Our theme for the year 2020 at Design Forum Finland was ‘New Value’.
When we decided on the theme in autumn 2019, no one could have predicted the current pandemic. Over time it became apparent just how apt our theme was: the world was turned upside down and we were finding value and purpose in completely new things-
The statement made by the American association Business Roundtable in summer 2019 on the novel value creation of companies – which inspired our annual theme – proved to be visionary, as companies were downright forced to change their operations to embrace wider relevance.
During the year, our events have indeed focused on value and purpose. The last two Design Forum Date events in the autumn were both titled ‘Business, design and purpose’. From slightly differing perspectives, the events discussed the ways in which companies have changed their operations and responded to the expectations of their clients.
Our October Design Forum Date was organised as a part of the Kasvu Open Karnevaali programme and chaired by technology entrepreneur Maria Ritola. The event was opened by our CEO Petteri Kolinen, who briefly described how design can produce diverse and extensive value for a company and its interest groups. It may require time and commitment, but the effort will result in sustainable and effective business. The key thing is that design is utilised at all levels of decision-making, in a strategic and in-depth manner.
The key thing is that design is utilised at all levels of decision-making, in a strategic and in-depth manner.
Senior Insight Strategist Saara Järvinen from strategy and design consultancy Kuudes discussed changes caused by the COVID-19 crisis. Not that long ago we were talking about a lifestyle shift from products to experiences – but the pandemic forced us to abandon experiences for now. What has followed? Being forced to stop has made us think, different things have become important and our values have crystallised. The prerequisites of ‘the good life’ have changed and the sense of purpose is emphasised.
Research carried out by Kuudes shows that consumer behaviour both in Finland and Sweden has changed for good. People now want their choices to have an impact, meaning that companies must also show a similar attitude towards sustainability, inclusion and accessibility, for example. The wishes and everyday actions of consumers do not necessarily match, but here companies must offer easy solutions for making sustainable choices.
Research carried out by Kuudes shows that consumer behaviour both in Finland and Sweden has changed for good.
One example of a customer-oriented business innovation is the Legal Design concept of the Dottir law firm, which won the Fennia Prize Grand Prix 2020 design award in the autumn. The concept was presented by one of Dottir’s founders, Antti Innanen, who currently works for the Dot. company.
Legal Design was based on the idea that the client’s user interface with legal services is poor and must be improved. Multidisciplinary development work in the fields of law, coding, visual communication and service design created a concept that renders legal processes clear and understandable. This can serve the founder of a new company, for example.
People now want their choices to have an impact, meaning that companies must also show a similar attitude towards sustainability, inclusion and accessibility, for example.
The third speech at Design Forum Date was an example of companies reacting fast in a crisis. It was presented by Hanna Neuvo from interior design agency Fyra and Sebastian Jansson from furniture company Made by Choice. The companies had previously carried out joint interior design projects, but the pandemic had left the order book empty.
A new shared goal was discovered in the need created by remote working for a functioning work desk at home. This resulted in Fem, an easily assembled and stylish work desk for remote working. The design work took place virtually and the first prototype was manufactured within about a month. The table was sold through an online store and quickly became a great success. Quick reactions and starting from a particular need guaranteed success.
To close the Design Forum Date event, Maria Ritola and Petteri Kolinen summarised how important it is for companies to understand rapid changes in their operational environment. The day’s examples proved how companies that have acknowledged this fact have been able to succeed, even under challenging conditions.
Design Forum Finland