It’s time for balloons, discos and donuts – Vappu is here!

Due to the Coronavirus pandemic big traditional happenings are on hold. However, Goforeans wanted to share happy and family-friendly ideas for remote and #Stayhome parties.

Top 10 Vappu tips

  1. The more balloons and streamers you have the more festival the atmosphere rises*
  2. Don’t forget to invite guests! Organising remote fancy vappu dinner with friends or family is easier than ever:  buy similar takeaways for guests and have a quality dinner over a video call
  3. Stick with the traditions: brew sima and bake “munkkeja” (a type of Finnish donut)
  4. Also, if you prefer spending time by chilling instead of baking, don’t hesitate to support your local bakery. Most likely they even have home delivery options
  5. This year you can be goofing around with various vappu garments without losing them all over the city
  6. Taking part in the concerts is now easier than ever: you can lay on your coach, drink your favourite beverage and watch the gigs on YouTube or on Facebook
  7. There are many options also for kids: enjoy Live Facebook children’s concert or a remote vappu disco. Check out this for example Lasten Vappufestivaali Livestream
  8. Start the BBQ season – The new philosophy of grilling is that everything can be grilled
  9. Remember also outdoor activities such as Mölkky
  10. Have a picnic on a balcony and instead of disposable tableware use the house silver. Also, enjoy the fact you don’t need to stress about finding the toilet.

Stay safe and have fun – celebrate Vappu from your home this year!

*remember the recycling, you can find comprehensive tips here.

Gofore Oyj

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The greatest danger in times of complexity is not the complexity itself — it is to act with yesterday’s thinking.

Once upon a time, there was a people who lived in a land of natural diversity and exceptional beauty.

Their natural resources made them wealthy: the more efficiently these resources were exploited, the greater the returns were for the rich and powerful of the country. Everyone knew that there were limits to how much the natural resources could be exploited, but the short-term benefits proved irresistible. A large, unique area of jungle was burned down for the productive use of land.

But then the people rebelled, demanding that the jungle must be recovered. People went to the streets to save the national animal, the capybara — the only non-fictional creature in this tale — from extinction caused by destruction of the jungle.

A jungle story

Under pressure, national politicians decided to build a new jungle.

This became the key strategic mission for all officials. Action was quickly taken. First, a broad-based steering group was set up to take charge of the project’s planning and implementation. Then, the organisation for the jungle rebuilding project begun.

An agency for trees was established; after all, trees are a key element of jungles. Next, a project office was created for insects, since insects are the most numerous creatures in the jungle. These were followed by separate units dedicated to plants, reptiles and birds.

The water bureau would be responsible for water areas, and the mammal agency for the fate of the world’s largest rodent, the capybara. Finally, targets and key performance indicators were set for each unit.

Things were moving according to plan.

However, progress was too slow from the perspective of the only surviving capybara pair. The species is unable to produce vitamin C by itself and needs water lilies for its nourishment. The project had not yet been able to start planting water lilies. So, the capybaras contacted the rodent department of the mammal agency to ask about the issue.

“That’s not our responsibility, you should probably talk to the plant institute.”

The capybara called there.

“It is still unclear which one is responsible for the water lilies, the plant institute’s seed unit or the water bureau. Right now, we’re doing something more important: defining indicators for our performance-based pay system. You should talk to the water bureau.”

And that is what the capybara did.

“We’re implementing a new digital ERP system, so nothing is likely to happen until that’s completed. Besides, there’s no money for water lilies in this year’s budget and we can’t spend money on extra-budgetary items. Maybe next year, but you should contact the politicians first.”

However, realising the importance of the capybara, the water bureau official was anxious enough to take the matter to a coordinating steering group. This was the right decision: the steering group decided to set up an internal audit unit for overseeing the agencies, create a dedicated customer service centre to deal with queries, add a FAQ section to the project website, and invest in service design training.

Time flew, annual budgets came and went, and several reports and the first external evaluation on the project were drawn up. Things were moving forward, but not in the jungle.

Then fate intervened. The jungle began to recover naturally, water lilies grew back, and the capybara family started to flourish. The people rejoiced, politicians were popular again and officials celebrated their forthcoming bonuses for succeeding in customer satisfaction surveys.

Anything is possible in tales. Unfortunately, not all fairy tales have a happy ending.

Tales are what they are, but they do tell us something meaningful about life. We can learn something from them. Rather than telling us what to do, they warn us about hazards and pitfalls. “While building a new jungle sounds exotic, we are now faced with comparable, urgent issues such as Covid-19, growing inequality, climate change, increasing mental health problems, young people who feel they can’t advance in life and the need, in government, to reinvent organisations as the operating environment changes rapidly.

A systemic transition is underway

A jungle is a classic example of a complex system burgeoning with symbioses, continuous natural selection, diversity of species and rapid biological cycles.

When we talk about complexity, we rarely explain all the underlying factors: variety, interdependence and the increasing pace of change. For many organisations, variety alone — and not a pace of change as is commonly thought — is a major challenge.

In both the jungle and social systems, these underlying factors are in constant motion due to their dynamic interrelationships. Paradoxically, complexity itself is complex. Nowadays contextual awareness and sensemaking are more and more important when choosing effective solutions and actions.

The greater the complexity and the contextual emphasis, the greater the risk of perceptual distortion. Perceptual distortion refers to a situation in which the wrong methods are applied due to incorrect, incomplete, or outdated perceptions. We are often misled by our mental models. The classic example from the business world is sticking to a strategy for too long after the market logic has changed. Perceptual distortion is different from our natural cognitive biases.

During systemic transitions — such as the Engels’ pause — the old and new tend to coexist. The old has not withered away, and the new has yet to take shape. We sense that something new is emerging, but still lack the words to describe it. The risk of perceptual distortion grows. The first Engels’ pause occurred during the transitional phase of the industrial revolution and lasted around forty years.

