Designing for Services 2019

DfS2019 course – probing kit from
Molly Balcom Raleigh & Team Sinfonietta

The Design for Services course addresses the application of service design in initiating and supporting transformations in public, third sector and private organizations, as well as explores changes in technology and potentials of open innovation and networking. The focus is on holistic, human-centred and co-design approaches.

The course took place in autumn 2019 and was once again arranged in collaboration with the City of Espoo. The collaboration focused on applying and adjusting service design tools and frameworks in practice and seeking solutions with collaborative partners. Five student groups worked on briefs provided by the City of Espoo, each related to different areas in Espoo and challenges related to them. The projects were carried out in the time scope of six weeks.

The projects

Tapiola Sinfonietta

Authors: Alessia Menegolli, Christopher Gros, Jing Zhu, Lotte Hoeksma, Molly Balcom Raleigh, Stanislaw MacLeod

Resilience through Relationships

Tapiola Sinfonietta is a 30-year-old chamber orchestra funded by the City of Espoo and based in the Espoon Kulttuurikeskus, which is the subject of a proposed renovation. During this time, Tapiola Sinfonietta needs to relocate their concerts to other venues. The original brief tackled the challenge of creating new solutions on how to engage an existing body of active clients to participate in co-creating a good and improved service experience.

One main finding from our research was the existence of an invisible web of relationships that connects the audiences of the Tapiola Sinfonietta. This web consists of weak social bonds between nodes of strong relationships. With this in mind, we focused our work to embrace an organizational change that supports resilience in the audience – something that will last beyond renovation. In other words, we shifted from designing touchpoints to design strategy.

Our proposal focuses on creating a change from a vulnerable to resilient community. It has three components: Design Principles, Engagement Plan, and Tools & Ideas.

Youth Participation



Authors: Inês Ramalhão, Jui-Fan Yang, Masafumi Kawachi, Srushti Shah, Xuyang Zhang

Increasing the participation level of youth in Espoo in Art and Culture activities

The challenge related to youth participation in the City of Espoo culture activities is, that there is no particular person or entity that would coordinate and look holistically to this field. Therefore, the aim was to develop Art and Culture services through participation. The original brief asked 1) how to involve young people in developing casual after school activities 2) how to advance youth’s participation when developing interests in art and culture opportunities and 3) how to engage youth to rethink and improve the offering?

Our concept is based on the idea that there should be a platform through which youth, service organizers and Art and Culture unit can better connect and communicate with each other and thus help service providers to better understand young people. In addition, the proposed concept allows youth to participate in the decision-making part of the activity arrangement. In this way the participation level of the youth in art and culture activities will be increased from giving opinions to co-planning level.

Our proposal includes all-inclusive platform service blueprint and suggestions for immediate action and pilot project to test the feasibility.

Voice of the Youth



Authors: Jiayang Sun, Wang Songye, Yanran Wu, Nehal Jain, Michel Nader Sayun, Tuomas Jussila

Strategy for youth participation

The aim of our partner, Kulttuuri Espoo, is to increase the percentage of people engaging in a hobby by encouraging the youth to participate in arts and culture activities. According to brief, this could prevent alienation and social inequality, particularly in vulnerable segments of the population.

Through our field research, including interviews, observations and a workshop, we understood how participation differs between different cultural and economic segments of Espoo’s population. Although most teenagers participate in activities, a group of them do not. Furthermore, the youth has no channels to influence the decision making. Therefore, based on our research on the arts and culture system in Espoo, our team focused on unifying and redefined the role of Kulttuuri Espoo and their relationship with the youth and the service providers.

Our proposal includes new strategy and vision for Kulttuuri Espoo, as well as tools and forms of interventions – such as Peer Research method for gathering information from the youth –
to achieve and implement the new strategy.

Espoo Residents



Authors: Irma Savolainen, Lin Liu, Mingyue Hu, Senciria Chou, Xingze Guo, Zihao Xie

Designing for Citizens Participation in the city of Espoo

The City of Espoo currently provides more than four hundred types of services for its citizens to use. Because of the complex service network and multiple access points, Espoo wanted to centralize its digital services with an application to provide easier citizen access and foster
participation. Therefore, the goal of the challenge for the team included research about how citizen participation could be conducted in Espoo and in what ways the communication between the city and its citizens could be improved.

The team figured that in order to build a life-long, truly participatory relationship between Espoo and its citizens, it is necessary to include the citizens in the development of the services. The team developed a co-creation solution and a digital toolkit for the city to better understand its citizens.

Our proposal suggests, that through the co-creating process, Espoo can find out what problems citizens are facing, and ask them how they would like to solve the said issues. The solution reduces the communication gap between the city and its citizens and promotes a meaningful way of participation.

Espoo Business



Authors: Deniz Ibanoglu, Daud Imran Bin Shamsul Amri, Natalia Villaman, Serpil Oguz, Xiaoyi Cheng

Business Espoo is a relatively young network organization located in the City of Espoo. The idea behind this project was to create a platform for businesses to be aware and to be able to access all services related to their activities in one place. The proposed brief for this project
was the following: What kind of elements could increase the feeling of community of companies located in Espoo, in relation to the development, functionalities, offering and use of the
[Open Espoo] app? The expected outcome was to develop, improve or suggest changes so an app could bridge the existing gap.

After having developed an initial understanding about the relationship between local Companies and Business Espoo, we decided to rebrief in order to establish a new way of moving forward. Shifting the focus of Business Espoo’s role from front-end to back-end seemed like the most appropriate solution, as well as providing them with a strategic framework which would enable the City of Espoo to be equipped to take a leadership and coordination position within the Business Espoo organizational network to better serve companies in Espoo.

Our proposal, the Strategy Framework solution intends to help representatives of the City of Espoo manage the day to day development and coordination of actors within Business Espoo. Its intention is to make sense of the complex web of services and relationship dynamics within Business Espoo and facilitates concrete action to be taken.

Comments from the Espoo partners about collaborating with DfS

Mutual learning opportunities & desirable partnership

There has been several years of collaboration with the City of Espoo and the Designing for Services course. Espoo finds that the mutual learning between the City organization and Aalto accumulates as the collaboration continues. Therefore, according to Espoo representatives, they find the partnership beneficial and desirable, as evidenced by the growing number of willing partners within the City. (At the moment, not all brief providers are able to get involved.)

In the future, coordinating the Aalto collaboration could be someone’s job/ work assignment in City of Espoo

It was nice to be involved in the process, great outputs, which forced us to think about why we do things like this.

Something stayed here in the back of my head, and I have taken students’ suggestions into account and will apply them in my future work.