UMIO and City of Maastricht develop a common sustainability roadmap

On December 6, a team of students and staff from UMIO’s Service Science Factory (SSF) presented the results of a project that looked at how the University and the City of Maastricht can operate more sustainably by working together. The eight-week project, Collaboration Agenda 2030, focused on possible synergies between the two.

Maastricht’s municipal government and university are the city’s largest employers, so it makes good sense to join forces in as they develop their 2030 organisational sustainability roadmap. A project of this kind will only work if it involves concrete initiatives.

Student participation as a key ingredient

One of the reasons the City chose to work together with SSF was the involvement of students from Maastricht University’s School of Business and Economics (SBE). Student participation is a key ingredient in SSF programmes like this, as it enables our partners to profit from fresh insights based on the latest academic research. Especially where it concerns a subject like sustainability, which inspires many students.

The challenge

The team considered how the University and the municipality together can improve acquisitions, reduce their carbon footprint, create climate-neutral operations, adopt more inclusive behaviour and ensure employee wellbeing—all of which falls under the heading of sustainability.

Design Thinking

SSF uses their own method for creating innovative solutions, called the Double Diamond Approach, which is rooted in design Thinking. It considers the greater context when designing a solution and consists of the steps “Discover, Define, Develop, and Deliver.”

Design Thinking

“The project is typical for the Service Science Factory approach in that it uses the Design Thinking methodology,” said Carmen Vonken, Project Leader and Service Design Trainer at UMIO’s Service Science Factory. “We start the challenge by investigating the existing situation thoroughly and follow up with creative ideation sessions—a process of brainstorming and rapid prototyping to deliver tangible and concrete solutions at the end of eight weeks.” On October 8, a team of nineteen students started interviewing stakeholders. They studied the academic literature and best business practices to prepare for the co-creation session. In the final step, the ideation sessions brought about a variety of solutions that were further developed into a number of concrete concepts.

Sustainable Maastricht

It was clear to the team that the City and the University are missing out on opportunities. But, by working together, they can leverage synergies to attain some much-needed goals. The team has dubbed the new partnership programme Maastainable—Our Internal Sustainability Journey. It will support knowledge sharing and encourage parties to join forces, teach and learn from one another, and generate ideas together in the fields of sustainable sourcing, sustainable usage, employee wellbeing, and team cohesion.

The Future

“The project went extremely well, and the first meetings between Municipality and University, to implement the findings are planned” Carmen concluded. “The challenge now is how to create ongoing human and financial support for Maastainable.”

Make Service Innovation work for you

How can organisations create innovations that make use of important trends? How can firms incorporate the customer perspective into business and design processes? What are things to take into consideration when it comes to implementing a sustainable innovation?

With a focus on service design and innovation, UMIO offers valuable insights into what is needed to develop enduring innovations that allow organisations to evolve in the 21st century and beyond.

UMIO has assisted a wide variety of organisations including Siemens, Ziggo, LIOF, the Province of Limburg, Puratos, L1 Radio and TV, Canon, Volkswagen, Chemelot, Scelta, and many more.

To find out how to make Service Innovation work for your organisation, please don’t hesitate to contact Carmen Vonken.

Design Thinking op de Dag van de Limburgse Financial

Dinsdag 20 november werd TheaterHotel De Oranjerie in Roermond gevuld door circa 240 financieel professionals. Ze waren afgekomen op de alweer achtste Dag van de Limburgse Financial, die in het teken stond van het thema Digitalisering & Leiderschap.

Professor Dr. Harold Hassink, hoogleraar aan de Maastricht University School of Business and Economics (SBE) en programma-directeur bij UMIO, stond in 2011 mede aan de wieg van dit initiatief: “Ten onrechte wordt vaak gesteld dat er te weinig senior financiële posities zijn in onze regio. Deze dag draagt bij aan de bewustwording op dit vlak”. Dat deze dag nu al voor de achtste keer plaatsvindt, onderstreept de geldigheid van deze visie.

Keynote

Na de opening door Harold Hassink was het woord aan Menno Middeldorp, Hoofd RaboResearch Nederland en Hoofdeconoom Nederland voor Rabobank. In zijn keynote lecture benadrukte Middeldorp dat technologische kennis onmisbaar is voor de moderne finance professional, maar dat management niet mag ondersneeuwen door de aandacht voor technologische innovaties. Na het plenaire deel splitsten de aanwezigen zich op om twee van in totaal acht masterclasses bij te wonen.

