A Master's thesis from Laurea won the first Service Thesis of the Year competition organised by the Finnish Service Alliance.
Ten Doctoral and Master's theses completed last year in seven different universities or academic higher education institutions competed for the Service Thesis of the Year award. Ida Rainio's Master's thesis was the only study from a university of applied sciences submitted to the competition. The winner was selected by the management team of the Finnish Service Alliance, which includes representatives from both higher education institutions and businesses.
Storytelling has been found to be an effective tool for making an impact in corporations, but why are management the only ones who get to tell their stories? Ida Rainio's thesis investigated how staff in companies could be engaged in telling corporate stories and at the same time help introducing changes into practice in organisations. Principal Lecturer Leena Alakoski of Laurea was the supervisor of the thesis.
The thesis used the lean method to develop a service facilitating co-created storytelling in companies. A pilot conducted in a mid-size Finnish company indicated that the process helped employees gain awareness of their employer's new strategy, as the method required them to put in their own words how changes were going to impact their work.
The thesis introduces user-oriented design thinking to an entirely new area, corporate communication. Design thinking, usually appearing in the context of product design, has been expanded to services and business innovations in recent years, but it has not been utilised in corporate communication until now. Traditionally, corporate communication has been controlled by business management and communication professionals, and employees have been in the receiving end of it.
Ida Rainio (Master of Business Administration, MBA) graduated from Laurea's Degree Programme in Service Innovation and Design, organised in English, in December 2014. She works as an entrepreneur in the field of service and content design.
'I feel that there are numerous possibilities for applying design thinking into new industries. I used an approach from communication due to my background in the media industry, but user-oriented thinking can also be used to change accustomed methods in many other fields', she summarises what she has learned.