Workshop Tour in Japan

2013 started off with an exciting series of workshops and presentations in Japan. STBY was invited to work with two universities in Tokyo and one of the largest national IT companies.

Keio University – Chara Ben project

On 6 and 7 January we were based at Keio University, to work with Dr. Daijiro Mizuno and his students at the Social Fabrication Centre. We participated in a series project meetings to discuss their ongoing design research projects. We also gave a lecture for students who had been studying the book ‘This is Service Design Thinking’ we co-authored with Mark Stickdorn and Jakop Schneidler.
The visit culminated in an intensive workshop hosted by Loftwork in Tokyo, where we worked with a group of students and executive guests to advance their work on ‘Chara Ben’ (developing new services for stakeholders around character bento boxes; children, mothers, manufacturers, publishers, retail).
Daijiro and his colleagues are closely related to Fablab Japan. We were very much inspired by their community of likeminded, super active and engaged people. Their motto is DIWO (Do It With Others), rather than DIY. We fully agree!

iSchool – Tanpopo no le project

On 8 and 9 January we were guests of the iSchool of Tokyo University. The iSchool is comparable to the d-School at Standford University in San Francisco. Students with a mixed background, ranging from business and design to politics and social sciences, team up with sponsors from industry to collaboratively work on projects that will expand their knowledge and skills related to new approaches to innovation and social impact.
During the 2-day workshop we worked in close collaboration with three representatives from the client organisation Tanpopo no le. This non-profit organisation based in Nara does excellent work on social inclusion, civic culture and able art. What started as a small start up in 1995, has now grown to a successful movement that consults varies similar facilities around Japan. This poses a challenge to the organisation to keep their original spirit and focus on social impact alive, while growing and consolidating as an organisation. To support the organisation in this challenge, the iSchool proposed to focus on Tanpopo no le as a case study for the special workshop with STBY.
In preparation for the workshop in January, a group of students and tutors from iSchool did initial fieldwork on site in December. Their observations and documentation were used as input for the workshop to generate insights, opportunities and concept ideas for new service concepts. Throughtout the 2-day event the participants worked very hard and and with much dedication on this. The final presentations at the end were impressive.

NTT Data – Service Design workshop

On Friday 10 January we facilitated a one day seminar organised by NTT Data. We first gave a presentation on the principle of Service Design and then ran a hands on workshop. The group of 50 participants consisted of people from various departments in NTT Data (marekting, engineering, product management) plus some people from other Japanese companies. Most people already had a little introduction to Design Thinking, but were curious to find out how the Service Design approach could be os use them in their daily work.
Based on examples from case studies by STBY we challenged them to engage in a few quick rounds of stakeholder mapping, idea generation and story boarding. To our delight everyone seemed quite comfortable with drawing and presenting their ideas through role playing. They all rose to the challenge of thinking about new services that make use of Big Data to support older people continuing their active participantion in society.
Thanks to the smooth simultaneous translation between English and Japanese (both verbally and in writing on the whiteboard projection screen), we had no difficulty with going into depth and understanding each other. A very joyful and satisfying afternoon indeed.