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.

The Student Perspective on a Future European University

Last summer, Damien Nunes, innovation coach and service designer at UMIO’s Service Science Factory, facilitated a two-day “student experience journey” workshop at University of Rome Tor Vergata.

Young Universities for the Future of Europe

The workshop was part of the YUFE (Young Universities for the Future of Europe) alliance in which staff and students collaborate on how to address European (and global) challenges. The alliance is spearheaded by Maastricht University and brings together seven top-level universities from the Young European Research Universities Network (YERUN).

Key questions

Damiens’ inspiring workshop addressed the following questions:

”How could a future European University look and feel for students?”
“What university services need to be designed to provide a unique experience?”

Six multi-disciplinary student teams each brought a particular focus from their YUFE partner university to the table. Inspired and energised by the ‘Design Thinking’ innovation methodology, the students first mapped out the existing student experience journey of their own university, sharing experiences, highlighting the various qualities, and identifying the potential for improvement.

Students’ needs and wants

Empathy is a key element within the whole workshop to understand what students find important and especially why. The purpose is to generate student-driven insights, rather than validating staff assumptions about “what is good for students”, to arrive at a true understanding of students’ needs and wants.

Reimagining the student experience journey

Within the existing student experience journey, certain focus points were highlighted. Then the teams, infused with state-of-art creativity and ideation techniques, set out to develop alternative solutions for these issues, both for the physical and the digital domain. Unsurprisingly, quite a few interesting ideas were generated for the digital domain: the development of a wide and integrated digital platform, a blend of the physical & digital experience, and the use of digital technologies for branding and promoting the YUFE alliance.

Bringing the concept alive

In this way, an overall concept was developed for a future student experience journey, a holistic map of how students will experience a future European University, with the “head and heart”. To make concepts come to life as part of an innovation trajectory, it is important to go beyond talking, and prototype services in a tangible way. The students therefore created a short pitch, which included role-play and creative design props to show how they envision ‘the Future European University’. Currently, a video of the six pitches is in the making. It will bring the concept alive for the key stakeholders of the YUFE-alliance to further shape the European University of the future.

YERUN opportunities

For more information about YERUN Opportunities for UM researchers and staff click here.

About Damien Nunes

Damien has a background in design and is currently project leader and service designer at the Service Science Factory, part of UMIO. He facilitates projects, workshops and inspires creativity within (project)groups to develop new innovative service concepts.

Send Damien a message: E-mail

Visit Damiens’  LinkedIn  page.

Innovation and entrepreneurship in Biomedical Science

In the Biomedical Sciences laboratories, students learn the skills and acquire knowledge to develop the latest medical inventions that will benefit us all. But how do you make sure that innovations deliver the value they are trying to provide? In search for an answer, the master Biomedical Sciences teamed up with UMIO’s Service Science Factory (SSF).

Innovation Sprint

SSF developed an innovation sprint that challenges students to come up with innovations based on an outside-in customer focus, and complement it with a sustainable business model. All squeezed into a 2.5-week period. A deliberately ambitious timeframe, that resulted in some very inspiring ideas that show real potential for further development.

On September 20, in a big lecture hall at the Randwyck Health campus, SSF Innovation Coach Damien Nunes and master coordinators Ronit Sverdlov and Jan Theys welcomed around 70 students to the kick-off to the innovation sprint. Then the real work started in small teams of five to six students. They had to choose a real world target group they wanted to help, and to which they had access in the upcoming weeks, because interaction with the target group is crucial to uncover and understand actual needs and context. This in-depth understanding is then complemented with insights from reports, academic literature, surveys and other research methods.

Real world target group

Because of the constraints of a real world target group and a limited period, the students need to get organised quickly and define their own case and research approach. This is quite different from the regular Problem Based Learning (PBL), where they are given a predefined case to research and solve, but conforms well with scientific practice where they have to define and describe their own projects.

A common mistake when developing innovations is being too attached to the first idea and only look for feedback that confirms the validity of that idea. To avoid this pitfall, students were encouraged to develop multiple ideas simultaneously. This approach has several benefits: prioritising needs and insights to determine if you are actually solving the right issue, and experiencing that there are often multiple ways to solve an issue. These are important learning points that surface during the prototyping and validation phase.

