff, a life outside unemployment, drugs and criminality.

Monsterbedriften’s service offering towards internal customers involves work experience, housing, coaching and a family environment. Unlike traditional businesses where the service takes place during a specific time, the service offering in Monsterbedriften often becomes «the staff´s entire world», and they have their own values (Monsterbedriften values).

The title of Caroline’s thesis was: «Enhancing engagement of internal customers in a social business through extensive use of visualization». The purpose of her thesis was to enhance engagement of internal customers in a social business. The aim was to apply service thinking, service design methods and visualization tools for enhancement of customer engagement. The project took place from February-November 2014. An overview can be found in Model 1.

                                                                                  Model 1: Purpose and aim of thesis. 

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The Evolution of a Service Concept – Case FORGE

The course New Service Development and Innovative Business Models brought us first real life experience in service innovation and design by working in groups on an existing service concept offered by FORGE Service Lab. FORGE, mothered by Digile, is a non-profit accelerator for digital service creation with the ultimate goal to assist boosting the internationalization of Finnish companies. Being still a young business, FORGE asked for our ideas to validate or challenge their value proposition and how to strengthen the role of Service Design in their offering.

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At first, our team struggled with what seemed to be a very vague service idea and to fully understand what FORGE actually wants to offer to what kind of customers. A lot of time was spent trying to shed more light onto this by discussions within our group and together with a FORGE representative. None of this seemed to move us forward. In retrospect this was a good thing – working in service design, this will be a standard situation one should embrace in order to let creativity run free without getting caught up in trying to figure out everything in the very beginning of the process.

In conjunction with the course Deep Customer Insights through Ethnographic Research our team set out to conduct interviews with potential FORGE customers or organizations that could help bring more clarity to the needs of Finnish companies when it comes to developing digital services. We individually interviewed a technology company, the City of Helsinki, a luxury watch manufacturer, a representative from hospitality management, and a co-housing company. Even though the interviews mainly brought us insights speaking against the need for a service like FORGE’s, we took this as a great starting point to find ideas on how to improve the offering, starting from the value proposition.

A great help in this was working with CoCo Cosmos and simultaneously with the service logic business model canvas. Through CoCo we managed to create a clear service flow from a company’s idea for a new digital service, their need to validate this idea and to find the right partners to develop it further, until commercializing the now existing new digital service. The service logic business model canvas help us to figure out the “what’s really in it for me” part from customer perspective.

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Image: CoCo Cosmos – Evolution of FORGE’s service idea

Visualizing the digital service development journey via CoCo enabled us to realize that there are different building blocks and the thought arose that customers should be able to pick the blocks they need and drop others. In addition, we realized that a FORGE customer does not just want to develop a digital service. The customer wants to find out if this digital service will bring profit in the end. We took this point as one of the main items used to develop FORGE’s offering and value proposition further.

After presenting our enhanced service concept and value propositions, we received additional feedback from FORGE and based on that finalized our proposal for them. This concluded our journey through a real life service design project from an fuzzy starting point to conducting interviews over to using service design tools to bring order to the still fuzzy chaos and to finally uncover a service flow with room for improvements. What studying service innovation and design has taught us so far was confirmed during this hands-on experience with FORGE: There is always room for improvement and service companies should welcome this fact to keep evolving and growing.

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Image: FORGE in a visual nutshell, according to us 

By Corina Maiwald, SID student


References

Ojasalo, K. & Ojasalo, J. 2015. Adapting Business Model Thinking to Service Logic: An Empirical Study on Developing a Service Design Tool. In Gummerus, J. & von Koskull, C. (eds.) The Nordic School – Alternative Perspectives on Marketing and Service Management. Helsinki, Finland: Publications of Hanken School of Economics. (in print).