Masterclass ‘Doing is Thinking’

Dominik Mahr – Associate Professor bij Maastricht University en wetenschappelijk directeur van Service Science Factory – verzorgde een van de masterclasses: Doing is Thinking – De innovatie van digitale financiële diensten.

Digitale disruptie, teweeggebracht door diverse technologische ontwikkelingen, zorgt voor opschudding in vrijwel elke sector. Innovatieve nieuwkomers als Airbnb en Uber tornen aan de posities van het establishment. Bedrijven die tot de gevestigde orde behoren, worden gedwongen hun bestaande bedrijfsmodel kritisch onder de loep te nemen. De financiële dienstverlening vormt daarop geen uitzondering.

Hoe geef je als organisatie handen en voeten aan innovatie? Een bijzonder praktische manier daarvoor is Design Thinking. Deze methodologie is erop gericht om een probleem vanuit de behoefte van de klant te definiëren en met innovatieve oplossingen te komen. Design Thinking draait om denken door te doen, dat wil zeggen goede ideeën snel in de praktijk brengen, van de ervaring te leren en ze te verbeteren. Deelnemers ervaren tijdens de masterclass hoe Design Thinking in zijn werk gaat, door tijdens een korte workshop zelf aan de slag te gaan met een case.

Wat workshopdeelnemers zeiden:

“Design Thinking heeft me aan het denken gezet over de vraag of we binnen onze organisatie wel écht klantgericht bezig zijn.”

“Als deze workshop me één ding heeft geleerd, is het wel dat je bij innovatie altijd vanuit de klant moet denken.”

“Het ‘denken door te doen’ en ‘doen is begrijpen’ sprak mij erg aan.”

 

Service Design voor u?

In een Service Design-traject van acht tot twaalf weken kan Service Science Factory ook uw organisatie helpen bij het vergroten van de innovatiekracht en het ontwikkelen van een nieuw of verbeterd serviceconcept. Organisaties als APG, Siemens en Volkswagen gingen u voor, en profiteerden van de praktische toepassing van de nieuwste wetenschappelijke inzichten en methodes. Voor een eerste kennismaking met Service Design is de Workshop Service Design Thinking bijzonder geschikt.

Meer informatie? Neem contact op met Dominik Mahr

 

Achtste ‘Dag van de Limburgse Financial’ op 20 november

Op dinsdag 20 november vindt voor het achtste jaar op rij de ‘Dag van de Limburgse Financial’ plaats. Ruim 250 finance professionals komen samen in TheaterHotel De Oranjerie te Roermond om te netwerken en kennis te delen. Het centrale thema dit jaar is Digitalisering & leiderschap.

Professor Dr. Harold Hassink, hoogleraar aan de Maastricht University School of Business and Economics (SBE) en programma-directeur bij UMIO, stond in 2011 mede aan de wieg van dit initiatief: “Ten onrechte wordt vaak gesteld dat er te weinig senior financiële posities zijn in onze regio. Deze dag draagt bij aan de bewustwording op dit vlak”. Dat deze dag nu al voor de achtste keer plastsvindt, onderstreept de geldigheid van deze visie.

Masterclasses

Ook dit jaar wordt er een reeks masterclasses gegeven door organisaties uit de regio. Zij delen hun praktijkervaringen en best practices met de deelnemers, over diverse onderwerpen die verwant zijn aan Digitalisering & Leiderschap. Volg de link voor een overzicht van de masterclasses.

Doing is Thinking

UMIO | Maastricht University wordt vertegenwoordigd door Dr. Dominik Mahr, Associate Professor bij SBE en Scientific Director Service Science Factory bij UMIO, met de masterclass Doing is Thinking – De innovatie van digitale financiële diensten. Hoe moeten we innoveren rond alle digitale kansen zoals Internet of Things, Blockchain en Kunstmatige Intelligentie? Tijdens de sessie ondervindt u hoe Service Design-denken kan worden ingezet voor financiële diensten.

UMIO voor Financials

UMIO staat voor de doorvertaling van academische expertise naar concrete toepassingen voor  individuele professionals  en organisaties. Niet alleen op het gebied van Design Thinking, maar ook met specifiek op Financials gerichte opleidingen:

International Executive Master of Finance and Control
International Executive Master of Auditing
Postdoctorale Opleiding tot Registeraccountant
Postdoctorale Opleiding tot Registercontroller
Permanente Educatie voor Finance & Control Professionals

Deelname aan de ‘Dag van de Limburgse Financial’ levert 4 PE punten op. U kunt zich inschrijven via www.dagvandelimburgsefinancial.nl.

