Takeaways from Visma UX & Service Design Days 2018

There were a lot of expectations before the big meetup with all Visma UX and Service Design colleagues. We continue to grow, and this has brought many new skills and experiences to our community. And we were not disappointed – now we all have a base in understanding and doing service design that we bring with us back home.

Once a year, the Visma Design community gets together. Visma is divided into two big departments; Enterprise and Small and Medium Businesses (SMB). Sometimes we meet by division, this year we met almost all of us, around 80 out of 120 persons. That is one of the great things with working with design at Visma – in our design community we are all equal and everyone can reach to any colleague anytime. Meeting physically builds relationships across departments and countries. It brings us close and it is easier to reach out online afterwards.


The outside perspective

The two days were carefully planned and we got a great mix of seminars, workshops and of course time for discussions and laughter. Day one kicked off with an external speaker, Lilian Olsen from Halogen, a Visma customer sharing her view on a future design perspective. Big companies need to care for and foster innovation to stay ahead and compete with small startups. With holistic thinking and co-creation, we can find new business models and create desirable products. Bård Benum from Vital Things also encouraged us to be innovative. By using co-creation with management, designers, customers, and partners we can build a learning culture that can adapt to new challenges and react to market needs.

Lilian Olsen: Co-creation and holistic thinking will help big companies survive

The management perspective

We got the opportunity to have a Q & A session with our CEO, Øystein Moan. The support from management is reflected in various ways, for instance, in our measurement areas – to create “best in class experiences” and also by having division directors understanding the importance of good design and customer experience.


The human perspective

Our awesome colleague Anna Kirah hosted the next session. To build a strong UX culture we have to be humble – we do not know everything and we cannot know everything. We can and should work with allies that support our way of thinking and recruit skilled and brave colleagues that help us drive and improve Visma.

She shared her “people-centric approach” (watch similar TED talk here) and my takeaways are:

  • Dare to see things from other perspectives – have an open mind to possibilities and make sure to get a holistic view
  • Creativity and curiosity are for everyone – never stop asking “why?”
  • Create with people – not for them – and make sure to do it continuously
  • Never assume anything – it makes an ass out of (yo)u and me 😄

Anna in action

One of the greatest takeaways from the Visma UX and Service Design days is what makes us active listeners. Anna Kirah shared these tips, that also Marianne and Cecilie used in the service design workshop:

  • Mirror the answer – repeat a word you hear, use the silence and use the language of the person you are talking to.
  • Use the boomerang – if you get a question, ask the person back what they think. This makes us learn their point of view, not implying ours on them.
  • Never have a manuscript with questions – follow the topic and listen carefully to things that you can follow up on, be adaptive.
  • Answer like Columbo – “help me understand” “how is this connected”. Be interested in the topic and the person you are talking to.
  • Practice! At least 5-10 minutes every day, use colleagues, family, friends…
  • Do not plan research too much – just do it.
  • Get lost in the woods! Sometimes you do not know where you are heading, what you will learn, but you will always get back with new insights that take you forward.


The Service Design practice perspective

Marianne and Cecilie took us on a half-day workshop where we got the opportunity to try out service design in practice. By co-creation with real users, we created several customer journeys covering the onboarding to Visma process. It was a fun and really useful activity where we could make use of the theory we heard from Anna and the others. It is really fascinating what we can gain using co-creation and well-planned methods in our daily work. The team is everything!


The personal perspective

Visma UX & Service Design Days are not only about business mindset but also about getting to know each other. A very fun way of doing this was the “Drawing challenge” by Marianne. Everyone helped out drawing a portrait of each other in a very fun way. You can get more inspiration on our Instagram account.


The practice perspective

Sanna Lindqvist, Development manager in Visma SMB, took us on a historic Visma journey that started with successful on-prem applications with few releases per year. Now all Visma applications strive towards “the cloud” and transdisciplinary agile teams delivering business value every day. To stay ahead and be successful Sanna encourage us to:

  • Measure customer satisfaction and loyalty
  • Get the helicopter perspective – service design and getting people together
  • Do co-creation with stakeholders and customers, before, during & after

By designing experiences together, we are building relations & trust. To create amazing products together we need to have different perspectives and different mindsets. She also quoted our new Product Design Director, Lammert Postma, “UX is not a job, it is a team effort.” We are all designers of the customer experience so we have to work as one team with many skills and experiences in order to make success.

Atle Myhrer, Product line manager in Visma Enterprise and Susanne Ursin, Digital customer success manager in SMB, both shared their experiences from using service design and co-creation in their projects. Some quotes from them are “We tend to focus on the touchpoints but forget the inbetweens – The magic happens in the inbetweens” and “Service design allows multiple ways to see the same things, providing us with a more holistic understanding.”


The reflecting perspective – what do we continue to use after this?

In the Stockholm office, we wanted to keep this genuine feeling of inspiration that we got from the UX & Service Design Days. In our Creative war room, we are constantly reminded to be an active listener and ask “why” like Columbo.

Interview techniques inspiration from Visma UX days

Yoda is always reminding us to challenge ourselves and not to base design decisions on assumptions.

Yoda is always reminding us to challenge ourselves by being an alien

One of the book walls in Stockholm with quotes from the Visma UX Days 2018

We already look forward to next time!