Tag Archive | value proposition

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).

Creating a Service Design Concept for FORGE Service Lab

(c) FORGE Service Lab

(c) FORGE Service Lab

A couple of months ago our SID 2014 group started the courses New Service Development and Innovative Business Models, as well as Deep Customer Insights Through Ethnographic Research. As learning by developing is the key in this Master degree program we were about to get hands on with a real life research and service development process. The case company we got an assignment from was DIGILE, more specifically their FORGE Service Lab.

What are DIGILE and FORGE Service Lab?

DIGILE is the Center for Science, Technology and Innovation (SHOK) focusing on Internet economy and related technologies and business. You can learn more about DIGILE from their website.

FORGE Service Lab has been created to accelerate the digitalization of services in Finland. It is a development laboratory, where digital services can be created. The video below shows an illustration of the journey that FORGE Service Lab can offer to the world of digitalized services.

Working on the assignment

We were divided into teams of five and the task was to create a customer value proposition and service design support concept for FORGE Lab. We started our assignment in October’s contact session by staring to analyze the current state of FORGE Service Lab, and we also had the opportunity to discuss with DIGILE’s two representatives. After the classes each of us was to conduct an interview with a current or potential FORGE Service Lab customer.

After the interviews we continued our work in teams in November’s contact session. Based on our customer insight findings it was time to have an interactive workshop using the CoCo Tool Kit, which is a collection of tools and a workbook designed to support service businesses in adapting co-creation activities. I actually wish we had had more time exploring with the CoCo Tool Kit. If you would like to know more about the tool kit please check these pages.

In November’s workshop we also worked on creating a Service-Logic Based Business Model Canvas for FORGE Service Lab. Service-Logic Business Model Canvas is a modification of the most popular business model framework and takes into account the service logic principles (Ojasalo & Ojasalo 2014). The purpose was to clarify the value proposition and redesign the service concept. We were to reflect on what could be the valuable service design support that FORGE offers to its customers. It was challenging I must say, as we also had to consider a systematic and efficient approach that enables creation of innovative, global services and raises the Finnish competence level towards leading position. Below is a picture of how our canvas looked after the workshop, so we still had a lot be accomplished and refined.

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Developing Innovative Ideas for New Companies: The First Step in Entrepreneurship

Innovation is all about making a difference in people life‘s, and it starts with an idea.

This idea needs to resonate with customer needs, create the appropriate market attraction, find the right value network to grow, justify its financial costs and last but not least have a potential return on the investment.

For that many aspects about innovative ideas need to be understood, starting with the person who take the idea from being an abstract idea to be a reality (AKA the entrepreneur) and what qualities he / she should have. What innovation means, and how it can create a real value for all of its stakeholders. What is the industry context we are going to work in and what are the market forces that we need to take for. How we are going to build a sustainable business model to support growing our dreams and business. Last but not least, how we are going to find a real market needs and get the appropriate customer understanding.

All these and more were the topics within this interesting course “Developing Innovative Ideas for New Companies” which was named #1  Entrepreneurship Course on Coursera by CourseTalk’s “Top Rated” MOOCs.

This blog post is an attempt to go through the course material in a moderate way and provide the key insights and knowledge that you can take with you within your entrepreneurial journey! So I hope you find it useful.

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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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Are visual design skills important for service designers?

Figure 1: Blog post mind map.

To understand and develop service design we need to combine knowledge from different areas, as business administration, publishing, marketing, psychology, journalism, design, mathematics, ethnography, among others. Every service solution will need a better understand of context, user needs and usage.

The natural born service designer is beholder, curious, focused, communicative, organized and creative. Among other proficiencies, we need to develop the visual design skills. Designers communicate in a visual or an object language as symbols, signs, and metaphors. They are used for sketching, diagrams and technical drawings to translate abstract requirements into concrete objects.

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