Week 155

An election result that motivates us, a few thoughts on service design and an upcoming trip to Amsterdam.

Germany doesn’t care

With the results of yesterdays elections here in Germany, it’s rather obvious that the general population is prioritizing other topics than data protection and surveillance or that they haven’t really understood yet what is at stake here. Either way, we’re taking this as a big boost of motivation to take our efforts more serious.

We had a nice little session at our office last Thursday, explaining some mac and browser security tools and helping with encrypting emails.
And the offer still stands. If you’re in Berlin and looking for some help with your mac, get in contact and if we’re around, we’re happy to help.

A few thoughts on service design

I joined the NEXT Service Design conference last Monday to learn about the latest trends in post-it-usage and more. The NEXT conference team did a great job putting together session after session of practitioners.

First thing they did, which I thought was a great idea for conferences in general, is that they had Nils Wollny give a general overview about service design and where it stands. This gave the audience a shared understanding that one could agree with or not but at least everybody had the same starting point.

Listening to all the project descriptions, it was easy to see that we have perfected the ideation workshop. We have the best methods to brainstorm, we can paper-prototype every product in the world and the user research we’ve prepared looks darn sexy.
But then what? What comes after the workshop? How do we get from great ideas to finished products and, even more important, a changed company? How do we handle hot-button issues like the company culture, internal politics and innovation fatigue?

It seems like this is the point of the conversation that service design has arrived at and it’s a really interesting one. It’s the same question we ask with every project and that made me realize how similar some of our work is to most service design agencies and practitioners out there. We might come a bit more from the content-side of things and those agencies are coming mostly from an expertise in methods. But the process and the outcome can look pretty similar. And that’s why I enjoyed this conference a lot and look forward to continue discussing these very questions with fellow service designers.

What also happened

I could also write about my brief visit to Dmexco, the largest online marketing exhibition in Germany. But that would end in a long rant and do nothing to change the situation. So I save the topic for another time when I have something more constructive to add to this topic.
I was there to take part in a business model workshop, facilitated by a friend who wanted to use the exhibition to actually work on something. I had a great time as it’s always nice to put the business model canvas to good use.

A couple of days ago, I spent a morning at the UNICUM Human Resource Management Networking Day to give my End-of-Work talk. As always, it was good fun and the discussion after it was quite interesting as HR people do have some expertise to help us with developing a new vocabulary for work in the 21st century, which is one of my core demands in the talk.
Funniest thing was that my talk wasn’t even the most apocalyptic one. After me Thomas Kirschmeier from the Rheingold Institute presented a study about young adults in Germany, and if he is to be believed, boy, do we look into a dull future as this might just be the most fearful, conservative and risk-averse generation we have seen in quite some time. No wonder they all vote Merkel.

What’s next

From Friday till Sunday, you can meet us at the Retune conference here in Berlin. The program looks fantastic and we hear that there are still tickets available. This also gives me the opportunity as possible the last person in Berlin to attend an Arduino workshop. That’s right, I even bought a soldering iron last week. Should check out our fire insurance btw.

We also scheduled our next strategy days for the end of October. In case you don’t remember, we like to go on little 2-day retreats from time to time to zoom out and look at the big picture of this company. This time, we’re going to Amsterdam where our friend Juha van ‘t Zelfde has put on an exhibition called Dread, which we’re hearing great things about. Make sure to check out the book that accompanies the exhibition and features contributions from the likes of James Bridle, Superflux, China Miéville, Kevin Slavin and Adam Greenfield.

Talk to you soon.

Author: Johannes

Johannes is a strategist and consultant for digital communications. His work is informed by his experience of working with brands like Deutsche Telekom, MTV, Postbank, Maggi and Nike and by his insatiable appetite for finding the bigger patterns behind current developments in technology and science. Holding a diploma in Media System Design, Johannes is a regular speaker at web and marketing conferences like Republica and the Social Media Summit.