“The customer always comes first!” – South African students visited Laurea to learn service design
A group of students from the Tshwane University of Technology attended Laurea’s service design course.
Laurea’s cooperation with the South African Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) continued with a group of 11 students attending an intensive course in service design at Laurea in September. The first group of TUT students attended a similar course at Laurea a year ago. TUT had purchased the training from EduExcellence Ltd., the education export company of the 3AMK alliance.
The South African MBA students visited Finland for a week, 1–8 September, and spent two days at Laurea.
During the intensive period at Laurea, the group of students learned about the basics and methods of service design with Project Manager Krista Keränen. The topics included managing workshops, developing customer empathy, describing the customer path and co-creation.
- Among the most important takeaways was to learn that the customer must be involved at every stage of service development – not just at the end, according to students Sibusiso Israle Mahlangu, Makhadzi Miyen, Molellekoa James Mosesane and Maxwell Denga.
In addition to increased customer understanding, the visitors were particularly impressed with the methods that were used to teach them service design:
- Games were particularly interesting. It had never occurred to me that games would help in understanding the issues experienced by customers and finding solutions, says Makhadzi Miyen, referring to the Coco Toolkit game designed at Laurea.
- Our teacher Krista also had very practical examples and exercises. Her teaching sessions were a lot more interactive as she didn’t just stand behind her desk, as is traditionally done, adds Sibusiso Israle Mahlangu.
Krista Keränen also praised the South African students for their active approach:
- The students had great discussion skills and were very receptive to new ideas, she says.
The visiting MBA students study while working, so they had some service ideas from their own work experience to share at the intensive period at Laurea.
- Our goal was to provide them with tools that will help them make their own service processes more customer-friendly and effective, says Krista Keränen, describing the starting point of the intensive study unit.
- Involving the customer at an early stage in the service design process was clearly an important and new thing to learn.
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