Paula Bello on Building Service Design at KONE


Paula Bello from Live|work spoke about her experience as the first service design manager at KONE, a company founded in the 1800s around the manufacture of elevators, escalators and automatic doors. The name KONE translates to “machine” in Finnish but like other companies such as Rolls Royce they have reframed their offering in service terms; today KONE is in the business of “people flow,” moving over a billion people per day.

Paula took us through the evolution of service design at KONE as a series of reactions from key stakeholders as they built an internal competence:

  • What is service design?
  • What does it mean for KONE?
  • Why do we need to do it like this?
  • Oh, so this is what it does!

She convinced leadership to allocate money for a small pilot. Something to demonstrate value and show a quick win. Once people got a taste for service design the conversation changed:

  • Could we use this approach?
  • Do we need so many people involved?
  • How to make sense of all this”subjective” data?
  • Really? Is this what customers think?

People who had worked there for 40 years thought they knew their customers. This process helped to challenge those assumptions. But as their methods began to uncover new problems it led to questions:

  • How could we respond to so many needs?
  • But… this is beyond design!
  • How to implement this?

Paula wrapped up her presentation by summarizing three lessons from her experience at KONE.

  1. The first customer is the organization itself.
  2. Concrete, tangible outcomes are important.
  3. Transform the business from within.

Many of the presenters this year have spoken about the drawbacks of hiring external consultancies and I think that this presentation highlights a new facet. Paula was the service design manager at KONE; she hired Live|work to help with a project; now she works directly for them. I’ve seen that type of hiring happen in both directions but it seems less than ideal for companies that are focused on building an internal competence.

    Leave a Reply

    Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

    You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

    Twitter picture

    You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

    Facebook photo

    You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

    Connecting to %s