Creative approach and minimum effort

A good idea is only as good as its implementation, and a sustainable idea can only survive with a solid business model. The students were encouraged to hold on to their creative approach in the transition from concept development, to business model, and implementation roadmap. In short: finding creative ways to lower the investment risk, and demonstrate the real life value of a solution with the minimum amount of effort.

The results

Two and a half weeks later, the 12 teams pitched and battled against each other, and then the four best ideas were pitched in front of an expert jury. Some of the inspiring, funny and creative ideas the teams came up with: a wristband to wake-up sleep walkers, a sports community app for UM-sports to engage the student community, an education evaluation tool to provide UM-teachers with quicker feedback, an app to stimulate co-dining between students with fresh and locally produced food, and even a dating service to balance the gender imbalance of the student population in Maastricht (more women) and Aachen (more men).

Energy, creativity and agility

The jury consisted of experts with a background in business, innovation and entrepreneurship. Their favourite turned out to be an entertainment system for hospitalised patients called ‘ready patient one’. It aims to cater for the entertainment needs of a patient population that is diverse in age, cultural background and mobility, and therefore has very different entertainment preferences. The innovation sprint resulted in a lot of energy, with students showing their creativity and agility, and expanded their skills with regard to customer-centric research and design. Some of the projects have already caught the attention of stakeholders, and might continue their life and impact after this sprint. Let us see if they get implemented…

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.


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

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.”

Introducing our MaastrichtMBA students to Service Science

Innovative thinking is an important part of the MaastrichtMBA programme, in particular through the module ‘Sustaining Competitive Advantage’. In this module, UMIO’s Service Science Factory (SSF) provides participants with the necessary mind-set, processes and tools to improve the innovation capacity of their organisation. This is far from a theoretical exercise. Because participants practice service design tools and experience all stages of the innovation process during these sessions, they become empowered to implement processes and tools in their own organisation.

Bridging academia and practice

This is typical for the approach of SSF: it bridges academia and practice, facilitating companies to gain sustainable competitive advantages through service innovation. SSF has realized the potential of service innovation in different organisations through more than 50 projects, using a state-of-the-art project approach, making use of proven service design tools and multi-disciplinary teams that stimulate co-creation.

The right perspective

As a method, (Service) Design Thinking addresses complex challenges, by embracing the perspective of the end-users, when creatively prototyping new product or service offerings. Industry leaders such as Apple, McKinsey, and Mayo Clinic, place this approach at the centre of their business activities, and IBM even proclaims it wants to become “the world’s largest and most sophisticated design company”.

Practical results

The MaastrichtMBA innovation module consists of five sessions. During the final session, the teams present their innovation ideas and underlying business concepts to an expert panel, which provides practical tips for improving and implementing the ideas. The best ideas were rewarded with a panel prize and an audience prize.

Get in touch

There are several ways SSF 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.

Learning opportunities

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.
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. Feel free to contact us for more information.

Session Instructors

Dr. Dominik Mahr, Scientific Director Service Science Factory
Dominik is an Associate Professor at the Marketing and Supply Chain Management department of Maastricht University. As Scientific Director of the Service Science Factory (SSF), he is responsible for a wide range of services that create new and improve existing offers of companies.



Dr. Elisabeth Brüggen, Professor of Marketing
Elisabeth (Lisa) Brüggen is Professor of Marketing at Maastricht University School of Business and Economics (SBE). She is an internationally recognized expert in services marketing and financial well-being, particularly regarding pension communications.




Damien Nunes, Service Designer Service Science Factory
Damien has a background in design and is currently project leader and service designer at the Service Science Factory (SSF). He facilitates projects, workshops and inspires creativity within (project)groups to develop new innovative service concepts.



Sabine Janssen, Msc, Project Leader Service Science Factory
Sabine has a background in strategic marketing and business experience in corporate communications, strategic consultancy and innovation management. Her focus as project leader at SSF is design thinking, service innovation and project management and educating professionals in these respective fields.



Download the complete Experience Report


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.


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.


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.


