Samuel Simon
Author - Samuel Simon

'Tis the season to be jolly, and this is what we like to call a bundle of joy!

We know you folks love the #DiagramoftheDay, so we definitely can't exclude it in our advent calendar. Our digital marketing intern Juman did an outstanding job digging through a huge bunch of them to find the really good ones. Well, actually all of our diagrams are great, I just needed this as an opener to hint at the option of joining the SDN's digital marketing and content team, too, if that's something you'd be interested in. :)

 

Back to Christmas business! 

Today's diagrams and visuals are all from this article in Touchpoint Vol. 10 No. 2 - Designing the Future. But instead of you having to go and find it behind the paywall of the paid membership we're sharing it today with the service design community. For free! Yes. Merry Christmas indeed.

We'll show you how small and medium-sized entreprises can use the sometimes quite resource-intensive techniques of futures thinking.

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FIG. 1: DIVE´S BLUEPRINT INCLUDES THE FIVE ACTIVITIES. --
FIG. 1: DIVE´S BLUEPRINT INCLUDES THE FIVE ACTIVITIES. —

DIVE

DIVE (see Fig. 1) “consists of a quick dive into the depths of speculative futures and a swim back to the world as it is”4.

The exercise started with a kick-off meeting with the company representatives from Oceanco, who act as problem owners, and external professional designers from the Service Design Studio in Oslo, Norway, as process owners. During the exercise, problem owners provided information about the company, acting as “experts of their own experience”5, while process owners collected, organised and analysed that information, and lead the series of activities. Facilitators from the Delft University of Technology (the Netherlands), and Leipzig University (Germany), gave the problem and process owners (the participants) an abbreviated theoretical background on DIVE and provided instructions for the activities described in Figure 1.

In ‘Activity 1: Understanding the present’, the participants used the ‘Strategic PES – Product-Experience-Service’, a visual tool that applies the metaphor of a fish to analyse SMEs, applied in this case to get an overview of Oceanco. Viewing the company as a living being “facilitates a strategic conversation between designers and entrepreneurs and allows the measurement of areas of reflection in a visual way”6. It also helps participants distance themselves from the company and remove pre-conceptions. The fish is divided into four parts: the company’s know-how (the head), the market that steers the company (the tail), the company’s infrastructure (the back), and the portfolio of products and services (the belly). This is used to set a domain, an area of exploration, and a time frame for how far this exploration goes.

As part of the ‘Activity 2: Approaching the future’, the process owners, together with the problem owners, conducted a brief investigation to gather trends and drivers within the selected domain to make a shared vision of the future.

Using this vision as an inspiration, in ‘Activity 3: Exploring the future’, the process owners made different mock-ups and created stories to develop and select diverse ideas.

In ‘Activity 4: Communicating the future’, the process owners polished the final mock-up and story to share the vision concepts (concept products, services or product service systems) in the form of a short video.

Finally, in ‘Activity 5: Looking back into the future’, the process owners used the short video to spark a conversation among problem owners and external experts in design-driven innovation about the future of the company, supporting the decision-making process in the present. During this conversation, the process owners plotted a roadmap in which different ideas and concepts were organised along the time frame selected in Activity 2.

After all the activities, which took three consecutive days to complete, facilitators led a ‘closing meeting’ to collect final thoughts and feedback about the technique. In addition, the process owners delivered the videos of the vision concepts and the roadmap to the problem owners. As part of their role as process owners, the external designers used a toolkit (see Fig. 2) throughout the process.

