The Service Design and Service Innovation Conference is the premier research conference within service design and service innovation.
The 3rd Service Design and Service Innovation Conference was held 8-10 February 2012 at Laurea University of Applied Sciences. SID Campus Leppävaara is located in World Design Capital Area, Espoo, next to Helsinki.

These notes are some of my findings, experiences, inspirations and takes from the conference.

To get an overview of the conference, here is the programme of the 3-day event with Pre-Conference Day, Research Day and Business Day.

Pre-Conference Day

PreConference Day started off at WeeGee Exhibition Center in Espoo, which also houses the EMMA (Espoo Museum of Modern Art). After an introduction and splitting into groups we were brought to three out of nine locations to develop service ideas, concepts and prototypes for one hour each.

Hanassari Cultural Center / Conference Center
They focus on the culture and kitchen of the north. Located on the edge of Helsinki right on the water, they offer great possibilities for health, fitness and wellbeing.
Being a hotel, restaurant and a conference center, we developed ideas and alternative services in a service-cafe setup. Topics were the Menu, how to better use the location, how to improve customer service for conference organizers and participants, and how to better gather and use feedback from conference guests to further improve the experience.

HSL/HRT
The Helsinki Regional Transport Service provides Bus-, Train- and Tram-Services in the Helsinki Region.
With most of the participants being tourists to the city, this offered a great opportunity to gain insights into the travelling experience for this target group. In a Customer Journey Map participants suggested ideas and improvements, noted problems and difficulties, and gave valuable feedback from their professional experiences in similar and related fields.

It is important to take a look at our pre-conceptions, like people being able to read and understand english or being able to read a map.

Some cultures don’t work like that, and alternative offerings for these groups might be helpful.

Aalto University
In a 3-part Workshop on developing services for elderly people in a model community scenario as part of 356wellbeing, we were given material of previous groups to build upon.

The students of the university why had prepared the workshop had devoped different cards to focus ideation like DeBonos Six Thinking Hats.
They were „Theme Cards“, „Ideacards“, „Successs Indicators“ and „Risks and Opportunities Cards“.

The findings were presented at the reception in Helsinki later that day. Adam Lawrence and Markus Hormess gave one of their legendary #BoomwowWowWOWBOOM performances.
The points they are making are simple: Have a dramatic arc in your service, and make sure your sequencing is right. And most importantly: HAVE FUN 🙂

Some more impressions: here!


Research Day

Mornings Presentations by Chris Pearson of the Cambridge Service Alliance at the Institute of Manufaturing presented their work on massive and highly complex innovation work i.e. in the defense sector.
It became evident very quickly during the presentation that what the CSA do in regards to Innovation Processes, the approaches, tools and processes they use differ greatly from what we use as servicedesigners. Their clients can not be approached by pretty designer-presentations. They have to talk the talk and walk the walk of the classic business world to be heard. If they dont, they won’t even get access and be taken seriously. This is certainly something we designers will need to adapt to, in order be have the impact we want to make on the world.

The presentation of the PHD Thesis by Jakob Trischler focused on “ The concept of on-going interactions in co-design“ on a theoretical level. He quotes John Thackara „We are all Designers“. I hope we can link to his presentation here soon.

A presentation on „Community-Centered Design approach to developing Service Prototypes“ by Daria Cantu showed some of the techniques used and required in order to deploy service design mathods and tools over a larger area and many people. This could also be applied to other Public Sector Projects.

@BerraMakeIt presented „The Ethical Ecology of Service Design“.
He questioned and challenged the ethical motivations and responsibilities of Designers and Service Designers.


Afternoon Presentations / Workshops:
I would like to thank Mattias Arvola for his presentation on „A Service Walkthrough in Astrid Lindgren’s Footsteps“.

Nargis Guseynova presented a project in cooperation with a mental health facility in Helsinki, also as part of 365wellbeing
In her presentation „Emotions in design process – How to find an emotional touchpoint with the user“ she made a very compelling arguement for establishing trust, curiosity and motivation in users.

„Trust is an essential ingredient in cooperative human interaction“ (Norman, 2004)

She showed a typical journey of a mental health care patient in and out of care, which painted a disturbing picture of the reality of mental health care and outlined the urgency of her work very convincingly. She also shared her experiences when working in such a highly sensitive environment, for example not being able to take pictures of the patients, but refering to sketchings instead.

