“User experience cannot be measured”

​- With your pairs, describe your dream holiday and take turns starting every sentence with ”Yes, but…”, Marc Stickdorn instructed the students.
- Then start again, but this time every sentence begins with “Yes, and...”. In working life, you will hear the first wording a lot, but it is the second one that gets things done in a new way.

Marc Stickdorn visited Leppävaara campus to lead the three-day Service Design Process and Methods study unit on 11 – 13 February. The participants were the students of the Master's degree programme in Service Innovation and Design who had started in autumn 2015.

Stickdorn works in Innsbruck, Austria, but lectures around the world. He has taught service design in such countries as Taiwan, Singapore, the United States and various parts of Europe. For several years, he has also visited and lectured at Laurea.

- This is my fourth or fifth time teaching at Laurea, Marc explains.
- I like teaching here as the students are really focused. It is only natural, as their entire degree programme is about service design.

A facilitator creates preconditions for generating new ideas

Stickdorn’s study unit puts particular emphasis on facilitation, or teaching students how to direct group work aiming to develop a service process.

- The students have already mastered several tools and methods of service design. In this study unit their goal is to learn to use them in a workshop setting and to guide a group in the service design process, he says.
- In successful facilitation, it is essential to create conditions in which group members have opportunities for trying out something new, sharing ideas and failing. Failure is the key to new innovations.

To practise facilitation skills, Marc also draws on methods of drama and improvisation theatre during the study unit. According to him, feelings and experiences are central in theatre. Service designers can thus learn a lot from the working methods of drama when trying to gain a better understanding of a customer’s service experience.

Students participate actively

In previous years, Stickdorn’s study unit has received good feedback from students. Master’s degree students Helena Illera and Sapna Jaisinghani, who took the study unit this year, were also happy.

- Although my expectations were high, they were exceeded. I have learned so much, Helena reports.

- We have looked at things from a new viewpoint and, for example, learned about body language. All in all, this was a very comprehensive course that addressed methods, processes and the theory behind them alike, Sapna continues.

The students are also happy about their possibilities for active participation during the study unit. As the course progressed, the topics raised questions, sparked discussion and created possibilities for comparing personal experiences to observations made by others.

“Organisations should focus more on customer experience”

Marc Stickdorn, who has had a long career in service design, has noticed that organisations today have more awareness of the significance of customer experience. According to him, the question now is how companies could incorporate service design more effectively in their structures and processes.

- The challenge lies in the fact that companies are managed by metrics, while customer experience is difficult to quantify in numbers, he says.
- Numeric indicators may give a hint about where something is going wrong but not explain why. To find this out, companies must talk to their customers.

And how would Marc Stickdorn crystallise his own service design philosophy? The answer is not difficult to find, and Marc points at the slogan on his t-shirt: ”Customer experience is more than f***ing metrics!”

Modified 2/22/2016 11:24 AM

​Marc Stickdorn prepares the students for the next facilitation excercise.