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How to co-create co-learning?

Case: Service Design Intensive Course – Laurea University of Applied Sciences & Tshwane University of Technology

Take a design sprint, add couple of professional ecosystem and design educators and a group of joyful and vibrant students. Mix together with service design tools and methods and lots of open-minded and heartfelt discussions. Shake, stir and serve during the beautiful Finnish September – the outcome is wonderful.

Cultural exchange in learning methods does you good. It makes you quite aware of your own habits and gives you permission to think differently, to try differently. And sometimes it even blurs the lines on who is teaching who. We all naturally learn from each other – And that’s the beauty of co-learning.

In September 2023 we at Vision Factory were happy to be in co-operation with of Laurea University of Applied Sciences for the third time in organising a Service Design Intensive Course for the students of Tshwane University of Technology in South Africa. As a partner of Laurea we were responsible for the service design learning process and for the hosting of our wonderful and vibrant students from South Africa.

With an ”old school approach” we worked mostly with physical materials and focused on co-learning from each other and co-creating results. Our students were eager to take part in diverse discussions and share knowledge, observations and innovations with the group. And they quite simply were amazing – warm, enthusiastic, innovating and spontaneously joyful.

Pictures from the workshop

In addition to service design, co-creation and design thinking basics it’s safe to say that we most definitely did all learn from each other something that will stay with us for a long time to come.

The aim for the intensive course was to introduce the students with different service design methods and tools, both in theory and in practice. We focused on finding and understanding the customer needs in service development and how design thinking helps to guide the process to create better outcomes from customer perspective. For three days we combined lectures with practical workshop activities and open exchange of thoughts. Our Krista shared with the group her deep knowledge of the key elements of co-creation and ecosystem thinking and Outi held a gaming session with our InnoBoost innovation game that was hugely successful with the students. Hanna was the general course manager and held service design tools and methods lessons and activities as well as guided the students along the process of trying out different service design methods in practice.

Before the course every student was handed with a pre-assignment where they observed services from their own surroundings that needed improvements. Those services were combined, and four different topics rose from them that the students took on as their development assignments during the course. All the topics addressed hugely important issues that people in South Africa deal with in their everyday life, ranging from integrating public transportation system to improving healthcare and social benefits system, to better unify online working and applying for students and to constant supply of energy with the problem of load shedding.

We all are shaped by our surroundings – how we communicate and process things is a combination of nature and nurture for sure, but it’s also built with our willingness to take in new ideas and methods. With this wonderful group we were truly amazed by everyone’s courage and ability, and genuine open-mindedness to jump right in to a new environment and field. Co-learning is beautiful.

More information from VF team members:

Krista Keränen

CEO, Business Designer & Researcher

Outi Kinnunen

Design Director, Partner

Hanna Voutilainen

Service Designer

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