Stuart G. Baileys presentation on „Embedding service design: the long and the short of it“ gave insight into his work with „Skills Development Scotland“, a career building initiative in Scotland. He has been working with them for the last 4 years, Sarah Drummond of Snook also wrote a Masters Thesis with them.

He points out the problems between innovation-process timeframes and corporate timeframes, where innovation cycles usually are a lot longer and need more time than the corporate (quarterly report?) cycle permits them and the problems this creates for design teams.

These problems can only be solved with an embedding of design culture and commitment on a corporate level.

He then shows his findings in the innovation process in companies and organizations with in-house design departments, and the cycle of innovation creation.

His 10 Lessons for in-house teams were:

  • Common Language by engaging with designers and agencies
  • staff needs to be able to understand
  • dissemination, visually laying it out
  • working alongside, rubbing shoulders with frontline staff
  • users start using tools themselves, i.e. storyboarding etc.
  • results promote confidence in process, give value to design process, tools, methods
  • changing from risk-avers and failure punishment to one of iteration

Build Capacity more than Readyness“

Minka Rössner and Annika Hertz-Schlag present „Join to Create – Hybrid value creation through partnering“. They reference for example projects like Nike+, a partnership between Nike and Apple to create a new service-offering for customers by two partnering companies.
The phases they point out are

  1. Cross-Organizational development & strategy
  2. Idea Generation
  3. Finding a partner and „dating“ to gage opportunities
  4. Development of collaborative business models & contracts
  5. Partnering Models: Concept & Development of a PSS
  6. Marketing Tools
  7. Performance Measurement

The final workshop of the day then was Marc Stickdorn, Markus Hormess and Adam Lawrence with „How to design a service business model“.
They present a quick way to integrate tools such as Stakeholder Maps, User Journeys, Personas and Service Ads into the Business Model Canvas. Very engaging and fun.

Also see here for a summary for ServDes – DAY 2


Business Day

Business Day kicked off with a great presentation by Prof. Evert Gummesson, Stockholm University School of Business on „Designing a complex service system“.
He points out that any product can be perceived as a service product, as the user has to use it and therefore self-service it.
He also criticizes that the current academic article publishing race will increase mediocracy in the work, as the publishing itself sometimes is more important than the content.

„In the future, design is not about creating but doing, not about using but wearing out.“ Anne Stenros, Kone

Anne Stenros, Vice President, Design, KONE Corporation (Finland) spoke about the challenges of generation Flux, and navigating the VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex, ambiguous) environment. She illustrated on her lighthouse model she uses in architectural design of trends, concepts (1-2y), scenarios (5-10y) and utopias (10+) and criticizes the disappearence of utopias.

Anna Thygesen of Prime Time Kommunikation opened with a warning: „People are not idiots, they are your customers!“ She works and has worked in the past with clients of all areas on developing a stronger customer focus in their brand as part of Prime Time Kommunikation in Denmark.

Some of the points she made:

  • companies dont know enough about their customers or buying behaviour
  • companies develop products because they can, not because there is a need.
  • In a „Maslow“ sense, we dont „need“ most products
  • customers ask: what’s in it for me?
  • How to fulfil expectations of your customer? Be transparent, make things clear what to expect, then surpass that.
  • People brand themselve with nice products. How do they orchestrate their life with your product?“

Afternoon Workshops

Jussi Sorsimo of Culminatum Innovation moderated a discussion group on „Solving wicked challenges by codesign“. He introduced a scenario of local health care innovation needs and the problem with unforseeable stakeholders, massive bureaucracy, budget- and time-restraints. His findings were that in order to solve this wicked problem, the service system had to instill behavioural change in people. Models suggested were a Danish political satire TV Show that had influenced real policy participation, and a need for more public briefings instead of procurement to specific, under-specified problems which limit innovation capabilities. Key values to be instilled were Trust, Involvement and Transparency.

The Workshop „Anticipation of Service 2.0: In Exploration of the next Generation of Services“ by Mahmoud AbdelRahman, Mr. Abdalla of Service2org inspired the development of a vision for future services.
The attributes of future service he presented were

  • Radical Trust
  • Folksonomy vs. Taxonomy
  • Viral Marketing
  • Crowd of Wisdom
  • Perpetual Beta (vs. release early, release often)
  • Design for hackability / user-expandability
  • Data Centricity

Here is the presentation in full!

During the Hands-On part we developed a health-care service that would work offline and in low-income cities such as Bogota.


Pictures of ServDes:

ServDes Snowball Fight 2012:

Version 2011 with rules explained: