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Is it possible to Design Culture for Humans?

Sara Doltz

Have you ever heard the saying ‘culture eats strategy for breakfast’? If you’ve ever caught yourself thinking, “Oh well, that’s just the way things are at our office”, you’re in luck. Alla Weinberg, leadership coach and culture designer knows how to change that.

Back in August, one of our UX designers, Joakim Nemback, participated in Alla Weinberg’s workshop, Culture Design for Humans at UX Week in San Francisco. He liked it so much that he took her method and immediately put it to good use—he took the Stockholm office through a mini workshop on Alla’s take on Culture Design.

”It was an easy to understand, hands on approach on how to understand and influence your current culture. One example that came up in the workshop was how UX teams are often brought in too late in projects. It’s always a last minute patch where the organisation feels that they need to “add some design”. This means that the common misunderstanding is that design is something simple—something that’s easy to “fix”. How can we change that? And design a culture that is aware that UX is important and takes time” says Joakim Nemback.

Time for a change

What if you wanted to improve, shape, or design the culture of your organisation? Maybe you want your organisation to be more customer centric, creative, or simply more collaborative. It can be done, according to Alla Weinberg. You will learn how to do just that, but also how to create an experience map to identify and understand your current culture. After that, you move on to actually changing and influencing that culture to be what you envision.

The focus can be changing the culture of your design group, the department, or the whole organisation. You’ll be able to take what you’ve learned and apply it to your current challenges, big or small! The method works for both.

Alla Weinberg is one of the speakers at From Business to Buttons and she will also host the workshop Cultural Design for Humans on May 16 in Stockholm.

Hogia brings the entire team to FBTB

Sara Doltz

Bjarne Johannessen, UX Lead at Hogia, has done what only a handful of people have accomplished: he's been to all of the From Business to Buttons conferences! This year they will try to send 7 or 8 employees to the conference.

The UX team at Hogia consists of 6 people, with Bjarne Johannessen as the UX lead. Bjarne has done what only a handful of people have accomplished: he's been to all of the From Business to Buttons conferences!

What he especially appreciates with the conference is the width of knowledge – general, but at the same time specific – and that it's always ”packaged in an entertaining way”.

”Instead of taking a course on a single topic, you get a lot of information and inspiration. When I go home, I have the basis to continue to work throughout the year,” Bjarne says.

Managers and specialists are also coming

With about 630 employees, Hogia develops enterprise systems – staff administration, finance and so on. The company puts a high priority on creating a great user experience, and will expand the UX team with two more employees in 2018.

”We have support and buyin from the entire management, which is very important,” says Bjarne.

That UX is a high priority within the company is evident in several ways. For example, a number of people outside the UX team have also been to FBTB.

”Previous years, managers, test leaders, and specialists from product development have joined us at the conference. I try to entice people internally every year. They'll understand our deisgn process better then,” Bjarne says.

This year Hogia is planning to send 7 or 8 employees to the conference.

Same challenges

The FBTB speakers for 2018 match Hogia's challenges well. Bjarne takes Maria Guidice as an example. She was hired to turn around the Autodesk, from a product-centered company to a customer-centric. Autodesk is 35 years old. Hogia was established 37 years ago.

”I think their challenges are very similar to ours. We have new focus at Hogia, but with a foundation in products. In addition, I am really looking forward to Ame Elliot's talk on ethics, security and the GDPR theme.”

He also looks forward to Jared Spool.

Own contact with the speakers

”Twitter is a great platform for finding new inspiration in the field of UX. After FBTB, I have been able to interact with a lot of the speakers. For example, I have had a lot of contact with Jeff Gothelf (who spoke on FBTB 2014),” says Bjarne Johannessen.

Get your tickets to From Business to Buttons now. 

Students – here are 4 awesome thesis projects

Sara Doltz

For the second year in a row, we at inUse are looking for students interested in doing their thesis work with us.

Last year was a great success, with more than 50 applications and three different thesis projects being supervised by inUse. This year we're announcing four thesis projects and we decided to have a talk about them with Jon Karlsson, who is responsible for them and our trainee program

What can you tell us about this year’s projects?
– I’m really excited about all of them! I think that there is a good diversity between them and we’re covering a wide range of topics - from traditional interaction design to more experimental exploration of AR and VR. We also have to projects that in different ways touches upon service design - which I know a lot of students are interested in. 

This year there is also a project with a real client. Tell me more about that.
– We’ll it’s not actually a client of ours, but one of the nominees that got an honorary mention in this year’s inUse Award; Efterlevandeguiden. I think they are providing such a great service in a context and situation that is very demanding. And we are really glad that we could help facilitate this project together with them.

Do you have any advice for the applicants?
– Show what your passionate about, be yourself and try to stand out from the crowd. I read a lot of applications, not only for the thesis projects and our trainee-program, and unfortunately a lot of applicants don’t manage to convey their passion and why they want the position.

When is the deadline to apply?
– November 5th! So hurry up if you are interested!

The Story behind From Business to Buttons

Sara Doltz

Tickets for FBTB 2018 are available now! Johan Berndtsson, program chair, is eager to reveal all of the speakers. But first… let's tell you the story about how FBTB became FBTB.