Customer-centred innovation in the B2C market

After last falls’ UMIO’s brand launch, there was one visitor who went home with a surprise-gift: Frozen Brothers sales manager Nick Bölkow was the lucky winner of the Learning Voucher, good for a free half-day team session in one of UMIO’s incompany programs.

Creating impact

In its incompany programs, UMIO draws on its expertise to go beyond traditional business school disciplines in creating an impact for organisations. Small-scale, interactive learning journeys with an effective, high-level transfer of knowledge, skills, behaviour and experiences create real added value for the participants and their organisations and immediately applicable results.

Frozen Brothers choose SSF workshop

Recently, the Frozen Brothers sales team visited UMIO to redeem their voucher with UMIO’s Service Science Factory (SSF) in the form of a fully customised workshop “customer-centred innovation”. Nine participants, including Nick Bölkow and Pieter Corstiaans (General Manager Continental Europe) went into the practical details of customer-centred innovation with trainers Sabine Janssen and Gordon Miesen.

Design Thinking

The program is based on SSF’s (Service) Design Thinking method, which creatively prototypes new product or service offerings from the perspective of the end-users. It provides participants with the necessary mind-set, processes and tools to improve the innovation capacity of their organisation.

Frozen Brothers’ challenge

Frozen Brothers consists of a frozen drinks division with global brands Slush Puppie, Coca-Cola and Fanta Frozen, and an ice (cream) machines division with brands Carpagiani and Orion. Frozen Brothers cater to a wide variety of customers, ranging from movie theatres, to indoor children’s playgrounds and key leisure sites.
For Pieter Corstiaans the main aim of the workshop was to align the recently merged teams of Frozen Brothers and Slush Puppie Benelux, giving them the opportunity to learn from each other’s varied experiences and expertise.
“We’re looking to enable a change of perspective and encourage different views, also on our own colleagues, by getting the whole team together. A first plus is the very nice setting and location, not what at all what I expected from a university (small stuffy rooms – haha). A more concrete objective is developing our customer proposition from “just” selling machines to selling solutions with added value for our customers and our customers’ customers.”

Enhancing the customer experience

With these objectives in mind the workshop customer-centred innovation was built around enhancing the customer experience in the B2C market. Three teams developed their ideas independently and validated them between each other during the sessions. The best ideas were taken up for further detailing.

Expectations met?

So let’s hear from the team if the objectives were met:

Michael Adriaans (key account manager) and Rob Ophof (area sales manager ice cream) both felt triggered to take a step ahead in the customer journey and think about their customers’ customers. “Outside-in thinking becomes very tangible in this way and can offer some real eye-openers.”

Nadège Bremen (account manager Slush Puppie): “the challenges today were twofold: on the one hand developing concepts for integrating both divisions, and on the other hand renewing the focus on the customer experience in novel ways. We focused on immediately applicable, short-term actions and one of the lessons was that social media offer a lot of concrete opportunities to tailor the customer experience and engage with our customers.

Nick Bölkow: “The workshop offered us the opportunity to think outside the box and delivered some concrete handles on the challenges we face. It certainly broadened our horizons in terms of advising our customers on a broader level and finding fitting solutions.”
“Things went very different compared to standard company meetings. The way the workshop was set up ensured everybody was involved, situations were dynamic and solutions emerged with backing from the whole team.”

“A lot of companies could benefit from this”

For what kind of organisations would Nick recommend this workshop:
“For organisations on a fast growth path, who want to innovate in their markets this is a very simple and accessible way to challenge and adjust their own methods and approach. Basically I think there are lots of companies which could benefit from this.”

It’s all about interaction!

The central role of Interaction Design when creating delightful customer experiences

Organisations depend on their competitive advantage in order to become or keep successful, relevant for their customers and grow over time. As we all know, competitive advantage is achieved via either one – or a combination – of the strategies involving pricing, service and product quality or customer service excellence. We argue that another overarching strategy should always be present in a company’s strategy; delivering an excellent, desirable and memorable customer experience.

The customer experience depends not only on the purchase transaction and the actual use of the product or service, but on the entire customer journey with multiple customer-organization interactions in various stages; from first encounter with the brand to after sales and second time use. Customer Experience Management is therefore a top priority for management in order to keep customers satisfied, loyal and create ambassadorship.

It is a topic that is very much alive, but for many organizations still difficult to start with, let alone succeed in. Companies need to think about all touchpoints and interactions that customers have with their organization; planned and unplanned, staged and not staged, direct and indirect, long before a purchase, and so on, and then formulate a strategy to influence and optimize these touchpoints. Where to begin? After all, all these interactions combined influence the relationship and the decision for or against a purchase and the customer’s attitude towards the brand.

