Service Design Hackathon for students - how to create four concepts in 15 hours

• 28.04.16 •

Salla Heinänen • Senior Service Designer

“A Service design hackathon is a great way to learn how the real business works.” “This way of studying is something students need more of”. “It’s very important to understand the demands of working life while studying.”

These quotes are from feedback given by students who participated in a service design hackathon organized by Futurice, The Construction Quality Association RALA and Tampere University of Technology (TUT).

While we agree that students need real work life experience, traditional organizations also have trouble when figuring out what to do in the digitalizing world. When we set up this service design hackathon, we put students in a need of working life experiences together with one organization’s troubles in the digital world, and used Futurice’s Lean Service Creation (LSC) methodology to create new ideas and concepts.

Findind a problem worth solving

In a Futurice led LSC project we gather people from our customer’s organization with different backgrounds to create a solution to a customer’s problem. Thus we also wanted to have students from different educational backgrounds in the service design hackathon. We formed multidisciplinary teams to make the hacking situation as realistic as possible. The idea of having students with different study programs turned to be great. “Ideation in the group with students from different backgrounds was the most important thing I learned.” tells one student after the hackathon was over.

The hackathon was organized in three sessions; the first evening was about finding a problem worth solving. A week from that we had another evening session where we focused on validating the problem, and the next day we had a full day session where we created and validated the solution and defined the business model. After hours of hard work the teams presented concepts to show off all the insights and solutions they had created.

The concepts were pitched to all participants and a jury who selected the winning team. It was amazing to see that all the teams had found a different view to the problem as they all had chosen different target segment. The customer found all the concepts potential for further development and choosing the winner was difficult.

Pitching session.

The whole pitching session demonstrated how well Lean Service Creation works in action. Students were only coached a little bit in what to do with all the LSC tools and facilitators helped them with the problems and obstacles that occurred during the process. “ Lean Service Creation seems to be a really well working method” said one of the students.

RALA awarded the winning team with present cards, and all students got credits for participating, as the hackathon was also a special course in the Information Management and Logistics department of TUT.

If you want to know how LSC could help your organization please get in touch with us! Lean Service Creation material is also available free from

Sign up for Futurice news

Futu Connect is our semi-regular roundup of all things Futurice. Be in the know about career-changing events, industry-leading content, non-profit passion projects, and an ever-changing job board.

Enter your email address below.