HOW WAS THE CONCEPT CREATED?
Think Corner will reach its goal when it generates new discussion topics, networks and action for a better world. Whether student, urban resident, upper-secondary school leaver or famous international professor, Think Corner visitors will go home with a new idea or innovation.
The goal is that once the building on Yliopistokatu has been fully renovated in 2017, it will become an international arena of learning and interaction which will increase the social impact of science and help the University of Helsinki communicate its world-class research in a way that is appealing to an international audience.
Opened in 2012, the key concept behind the original Think Corner is still valid: its core idea is to lower the threshold to engage with science and to generate more impact through science.
SURVEYING THE NEEDS OF THINK CORNER USERS
Determining the needs of Think Corner visitors was one of the main objectives of the project. The Think Corner service concept and the content of its services are based on carefully analysed user needs. While client insight was mainly accumulated towards the beginning of the project, it continued throughout as the research questions and hypotheses took shape.
Client needs were mainly explored through two qualitative methods: by talking to Think Corner users and by engaging a large group of experts and decision-makers. We also observed the visitors to the public spaces and meeting spots.
HOURS OF OBSERVATIONS ON CAMPUSES, AROUND TOWN
INTERVIEWS AND BRIEF CONVERSATIONS
DEFINING TARGET GROUPS AND CLIENT PROFILES
Think Corner’s main target groups were defined as Students, Researchers, Partners and Drop-Ins. As a result of these client insights, we generated a vision of the main motives each group has for visiting Think Corner. Within these target segments, we created the Think Corner client profiles, which represent extremes and stereotypes of Think Corner users. The clients’ relationships to science and work methods were used as profiling criteria.
THINK CORNER PROMISE – “WHAT MAKES THINK CORNER UNIQUE?”
Based on the client insights and the University’s reputation studies, the University of Helsinki was almost universally viewed as a dignified institution, but also as somewhat old fashioned and difficult to approach. In contrast, Think Corner was thought to be dynamic, but partially detached from the University.
Planning the Think Corner promise crystallised into one question:
“What makes you feel like you are at the University, the heart of academic knowledge, but also in a fast-paced, active environment that encourages one to take action and experiment?”
We wanted to combine the University’s most important resource, scientific research, into the active Think Corner way of doing things. There are many pop-in work spaces in the world, but Think Corner can stand apart by providing credible, impartial content and collaborative learning.
IT MAKES ME THINK
IT MAKES ME TALK
IT MAKES ME TICK
Four service design teams consisting of members of the University community, partners, experts and students were invited to join the project. The teams were tasked with generating ideas, as well as developing and testing Think Corner services during three intensive Service Jam workshops.
At the workshops, two restrictions were set: each Think Corner service must be aimed at a specific user, and all ideas must support the Think Corner promise.
The workshops generated a significant number of new ideas, service concepts and interpretations of what Think Corner could – and should – be like. In addition to ideas, the workshops also resulted in something greater: the idea of the new Think Corner spread to a wider audience, who actively created ideas about content, spread the word about the project and identified with it.
PARTICIPATING MEMBERS OF THE UNIVERSITY COMMUNITY AND PARTNERS
NEW SERVICE IDEAS
VISUALISING AND TESTING IDEAS
The ideas created at the Service Jams with the most potential were visualised, and the level of interest in them was gauged by surveying target group representatives on the University’s campuses. Value propositions, assumed user objectives and success criteria were set for the ideas for testing. The testing was conducted through brief conversations in different settings in which the idea was introduced to the target group representative who was then requested to provide feedback. Results from the tests served as background material for the subsequent Service Jam, in which the ideas were further developed based on the feedback.
CRYSTALLISING AND TESTING THE CONCEPT
The ideas from the service design teams were grouped based on target group motives. For example, the service ideas and functions corresponding to a student’s need to promote his career and create employer contacts were grouped together. Seven key functions arose as a result of these groupings, and were named ‘Corners’ to correspond to the Think Corner brand.
The Corners constitute the Think Corner service concept, which was then tested on users, developers and the University community. The testing was conducted as an open online survey as well as through brief discussions.
COMMENTS FROM DEVELOPERS AND USERS
The service design teams refined the concept at the third Service Jam. As Think Corner will have content themes which change twice a year, the assignment for the final workshop was to examine the Corners from the perspective of an example theme. During this workshop, we rehearsed how the Corners will work together.