In order to truly understand their customers, organisations need to master the skills and knowledge of Interaction Design (IxD). IxD is a fascinating combination of an empathic (“soft”) skillset rooted in psychology, cognitive science, behavioral science, and design, combined with a quantitative (“hard”) skillset with a background in data analytics, information systems, and technology.

During this article we will we zoom into success factors for implementing IxD in organizations; our “Key management questions” give managers reflection and guidance with regard to implementation.

What is Interaction Design?

Traditionally, Interaction Design focused on creating and improving interactions between customers and products or services in order to make the use of the product or service valuable and meaningful. The interaction involves elements like aesthetics, motion, sound, space, smell, and many more. Given the importance of customer interaction for future business success, the role of Interaction Design is moving from a design expertise niche to a tactical and strategic must-have discipline for management.

This strategic importance also stems from customers’ expectations for a “seamless omni-channel experience”; neatly connected interactions across and within both digital and non-digital channels. Delivering this is difficult, especially when several parties are involved in the experience, as is often the case. For example, think about the online purchase of a chair that involves the shopping website, the chair manufacturer, other customers (through reviews), and the postal service.

Interaction design is the mortar to connect the various building blocks of the experience. It starts with understanding the motivations, emotions, and behavior of customers, the opportunities of technology devices, and the priorities of business strategy. This understanding is then translated into actionable design criteria for a particular service and its interfaces.

Creating an Organization-wide Customer Interaction Model

To obtain a holistic overview of the strategic and operational aspects of the organizational value proposition, we can combine tools such as a multi-level customer experience map with the service blueprint to map out the complexity of the service system.

The customer experience map graphically represents how the customer interacts with your organization, via which touchpoints and how this journey is perceived. The service blueprint complements this perspective by showing which employees and systems from various departments need to work together in order to realize the desired service experience. The combination of these tools has proven to be a powerful way to align departments by creating a common language and focus, understand where the customer journey can be further optimized and to deliver a seamless and resonating service experience over which the organization is in control.
These tools are dynamic and used iteratively for continuous improvement of the customer experience and value delivered.

Key management questions:
Do we have a multi-level experience map of our service that maps the customer interactions across our organization?
Is this map used to align departments and does it provide a basis for reflection for tactic and strategic purposes?
Do we regularly update the organization-customer interaction model together with our customers?
Do we systematically translate the customer insights from these updates into delighting customer experiences?

Digitalization of Services and New Ways of Interacting with Customers

The digitalization of services and products opens up many new ways to interact directly with individual customers on a far larger and more personal scale. Where television is (most of the times) a one-way interaction device where organizations push one message to a large audience, the smartphone is a new gateway to a sole customer’s attention. We can deliver various engaging pieces of content and most importantly, offer the opportunity to engage in a dialogue with customers at any moment in time.

Obviously, technology is not stopping here. We see systems steadily becoming smarter and communicating in a more human-like way. Google for instance showed during its I/O-conference how its virtual assistant is able to make a restaurant reservation via a telephone call in the background while the user is organizing a get together with friends. This is a good example where Natural Language Processing, Smart Algorithms and Machine Learning mechanisms come together in order to deliver a smart service that creates new interaction opportunities.

And it is not just about smart background processes. New technologies and interfaces are taking a big leap themselves. For instance, Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality open up new ways to interact with technology and deliver services. With the exponential growth of computing power, and the improvement of devices it won’t take long before we will enter a new virtual interaction era.

The Internet-of-Things is driving change by adding ‘smart’ capabilities to ‘dumb’ products through incorporating computing power and connecting them via the internet. We already see the transformation of our televisions into smart TV’s, smart lights such as Philips hue, and the first robots are entering our homes in the form of autonomous vacuum cleaners. These applications will probably only grow in number and capabilities in the near future as technology is advancing. At the same time, privacy and data protection issues are increasingly an integral part of the design.

Key management questions:
Are we aware of the technology out there and how it can benefit our customer interaction?
Do we experiment with the application of new technology and customer interfaces?

In order to drive business decisions, managing customer experiences and interactions is crucial which makes it even more important to gather user insights in a structural way. Based on the company’s business goals, we should define a set of KPIs in order to understand which factors influence achieving the predefined business goals. By structurally measuring metrics that are directly impacting the KPIs, a company can determine how changes in interactions and touchpoints influence the performance of a service, product or the company as a whole.