FIG. 2: DIVE’S TOOLKIT INCLUDES A POSTER WITH AN OVERVIEW OF THE ACTIVITIES, A SHORT DESCRIPTION OF THE PROCESS, AND THREE CANVASES, USED TO REPORT ACTIVITY 1 (STRATEGIC PES), ACTIVITY 2 (THE CHANGING TRENDS AND DEVELOPMENTS AND THE STABLE STATES AND PRINCIPLES), AND ACTIVITY 5 (THE ROADMAP). BECAUSE ACTIVITIES 3 AND 4 USE ONLY THREE-DIMENSIONAL MODELS, THEY DO NOT REQUIRE CANVASES. — --
FIG. 2: DIVE’S TOOLKIT INCLUDES A POSTER WITH AN OVERVIEW OF THE ACTIVITIES, A SHORT DESCRIPTION OF THE PROCESS, AND THREE CANVASES, USED TO REPORT ACTIVITY 1 (STRATEGIC PES), ACTIVITY 2 (THE CHANGING TRENDS AND DEVELOPMENTS AND THE STABLE STATES AND PRINCIPLES), AND ACTIVITY 5 (THE ROADMAP). BECAUSE ACTIVITIES 3 AND 4 USE ONLY THREE-DIMENSIONAL MODELS, THEY DO NOT REQUIRE CANVASES. — —

Results

Using the canvas provided in the toolkit for Activity 1, and applying the proposed fish metaphor, participants defined Oceanco as ‘Luxus Streamliner’ (see Fig. 3).

As expected, the metaphor here serves to facilitate and speed-up the interaction and understanding between process and problem owners. As part of this understanding, process owners observed that due to the firm's exclusive market niche – where the processes of sales and production are particularly complex – Oceanco only rarely produces yachts, but those it does produce are carefully-crafted, unique pieces that are accomplished with the assistance of highly-specialised subcontractors. Although this very competitive company is part of an exclusive industry, its behaviour and personality are humble and reserved.

FIG. 3: THE ILLUSTRATION OF ‘LUXUS STREAMLINER’. IT IS A MEDIUM-SIZED FISH THAT DWELLS IN EXOTIC WATERS. ACCORDING TO THE PARTICIPANTS, TO SURVIVE IN THIS GLAMOROUS HABITAT, LUXUS ATTRACTS PREY USING ITS TINY BUT FLAMBOYANT TAIL TO MOVE ITS MUSCULAR AND COMPACT BODY, AND IS SURROUNDED BY A LARGE GROUP OF CRABS REPRESENTING ITS SUBCONTRACTORS.
FIG. 3: THE ILLUSTRATION OF ‘LUXUS STREAMLINER’. IT IS A MEDIUM-SIZED FISH THAT DWELLS IN EXOTIC WATERS. ACCORDING TO THE PARTICIPANTS, TO SURVIVE IN THIS GLAMOROUS HABITAT, LUXUS ATTRACTS PREY USING ITS TINY BUT FLAMBOYANT TAIL TO MOVE ITS MUSCULAR AND COMPACT BODY, AND IS SURROUNDED BY A LARGE GROUP OF CRABS REPRESENTING ITS SUBCONTRACTORS.

Conclusions

Exploring the future is not an easy task. It implies a high degree of complexity, mainly because of its uncertain nature. This tangible image of the future enables participants to generate innovative concepts, a set of organized ideas, and the ability to share them with others. Therefore, it invites diverse stakeholders to address the challenges inherent in the future. In general, design-led futures techniques, stimulate the company to explore possible futures and choose a preferable vision that provides a destination for strategic planning. By making this destination concrete, designers make it easier for companies to understand the world as it is, a desirable future they might envision, and to form a shared sense of direction on how to get there.

More details of DIVE can be found at http://dive.pktweb.com

The original authors of the full article are Ricardo Mejia, Alejandro Chitiva, Ties van Bruinessen and Wim Verhoeff.

FIG. 5: THE ROADMAP THAT INCLUDES THE WORLD AS IT IS, THE NEAR FUTURE AND THE SPECULATIVE FUTURE. — --
FIG. 5: THE ROADMAP THAT INCLUDES THE WORLD AS IT IS, THE NEAR FUTURE AND THE SPECULATIVE FUTURE. — —

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