Tag Archive | workshop

Practise, practise, practise.

Michihito Mizutani from Siili Solutions held a short introduction to service design as a part of Design Track in School of Startups. Instead of inclusive theory lesson, he kept the workshop more hands on. His work history is strongly related to user experience and service design. Currently he is facilitating co-creation design workshops in different subfields such as Internet of Things, augmented reality, service design processes.

I enjoyed about having the opportunity to get hands on experience on different kinds of tools. I believe that practise is important in order to learn design process methods and facilitating workshops related in the matter. I also felt more confident after the workshop. Mizutani used a climbing metaphor to explain design process. You have a starting point and a goal where you want to go. The process happens in between and there is the work.



The content of the workshop was well presented. After forming groups it was time to find a problem, create outcome (tomorrow headline) and between we used tools to solve the problem and figured out ways to illustrate and test the ideas. The problem ideating was well thought: first we all thought by ourselves general problems in everyday life and wrote them down to post it notes. After that we collected problems, clustered them and used three votes each to determine the ones that would proceed in the process. Common problems that got most votes were chosen to be worked with in teams. The reason I think problem ideating was well implemented was the level of work. Having common grounds helps the team to work with the solution. General identification is important because the team needs to be on the same page. In that sense problem finding was a good excerise.


Using tomorrow headlines, SAP scenes and Marvel POP for prototyping was good practise because you need to know the tools you use. It migh have been good to have a little bit more introduction to the tools, since some of us were using them for the first time. In order to use tools efficiently in short period time would require a short introduction to principles so that working would be more smooth.



For me the workshop gave opportunity to also reflect my skills as a facilitator and a member of a team. For example, I noticed that my team members had a little difficulty in defining the tomorrow headline in unison and what kind of prototype we would create. I tried to focus staying neutral and help teammates to collaborate. Some people have hard time to give up their initial idea when collaborating and co-creating. Making sure everyone gets heard isn’t easy, and I wanted to practise that also. It might have been good if the facilitator would have time to see each groups working process more. There were eight teams of three people going through the design process, which is a lot to juggle alone.

That juggling leads me to my key learnings when facilitating service design process. This workshop reminded me of my other course, where I’m currently planning and later executing a workshop. Some of these thing scame from this workshop and others are ideas that originated later. Firstly: timing. Timing is crucial factor for me when facilitating a design workshop. Having adequate time for all the steps in process ensures good results. Plannig tables according to aquired team sizes ready before the workshop, helps people to set up in the right places right away, so suffling tables around would’t be nececcary. In the beginning the whole group also might need support when narrowing down the options. For example  clustering might be done by facilitator to make things smooth. Clear instructions on diffecent phases are important, and I believe it is handy to leave them on display when working starts. People tend to forget easily.

For me it makes sense, that when organizing a design workshop, it might be a good idea to have two persons present. Then you have two sets of eyes and hands to help teams to work efficiently. Some teams need help from the facilitator in order to move forward. Having two people facilitating gives opportunity to keep everything in order: clear instructions, support for the teams, timing, handing out supplies etc. Nothing is more frustrating than running out of time just before it is time to present your results to the other participants. That would leave the workshop incomplete.

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The author Siru Sirén is MBA student in Futures Studies and Customer-Oriented Services in Laurea UAS// Licenced social service professional

I, Roadblock of Innovation

IMG_3885Creating new service in a established organisation is hard, very hard if you take the word for the speakers of last weeks breakfast seminar, Perkele! held at the Tennispalatsi movie theatre.

Unsurprisingly, the big two challenges are the onboarding of fellow employees and fighting the rigid organisational structures that are built to support the existing businesses.

When one is creating something new, one is bound to step on somebody’s toes, bend the rules, or work on the gray area, which all are likely to cause friction in the organisation. According to a speaker, the best indicator that one is doing something great is the amount of negative phone calls one gets from ones colleagues, saying that something one does is impossible or shouldn’t be attempted at all.

But why do we become such roadblocks of innovation and not embrace the change?

Having worked for more than fifteen years in the ict services industry, I’ve already witnessed first-hand the shifting priorities of co-workers from eager and opionated to playing it safe at the workplace.

The older we grow, the more time we’ve had to explore and refine our taste. Our life may focus more around the family. All this leads to the fact that we are spending less time discovering new things and more doing the things we love.

DiffusionofideasMy perception is that we all move in the Everett Rogers’ Diffusion of Innovatios scale from innovators to laggards almost unknowingly, if we do not put conscious effort into exposing ourselves to new ideas. The less we are exposed, the more the new ideas start to frighten us and more likely we are to hold on to the facts and working patterns we already are familiar with.

So then, how to get colleagues out of their shells?

According to one of the Service design thinking luminaries, Marc Stickdorn, the best way to get people involved and cheer for the project is to create a safe place, where everybody can participate and fail without fear of losing face.

To create a safe environment the colleagues need to be led to forget rank, job description or competence and get to know the others personally. This might take time, but luckily there are plenty of methods that help to set the tone of the workshop or a meeting where new business is being innovated.

The simplest thing one can do is to hold a meeting standing up. This might not sound a big of a change, but standing up people are using their bodies more to communicate and it prevents them checking email or computer, making them present in the meeting. Better yet, hold the meeting walking outside. Some people even go as far as in Helsinki, where employees bring their colleagues to their homes to work for a day.

Another good tip from Mr Stickdorn is to start a workshop with a pair discussion, where either of the pair starts with a phrase “Let’s go on a trip together, I’d like to travel to X” and the another responds “Yes, but Y”. The original person counters “Yes, but Z”. After two minutes, do the exercise again, but this time, instead of “but”, say “and”. It is remarkable how the tone is different in these two discussions.

When ones colleagues get to know each other well, they are less likely to frown and reject new ideas.

And if there are something that have been proven time and time again, an enthusiastic person with an idea is way more powerful than any organisational hurdle, which is there only to keep the business standing still.

Are you a Designer?

I am a designer!

How many of you consider yourself as a designer? This was one of the first questions we were asked in our service design workshop at Lahti University of Applied Sciences on October 9th 2012.

Probably you can guess the answer, roughly half of the participants raised their hands. Then it was time to wake people a bit. We were asked to draw twenty different pictures, and for every picture there was 5 seconds time for drawing. After the exercise Bas Leurs, one of our teachers from Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences announced: Now you all are designers! Yes, he is correct, everyone is a designer.

Why and when do we design?

One student expressed well the reason for design: “We must design because we are not perfect”. Continue reading