Meeting academic and industry needs with Service Design Thinking

UMIO’s course in Advanced Service Design Thinking is all about making innovation part of your organisations DNA, to truly understand stakeholders and in particular your customers, and be in tune with market dynamics and ahead of the competition. The course covers the use of different tools such as the Customer Journey, Service Blueprint, Prototyping & Validation techniques, and implementation methodologies and has a look at the latest developments in Service Design.

Among the participants in last weeks’ course, there was a delegation from Queensland University of Technology (QUT) headed by Prof. Rebekah Russell-Benett. Her group has found a partner in UMIO’s Service Science Factory for developing competences and incorporating the latest in academic research and methodology into their own practice.

Rebekah: “we use Service Design (SD) and Design Thinking (DT) in research, to teach, and to develop solutions for clients. I really like this multi-faceted uses of the method. As a visual person, I also like the way it brings a structured process to creativity, using mainly visual means. This visualisation is also a big help for clients to understand complex problems.”

Martine Hermans and Ellen Pijpers (Project Leaders at Business Intelligence & Smart Services (BISS) Institute | Brightlands Smart Services Campus) enrolled in this course to immerse themselves in Service Design Thinking’s methodology and background. Ellen: “our role at BISS is to ensure a holistic attitude and stimulate new perspectives, and that is a core quality of Service Design Thinking.”

Martine: “a deeper insight into the methodology will help us to better manage projects and guide processes. The international and multi-disciplinary composition of the group serves as a learning experience in itself.”

A big advantage of the combination of Service Design and Design Thinking is that it can meet both academic and industry needs in parallel, during the same trajectory. The benefits of Service Design Thinking (SDT) go well beyond solving practical problems for clients. Participants incorporate SDT into their way of thinking (DNA). This is a big bonus for the client, compared to the approach of consultants and other commercial partners.

Coffeelovers use a pressure cooker

May 14th UMIO’s Service Science Factory held a one day Hackathon at SBE: a collective event addressing an innovation problem for Maastricht iconic coffee roaster Blanche Dael (140 years young) and it’s spin-off brand “Coffeelovers”.

105 students in 21 teams from MSc Strategic Marketing (course marketing innovation management) tackled the question of how Coffeelovers can foster brand engagement of the young target group in order to elevate ambassadorship. The target given was to realise impact and create ambassadorship for the Coffeelovers brand.

The purpose of a Hackathon is to bring a tightly focused outside-in perspective to the company involved. The objective is constrained within a budget of 5000 Euro to ensure practical and ready-to-implement solutions.

The Hackathon is an example of how SBE not just links students with national companies but also with ‘local heroes’, to strengthen the link with local entrepreneurs and the region.

For students it develops their future strategic insight and serves them with a hands-on experience of Design Thinking: the pressure cooker approach of getting to a validated client centered solution in one day. The required speed of action was not always the easiest part for the students involved.

For Christophe de Warrimont, Head of Sales and Marketing with Maison Blanche Dael & Coffeelovers it was a memorable day: We want to develop a fan base among students in Maastricht for our brands. When they leave Maastricht after a couple of years, they are potential ambassadors in other geographic regions where we plan to expand. The input of 105 academically trained students was a big boost and a unique opportunity for our company.

The Hackathon delivered loads of input, lots of positive ideas with which we can get started right away. The aim was to create maximum impact in a short time with small hands-on ideas. Especially the personalization of the coffee cups is an idea with a lot of potential impact which is relatively easy to implement.

In short: there was a lot of positive energy floating around and that was very exciting to experience.


Combining the strengths of SBE for valorisation

Recently the School of Business and Economics (SBE) performed a 2-day training, which explored opportunities to valorise their own research and education capabilities. An excellent opportunity to apply the Design Thinking approach inhouse.

The SBE-teams were a mix of academic and non-academic staff and they were offered the complete toolkit of the Design Thinking approach by UMIO’s Service Science Factory. The training process resulted in the rapid development of several  innovative new services, combining different academic competences.

Besides these specific services, the training fostered the mutual understanding between researchers, educators, and facilitators. Experiencing how combining the different strengths within the university creates value, clearly enhances the common identity and sets up networks for future cooperation.

Read all about the complete 2-day experience.