ServDes.2012 Attendees Take A Crack At Villa Breda

ServDes.2012 is an international seminar on service design and innovation that is being arranged for the third time. This year the conference, which has been previously arranged in Linnköping and Lancaster University, explores co-creating services.

The first day of the conference gave the attendees a chance to meet each other and to do some hands on work in co-designing projects. One of these was an Aalto University 365 Wellbeing project called Rethinking Villa Breda. The project is about innovating and designing a service campus that is not meant only for the elderly, but for people of all ages. There are at the moment seven student teams consisting of an international mix of design and IDMB-students working with the case, who gave their assignments and ideas for the conference guests to chew on.

A design game is a tool for encouraging discussion and giving rise to new ideas in co-design.

According to one of the Rethinking Villa Breda coordinators Kirsikka Vaajakallio, who was running the event, the method of co-design was called a design game and the theme of it was co-designing services with public organizations. The design game itself consists of cards, which represent the elements of the design process such as ideas, success indicators, users & stakeholders and methods. These cards are used as starting points for discussion and sources for ideas and insights.

The workshop was divided into three successive groups, and each of them left their materials and conclusions for the next group to build on. The task of the first group was to create a design brief for designing novel service centre for and with seniors and decision makers. The second group concentrated on creating a project plan based on the design brief, and the job for the final group was to create novel service concepts for a future service centre. Each of the groups had one hour to finish their task.

According to the feedback the design game was a great tool for encouraging innovation.

According to Kirsikka Vaajakallio many of the people who took part in the challenge thought that the game materials genuinely inspired and directed the discussion and co-design. “For example the service innovation expert of Association of Finnish Local and Regional Authorities said that there is a need for new tools in design, mere post-it notes are not going to cut it anymore”, said Vaajakallio. “The aim of design games is to give rise to new ideas through audiovisual materials. It works especially well in facilitating the work of a multidisciplinary group.”

Kirsikka Vaajakallio is finishing her dissertation about design games, and it will be published early next summer. “My aim is to develop the game based design workflow further during the 365 Wellbeing project, and I’m very happy with the feedback and new ideas I’ve received. The students working on the Villa Breda project will benefit from the workshop also. I’m happy to see that many of the themes the attendees of this workshop brought up, including the mental well-being of the elderly and valuing their life experience, have been also an important part of  the discussions with the city of Kauniainen.”

Each of the groups had one hour to finish their part of the task.

ServDes.2012 takes place between 8-10th of February around the city of Espoo and Helsinki. You can find more information about the conference at

Rethinking Villa Breda is part of a 365 Wellbeing project, which is one of Aalto University’s largest projects in the World Design Capital 2012 initiative. You can find more information about 365 Wellbeing at

Tuuli Mattelmäki (left) and Kirsikka Vaajakallio from Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture were running the event with Zagros Hatami.


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