Quantitative data such as the clickstream, NPS-scores, Likes, Shares and Sales, helps us understand how services are performing and how certain interventions affect the performance of a service.

Qualitative data such as data from online and offline interviews, usability studies, focus groups, observational studies, mystery shopping and research diaries, uncovers the underlying reasons why the service is performing in a certain way and why customers engage or disengage at certain touchpoints.

Combining both quantitative and qualitative data gives a company the power to understand how its own and the customer’s behavior is affecting the performance of the service. With this knowledge, companies can start learning what business decisions have a positive impact and quickly act in case an intervention has a negative impact on the service performance.

Key management questions:
Do we measure the customer perception and behavior per interaction point?
Do we conduct research that aims to uncover the unknown and challenge our organizational perspective?

Never stop learning and improving, it’s an iterative process

Customers rarely interact with our services exactly as we initially designed them on the drawing board. Therefore, organizational learning and incremental innovation should not only be part of the designing stages of the service, but should also be incorporated in the implementation and operationalization of the service. Only then your organization is able to reach service excellence and truly delight its customers in an unprecedented way.

This gives a total new dimension to interaction design: interaction becomes a necessary service-component for acquiring customer feedback and translating this into actual value and an improved (or new) service experience. This is also helpful to realize the ambition to forge a customer relationship that will grow stronger over time, creating a competitive advantage by creating customer loyalty and thereby lowering the investment in customer acquisition. Customers should therefore be made aware that their (in)direct interaction with the organization results in direct benefits for themselves: in the form of better, faster and more personalized offerings.

In practice, this means that you have to be sensitive in how you apply the build, measure, learn-cycle in your customer-organization interaction map. You don’t want to overburden your customers but on the other hand, you need the necessary insights in order to improve your offerings. Interaction design can help to define the boundaries of a common ground where interaction is mutually beneficial and sustainable for both customers and organization.

Key management questions:
Do we innovate in linear projects or circular processes?
Do we incorporate both the incremental and radical innovation of services?
Do we incentivize our employees to fail fast and fail forward?

A final note before getting started…

Even though our world is becoming more digital and technology driven, we see that the need for a human touch is also growing. Technology can help to make your organization more empathic but your employees also need to understand the importance of being customer-centric; understanding your customer’s behavior, needs and wishes is crucial to understand how your organization should operate anc act. This involves changing the mindset and also acquiring design and research competences to actually practice incremental and radical innovation that matters to your customers. We hope this article incentivized you to dive deeper in to the world of interaction design!

IxD helps organizations to be human-centered… it is about who the organization is, what it does and why it exists…

Get in touch

There are several ways we can support you and your organization in exploring the value that ‘Interaction Design’ can provide. For instance by facilitating innovation projects for the improvement or development of new services which incorporate the ‘Interaction Design’-perspective.

There is a range of educational trajectories available where we train professionals to incorporate the ‘Interaction Design’-perspective into their daily work and specific projects.

In the Maastricht University Masters’ programme ‘Business Intelligence Smart Services’ students are taught the principles of ‘Interaction Design’ and apply it in their projects: developing smart services powered by intelligent algorithms based on various data sources.

As an introduction to the world of ‘Interaction Design’ we have developed a hands-on inspiration day for professionals, where you will work on a case, take the customer perspective and start designing interactions for delightful experiences. Please contact us for more information.

Dr. Dominik Mahr | Associate professor for Service Innovation

Dominik is Associate Professor at Maastricht University and Scientific Director of the Service Science Factory (part of Maastricht University). He is an Academic Expert in ‘Innovation & Service Design’ within UMIO, which provides educational trajectories for professionals and business services in the form of Service Innovation Projects and educations. All these offerings have a scientific foundation based on academic expertise and relevant research.

E-mail: d.mahr@maastrichtuniversity.nl
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/dominik-mahr-5820083/

Damien Luciën Nunes | Service Designer & Innovation Coach/Trainer

Damien currently is active as a content expert within Service Innovation projects and as a Service Design practitioner at UMIO’s Service Science Factory. Besides participating in and managing projects, Damien also inspires, trains and coaches students and professionals on the mindset, process and skills needed to develop and improve services.

E-mail: d.nunes@maastrichtuniversity.nl
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/damien-nunes-aa12712a/

Tom Klaassen | UX-Designer and owner of UX agency Bankai

Tom combines l10 + years of experience in designing high-end digital products with masters in Communication Design and Marketing Management. He quickly acclimatizes with different business challenges and specializes in converting end-user insights to innovative and successful digital solutions.

E-mail: tom@bankai.eu
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/tom-klaassen-1298a910/