From Business to Buttons is Scandinavia’s premier User Experience and Service Design conference. It’s held annually in Stockholm and takes aim at the intersection of business and digital design.

– We like to think of it as the meeting place for everyone who wants inspiration, and hands-on advice, on how to generate business value by creating great user experiences, says Johan Berndtsson, program chair and COO at inUse, who are organizing the conference.

– The somewhat strange name originates from the first paper we wrote on the method Impact Mapping, that we created some 15 years ago. The paper was first presented at the conference “Design 2002” in Dubrovnik, and emphasised the connection between business, user behaviour, and design.

– It all started because we wanted to give everyone at inUse a great conference experience, with lots of inspiration and new insights. But then we thought, well, why not make this an open event where anyone who wants can participate, so we did. An obvious benefit is of course getting to know all the nice people who attend the conference, many of whom we have since had the pleasure of working with in one form or another.

The conference has been around for 10 years. It started as a multi-track event in Malmö with mostly Swedish speakers. But as time past, it has evolved immensely.

Now it’s a one-track setup to give all the participants a shared, great experience. FBTB prefers shorter talks and breaks (with great “fika”) between sessions.

– We also decided to go, almost exclusively, with carefully selected international speakers. People that you ordinarily would have to travel thousands of miles to see are now coming to us instead. I think it’s important that every designer, product manager, design executive etc has access to top class international speakers and a world class conference experience without traveling to the other side of the world. It saves both time and money.

The event has grown as the general interest in User Experience and Service Design has gotten bigger. Today these topics are at the top of the agenda in every steering group and board room. For the last five years FBTB has sold out every year, at least a few weeks before the conference-date, so the cheaper early-bird tickets can be especially hard to come by if you’re not on your toes. Get your tickets now, early bird is available until November 30.

Johan Berndtsson, Mikael Aldman, Ingrid Domingues och Kjell Persson. Foto: Patrik Renmark

inUse+ÅF

Johan Berndtsson

inUse and ÅF are joining forces to form Sweden’s largest Service Design and User Experience agency, with a turnover of over 200M SEK.

Ever since I and the other founders gathered around Ingrid’s kitchen table our goal has been to make the greatest difference we can. For those who use the solutions we create, for the clients we work for, and – as often as we can – for society at large.

For 15 years, all of us at inUse have built a fantastic business. We’ve grown from zero to over a hundred colleagues. We have teached thousands of classes, helped thousands of clients with tens of thousands of challenges, and we’ve made everyday life easier and more fun for millions of users.

inUse has never been just a company. inUse is an idea. An idea that design makes a difference. For humans, business, and society at large.

In recent years many internationally renowned Service Design and User Experience companies have been acquired by management consulting companies, IT companies, banks, product companies, and others. This is not a coincidence. The purpose is apparent: the increasingly complex development of products and services has to be lead from a design perspective. And that’s where we are today.

inUse is a strong Service Design and User Experience brand in Scandinavia and internationally. This comes from, among other things, the conference From Business To Buttons, the many speakers and authors working at inUse, our commitment and diligent work with City of Denver, Smart Cities, and more.

When we look forward, to the next 15 years, we will have a entirely new platform to work with. A platform that truly and genuinely, allows us to realise our designs and the things we create.

With the new platform we gain access to technical expertise that our designers and front-end developers can use to deliver complete solutions.

With the new platform, we have access to 400 architects, light designers and acoustic experts – a perfect match to our efforts in Human Spaces and smart cities.

With the new platform we significantly increase our capabilities to manage physical touchpoints in the customer journey mapping, with the addition of a large number of very skilled industrial designers.

ÅF has offices in 30 countries, and has a clear desire for inUse to gain a higher international presence – just in line with our plans to open more offices.

We are extremely excited! With ÅF we get the platform we need to take the next step, and fulfill the promise that design really can make a difference – for users, business, and society at large.

We need more extraordinary talents on this journey to succeed. Do you want to join in?

Johan Berndtsson, COO of InUse and Co-founder

Mikael Aldman, Deputy Regional Director of InUse and Co-founder

Ingrid Domingues, Director of Impact Management and Co-founder

Kjell Persson, CEO of InUse
 

Facts about the acquisition:

  • ÅF acquires inUse Experience AB, as well as the US subsidiary inUse Inc.
  • inUse continues to operate under its own brand, but is organizationally integrated into ÅF's Digital Solutions division.
  • inUse continues to work with its customers and does not waive any of values, offers or focus areas. On the contrary, we will be able to expand the areas in which inUse has already succeeded.
  • The founders, CEO, and the regional managers at InUse have all been active in the acquisition process and all remain in the business.
  • All employees at inUse and ÅF Design enter into the new merged business. With with a turnover of 200M SEK.
  • Johan Berndtsson, co-founder and COO of inUse, will lead inUse. He will report to Ann Granberg, head of ÅF Design.
  • Kjell Persson, current CEO of InUse, will have a special responsibility for business development of ​​Smart Cities and other areas where inUse holds the key to cross-disciplinary offerings.