Best insights of the Service Design Experience in Lisbon

Jules Prick
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Jules Prick
Mai 07, 2018 . 8 mins read
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In the first week of July 2017, Koos Service Design hosted the second edition of the Service Design Experience (SDE) at everis. SDE is a brainy, interactive event aiming to boost innovation skills and to get acquainted with Service Design. For this edition we went to sunny Lisbon in Portugal and gained great new insights!

Why Lisbon?

Wonderful views, Pastéis de Nata, amazing surfing beaches nearby… There’s a lot to explore in the Portuguese capital city. Since opening the Koos Lisbon office in February, our partner Kasper van der Knaap is exploring another aspect of this new location: an exciting service design market. In his own words:

The concept Service Design is not as well known as in the Netherlands so it often takes some time (and a lot of coffee) to explain. However, when convinced, they often become enthusiastic ambassadors themselves.

— Kasper van der Knaap Partner Koos Lisbon

So, what did we do?

The day started with keynote speaker (and happy client of Koos) Hugo Enes, Customer Care Performance, Integration and Development Director at NOS. NOS Comunicações is on of the biggest telecom providers in Portugal. Over the past years Koos worked on several projects with NOS and trained more than 150 of its employees. Hugo shared some of the key insights from these projects and highlighted the added value of integrating Service Design within big organizations.

It was a lot of fun to work with Koos, we mingled very well. They were very professional, but at the same time easy people to work with. They inspired us a lot. They challenged us. And I think they also learned something from us. So it was a very very good partnership.

— Hugo Enes NOS

After this opening session, participants could choose one of the four parallel workshop sessions to take part in:

1. Rapid Prototyping: the end of boring reports?

Lego, glue, scissors, pencils… These might not seem like the most obvious tools you resort to when designing a new business. Nevertheless, during this one-hour workshop participants discovered that these tools are actually very powerful and can open up a whole new perspective for looking at your company.




“I attended the prototyping workshop, it was the best part of the day!” – Maurice Melenberg, participant

2. Visual Thinking: everyone can do it!

Everyone can make useful drawings, and that includes you! Initially, not all participants seemed equally convinced of this message. However, throughout this workshop, Kaspar and Niels helped them discover that even the most basic building blocks like squares, triangles and circles are more than enough to visualize all their service design ideas, and that there’s a lot of room for laughs while doing so.

I joined the workshop just to watch other people, but I found myself drawing in no time. It was not only fun to do, but I also learned something useful. Now that I have learned the basics, I can start to use it in my day to day work.

— Paula

3. Experience Design: why do you need it?

The whole world, including Portugal, is talking about customer journeys. But how do you redesign your journey in order to create an experience that truly adds value to your customer’s life? Nathalie and Karen showed 10 ways of innovating a customer journey and helped participants to think from the customer’s perspective. During a mini-exercise participants immediately got to apply what they learned by improving parts of a journey themselves.

4. Digital Transformations: what does the organisation of tomorrow look like?

Will the future be digital? During this session, Koos’s founders Jules and Robbert-Jan explored the premise that digital transformation is not a goal by itself, but a powerful means to cater to new customer needs. A key topic open for discussion was how this transformation can be enabled within an organization.

One of the main points mentioned by attendees was an organisation’s culture:

“An organization must be a safe space to fail with open minded people where the customer is involved”.

Especially the ‘failing’ part goes against Portuguese working mentality, even though every group mentioned this as a prerequisite for a future-proof organization. Serena made a live drawing of the outcome of the discussion, see this video or the image below.

Wrapping up

The morning ended with a keynote from Nuno Lopes Gama, Head of Innovation & Future Tech at SONAE. He talked about how SONAE created a new product experience by keeping in mind all stakeholders, from farmer to consumer. Since the consumption of milk dropped tremendously, they had to do something to bring more value to milk and products related to milk (like cereals). They ended up redesigning several lines of packaging in order to boost the “milk related” products, to eventually boost the consumption of milk.

This is what we learned

First of all, we solidified our belief that there is much to do in service design in Portugal, and we can’t wait to get our hands dirty. We also noticed that this belief was shared by a lot of the attendees, based on the enthusiasm with which they participated and fired off questions. After a morning full of discussion, we believe that together we can transform the Portuguese industry into an experience driven culture.

Second, our assumption that Service Design is relevant for all kind of sectors was confirmed by the participants of the event. Even though they came from different sectors and had their own perspective, all participants could apply it to their own business and went home with a new perspective.

“I think Service Design is totally applicable to other sectors. You have to provide good experience to your customers, whoever it is. You learn tools that are applicable in many context. So I think it is definitely something much more than only for telecoms.”

— Hugo Enes NOS

We also learned that events like SDE are a valuable source of inspiration for the attendees and for us. Therefore we already planned the next SDE conference: 16th of November 2017 in Amsterdam!

Want to know about Service Design? Let’s keep in touch!

Next to the SDE, Koos is also organizing two-day service design masterclasses. In September in Lisbon, Portugal and Shanghai, China and in December another one in Shanghai, China.

The fee of the Lisbon masterclass will be a bit lower than you might expect from us, so there is no excuse to not get a flight ticket and join us in sunny Lisbon! The date of the masterclass will be announced soon. Keep an eye on  or send kasper@burokoos.coman email if you are interested.

Psst… We’d love to hear from you!

Any comments, feedback on SDE or questions? Please send us an email or come by our office for a coffee.

Jules Prick
Written by
Jules Prick
Mai 07, 2018 . 8 mins read
Share this article