Mikko Koivisto, pioneer of service design, chosen to receive the Ornamo Award

Winner of the Ornamo Award 2017: Mikko Koivisto. Photo: Anni Koponen
Winner of the Ornamo Award 2017: Mikko Koivisto. Photo: Anni Koponen

Service designer Mikko Koivisto has won the Ornamo Award of 2017. Koivisto, the Lead Service Designer and Customer Experience Director of the Hellon service design agency, is one of Finland’s first academically trained professionals in service design. He has been involved in developing this field both in Finland and abroad.

The winner of the Ornamo Award was chosen from among three shortlisted candidates by Pauli Aalto-Setälä, CEO of Aller Media, who views the field of design in its thorough process of change with interest, comparing it to the changes undergone by media. Through digitisation and the emergence of the user experience, design, communication, advertising and marketing are closer to each other than ever before.

– There are many contemporary phenomena and trends where design thinking can contribute to their utilisation. Service design is the highest level of design, in which the user experience is dependent on the entity as a whole. In the future, customers will be encountered twice – digitally and kinetically, softly or less softly – but always in an engaging and service-oriented way. Mikko Koivisto is a pioneer of service design in Finland and a designer who has had major influence on the growth of this sector, and he deserves full recognition for his work, says Aalto-Setälä.

– The rapid evolution of all industries towards services is a megatrend, as is also encountering the customer. Therefore, service design is topical. Companies are hiring customer experience managers, because this experience has greater impact than prices on purchasing decisions, says Mikko Koivisto.

The service designer is a professional of user-drive design

Rapidly growing in popularity, service design was adopted as a term in Finland in the early 2000s. Its core is in user-driven design, which has always been an important part of the professional skills of the designer. This work involves the planning and development of new service products and services into more fluent and smoother forms with the means of design.

The growing importance of the customer experience has increased demand for service design in recent years. This is also reflected by the diversification of training offered in this field and the varied uses of ‘service designer’ as a professional title.

Mikko Koivisto hastens to point out that service designers are highly trained professionals whose work calls for broad cross-disciplinary expertise. Koivisto himself has a professional background as an industrial designer.

– Service designers need to have command of, for example, user studies, the development of business operations and traditional design skills, such as visualisation. At the same time, they must be empathetic, analytical and creative.

Showcasing reformers of design

The Ornamo Award is a highly-regarded distinction lending visibility to contemporary design and the industrial arts. This year’s three finalists share a contemporary approach, influence, and a perspective on the future.

To be shortlisted for the prize is a notable recognition, as this selection is based on a two-stage peer review by experts in design. The board of the Finnish Association of Designers Ornamo chooses the candidates from among proposals submitted by the membership.

The finalists were service designer Mikko Koivisto, design director Antti Olin of the Isku company, and designer Aamu Song.

As a designer and the design director of the Isku company, Antti Olin has implemented changes that have made it possible to keep furniture production in Finland. Isku addressed the challenges of market forces by carrying out significant automation at its furniture factory in Lahti and through the new Health and Active Learning alliances that Olin has been creating.

Aamu Song has opened doors to a sector of small and middle-sized business that would be declining without creative design. With the aid of her Company firm, Song has been introducing new solutions and energy for sectors making heritage products.

The winner of the Ornamo Award was announced on the 24th of April 2017 at Design Museum in Helsinki, where the finalists are featured in the Enter and Encounter exhibition of design. This commemorative exhibition with its perspective on the future is Ornamo’s main event of the centenary year of Finnish independence.

More information on the finalists of the Ornamo Award of 2017