We no longer define ourselves with product brands we use, but with experiences we have. Global mega trends show that there is a heavily growing demand for services that aim to make us more successful, well-balanced, adventurous, social and healthy. Therefore, there is also a huge demand for services that save time from our daily routines, allowing us to invest that time in services that help us develop ourselves – and benefit others and the nature around us.
In a world where most of the consumers in the Western world have lived their lives, surrounded by all the material goods they need, they don’t have to pile any more items in their wardrobes. Time has replaced material goods: the more time you spend on yourself, the more successful you are (in the eyes of others). If you also can benefit others or save the world while developing yourself, the better for you and your ego. The good news is that many (digital) services save, not only our time, but also natural resources. When these services are designed also with social impact in mind they can have a big effect on the whole society.
When the majority of consumers start realising that with apps and (online) services they can save huge amounts of time from work, grocery shopping, transportation, healthcare and household duties, and they can use that time for developing their mind or body, their skills or social communication – and at the same time do good for the environment or the community around them – there will be an unforeseen demand for the new services (on top of the ones we already have), both digital and physical. I believe, like many others, that this mind shift will be revolutionary for our entire society as it changes how we use our time and how we see the world around us.
I am constantly developing the e-commerce startup Duara Travels, which I founded with two other ladies in 2015. Our online service offers international travellers the possibility to experience everyday life in villages off the beaten path in Africa, Asia and Latin America and to empower the locals. We now have 20 villages in 5 countries and the feedback has been flattering.
I do not think we can truly be happy if we constantly act against our values. Many people already understand that continuous production of new goods destroys our planet. Therefore, the less material goods we use the happier we are. Many services aim to reduce waste, use less energy, cut emissions, replace materials with digital files and last longer.
We also want to see that people around us are treated equally. I believe that in the future we will see more and more commercially profitable services with social impact, whether it is about taking care of people in our society, such as the elderly, the disabled and immigrants, or people who live a bit further away from us, such as labour workers, refugees and people living in the bottom of the pyramid.
With BOTH Design Services and Service Design Agency Passi & Ripatti we created new sales tools for ISS energy management service. The project started with observing sales meetings and interviewing sales managers, property maintenance and potential b2b clients and ended up delivering tangible tools such as films, slide shows and case examples.
I am not talking about charity, but companies that deliver the best possible services for mass consumers or b2b clients – and invest a part of their income in developing the society by giving new employment options for those who find it difficult to find a job. These kinds of service providers are also the employers of the future as people want their work to be meaningful.
Doing good and being profitable are not contradictory. Duara Travels, a sustainable online travel company, which I founded with two other business ladies, has given me a real-life introduction to the impact startup scene in Europe and I have seen there are lots of things happening already and more bubbling under. It will be interesting to see where the future takes us!
How to turn the website of a customer magazine into a service that benefits multiple stakeholders? Isännöintiliitto (the Finnish Real Estate Management Federation) wanted to serve their clients better with informative online and offline magazine of Kotitalo. With customer-centric design process, we examined the needs of multiple stakeholder groups. The federation created a concept that won The Best Customer Magazine of the Year prize in national Edit competition 2015.
Thanks to my various b2b and b2c clients, I have been in charge of designing and creating digital and physical services, user platforms and sales tools, UX and UI design, workshops and education events for a social media application, home energy management, facility services, real estate management, economic consultation, retail, design consultation and e-commerce in travel business.
In the future, I hope to be a part of the movement that is creating and developing profitable services for emerging lower middle class in Africa, Asia and Latin America, but also for the elderly, children, immigrants and others nearby.
THIS IS WHAT MY CLIENTS SAY
“Annika collaborated as a designer in our project that aimed to provide a mobile info service for illiterate adults in Helsinki. She grasped easily the requirements of a design aimed for a very unique target group, and she also made collaboration effortless for us.
The outcome was stylish and easy to use, as Annika also offered us consulting and ideas that improved the original user interface in many ways.
The info service Löydä Helsinki is currently finding its audience and is still in development content-wise but the design given to it makes it enjoyable to provide it with content and to market it proudly for its future users.”