A couple of weeks ago, Snook spent time in Kuopio, Finland, courtesy of Satu Miettinen after Lauren had been a couple of years ago on her ‘Finland Frolicks’. We were invited to teach at the Savonia University of Applied Sciences.We had heard good things from Lauren’s Finland Frolics in 2010. We were working with the fantastic Work Play Experience who use theatrical tools in Service Design, a very refreshing take on the discipline.
The visit was to run the Winter Service Design School at the university. Working over two days we were taking the students and staff from initial research and film ethnography to concepts which will be prototyped for real. The topic was designing for the elderly. We looked at three strands:
- Elderly service users in hospital
- Elderly people living at home
- Elderly people living in care homes
We began with the fantastic warm up from Adam and Markus of Work Play Experience. Anyone who has had the pleasure of being part of a WPX workshop before will know what it is like to warmed up in the company of rubber chickens. The duo wake up the left and right hand side of the brain using some bizarre exercises, but it works, and participants are left wide eyed, determined and ready for some hard work.
We were working from personas that had been created by the students and interviewees in the format of films. We wanted the group to empathise with the personas they were working with so we sat everyone down in groups of three and let participants take on the role of their persona. By simply having a conversation with one another as the people they were designing for, the group were able to dig deeper and understand what it is like to be a user.
Grouping back together and pulling out insights was a tough leap for the workshop participants. At first, they kept referring to what they knew about their personas. But after some probing we began to pull out interesting themes about the change in situation for elderly people when health changes, how people move from independent to dependent. An interesting observation was about the points in people’s lives where people drift from families to becoming wholly dependent on them again, and looking at these points to delve deeper into.
Working with the three themes we then brainstormed ideas, in a quick, speed dating scenario. Groups then settled on ideas and we set to work on the more difficult part; thinking of them in terms of services, rather than just concepts.
Using story boarding and rapid prototyping we attempted to expand the group’s thinking from single idea to service. It was difficult and this is always the biggest leap in imagination. It was tough and we didn’t quite get there on the first day, but the second day really pushed the groups to expand their concepts to ‘fit’ into real scenarios and complex systems.
Starting with Work Play Experience, the participants were put through their paces to improvise and act their ideas out Supported by Adam and Markus the team who had developed the Skype service for elderly people living in homes had to really start thinking about how this would operate as a service. By re-enacting the service as a nurse and an elderly woman in a wheelchair problems began to arise that the group would need to design around. A great way to make participants consider how to design, not just generate ideas!!
Snook then led the group through a blueprinting exercise, to consider how people might become aware of their new service concepts, join, use and then ‘leave’ them. We focused on starting in the middle, the ‘use’ part of a blueprint to outline the value proposition. Breaking down the blueprint to front stage, back stage, and actions of both customer and staff. We asked workshop to participants to think about what happens before and after the use part of a service experience.
We ended the fast paced second day with three presentations. We sent the ideas out into the world for feedback via twitter only 30 minutes before. We received some great feedback so thank you to those who commented. We had;
“Care in a Queue – adapted #iPad for patients in #healthcare: contact, care, entertainment 4 elderly outpatients in hospital. #servicedesign”
“Feel free, connect in ur social life: flexible transport options. Welcome to the Senior Cheer-up Bus! #healthcare #servicedesign”
“Closer from a distance: connect with beloved relatives via “Skype for the elderly”. Easy for people in #healthcare centres. #servicedesign”
All the presentations were great! Ideally, the next step for groups would be to move into some live prototyping but really focus on fitting them into the context of existing systems around them.
We would also really like to go back to Finland again, it’s a very beautiful country with some fantastic food.
If you’d like to know more about this kind of work, contact firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll see if we can help.