At the Service Design Days in sunny Barcelona a rather small and cold country surprised us: Estonia.

Is digitization possible at all levels?

The most northern country in the Baltics has the most modern state apparatus in the world. Almost 100 percent of its services for citizens are digitized, making e-Estonia the most advanced digital society in the world. The state creates added value of digitization on governmental and social levels, since the citizens are in the driver’s seat, as emphasized by the managing director of the e-Estonia showrooms, Anna Piperal.

Service design for concept developers only?

While temperatures in Germany were already autumnal, we were able to enjoy the Spanish late summer last weekend. Under the motto “delivering value and being valuable” the second annual conference took place in the old Estrella brewery – consisting of a triad of keynotes, case studies and masterclasses. And since service design is not only playing a role while creating digital platforms, we traveled to the Catalan capital as a mix of concept and service innovation as well as consulting and office management.

At first glance an unusual mixture for a service design conference. However, considering that design thinking is the foundation for this, and the “human-centered” focus of service design, almost all employees create services – only for different user groups.

How can design thinking be implemented in concept development, consulting and office management?

For concept development service design and design thinking means, above all, co-creation, since the method is collaborative. The aim is to constantly validate the users’ needs and to test the impact. After all, the user’s feedback motivates the designer.

But what does the principle mean for our consulting? Well, human-centered design – the user-oriented design of measures – is difficult to establish independently of other units. It must be supported in the form of corporate culture and being a common mindset throughout the organization. The customer is also at the center of every step in the value chain.

Being an office manager, your focus in the development of measures is also on the user, the employee in this case. All efforts are aimed at creating a work environment for the employees in which they feel comfortable.
Design thinking means creating an environment for the employees to help them realize their ideas in the most creative way. And: Creative solutions and innovative methods of resolution bring breath of fresh air into the office routine – and this could start with choosing a new breed of beer for the after work.

The Service Design Days have shown that digital products and services can only be successfully established if the needs of the user are known – from own employees to the customer, to the citizens and end users.