In the last 200 years or so, people have moved from farms to factories, from factories to offices, and from offices to the interaction society. We believe that a new Engels’ pause has begun due to greater complexity, digitalisation and the explosive growth and availability of information.

During a systemic transition, we must be more ready to ask “why?” before taking an action of any kind. The role of people becomes that of channelling consensus into contextually aware actions, interaction with other people at a deep level, creativity, and the ability to perceive phenomena systematically.

Car tuning is tempting

We’re very good at doing old and familiar things faster or doing the wrong things righter.

In today’s workplace the toolkit typically includes staff training, digitalisation, service design, and lean and agile transformations. All of these are important when used correctly, but they are very often misused. Digitalisation can help us to do efficiently something which should not be done at all, “digital Taylorism” serving as an example.

The exploitation of artificial intelligence also involves risks: for example, in education there is a risk that AI-enabled individualised exams will become more popular, despite knowing that students often only study “to the tests” and then forget everything, rather than internalising deeply what they have learned.

We are used to using the measures that tell us what happened in the past as a foundation of our decisions. These measures are often based on financial figures and provide an inadequate understanding of how to develop our current practices. Based on historical data, artificial intelligence can provide a continuum between the past and future. In terms of decision-making, it helps us to do the same old things slightly better.

However, we often apply a light touch to changing what we do, valuing predictability over development and learning. In our fairy tale, a familiar and safe option was chosen despite the huge scale of the challenge.

If we could challenge our current assumptions and perceptions, the leverage point of the change would be more powerful.

In some ways, this reminds us of fine-tuning a car. We know how to paint a car in a new colour and add new tyres and rims. We may even opt for more stylish interior upholstery and a new sound system — but we very rarely increase the performance by changing the transmission, engine and gears.

Better things, not just things better

Changing your perception means letting go of something. Unlearning is not the same as pressing the “Delete” button on a keyboard. When we have deeply learnt something, it defines the way we perceive the world and we cannot perceive it differently — our perceptions are part of our identity.

Learning is a process of connecting our existing beliefs with different ways of perceiving the world together. This process creates new synaptic connections in our brains. Changing our perceptions requires the weakening of some synaptic connections, and the strengthening of others. That’s what makes “unlearning” so challenging.

Changing thinking is a popular theme, without identifying how we might do so in practice. Assumptions or a prevailing mindset can rarely be changed through discussion or lecture, no matter how hard we try. Still, that is what we do all the time at different arenas of life.

Unfortunately, the “I teach or train and you listen” approach only works when the audience already has a similar mindset. Each person’s neural connections are unique. This makes, for example, giving feedback a challenge, since people are not identical machines that can be repaired by tightening certain nuts and bolts.

It has been known for decades that human behaviour can be changed in three ways: by means of persuasion all the way to coercion, by rationally reasoning, or normatively.

Persuasion rarely triggers a person’s internal transformation processes. Rational approaches, such as discussions, lectures and various types of coaching, work best when there is no need to change basic assumptions. Trying to change assumptions by following the rational approaches you will likely fall into an intervention trap and the reaction may be of the type “I don’t like consequences, so your facts must be wrong!”

Whereas the first two approaches have been widely used, the last has rarely been deployed. The normative, or experiential, approach is the best way to help people question their assumptions and perceive phenomena in a new way.

During an experiential learning process, people interpret a meaningful event or valid data which challenges their basic assumptions. A contradiction arises between what was previously assumed and is now experienced. This kind of learning process is called double-loop learning, or “unlearning”: first, we learn to observe the assumptions behind our actions, and only then do we take the necessary steps to solve the problem, based on a different perception.

The leverage point of change in our organisations is often rather insignificant, because the normative learning process is not used. Communication, coaching and training still lie at the heart of organisational change projects. These will remain important, but we can only learn to do “better things” by unlearning safe and familiar conventions — not just doing “things better”.

The paradox of service productivity

Failure demand is, as the name implies, a demand caused by a failure to do something or do something right for the customer. Customers come back, make further demands and unnecessarily consume the organisation’s resources because the service they receive is ineffective.

From the customers’ point of view, waiting times become longer and no suitable help is provided. In our tale, the capybara created failure demand, because its needs could not be met. For workers within a service system, failure demand is experienced as excessive workload and the related resource problem, or as customers in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Failure demand is a major cost factor in the service sector. This is often understood, but understood in a misleading way, with answers being sought in conventional solutions. For instance, leadership development, training employees to provide better customer service, process development, digitalisation and service design are not enough. Failure demand is a systemic phenomenon, which can only be reduced by changing the system. In simple terms, failure demand exists in service systems because they are organised according to the logic of industrial age mass production systems.

The amount of failure demand varies by sector. In the financial sector, it accounts for 20–60% of all demand; among telecommunications, it accounts for even 70–90%. Failure demand amounts to well over 50% in the public sector and, for instance, in social and health care it’s always around 80% or more.

It is well-known that failure demand is created by layered organisational structures, such as “front-office back-office” designs. Failure demand is also created by the centralisation or standardisation of services, which rarely enables organisations to take account of a customer’s nominal value — what the customer wants, how and why. It is important to be aware that digitalisation is a way of centralising and standardising services.

Traditionally the performance evaluation of a service system is largely based on the efficiency of service production, while no effort is made to understand the nature of demand. This perception can be summarised by three questions:

1) How much work do we have?

2) How many employees do we have?

3) How long does it take to do the work?

But what if a large amount of work to be done is failure demand? Would understanding this, for example, make any difference to nurse-to-patient ratios, or shortages of doctors?

Nowadays digitalisation seems attractive as it promises more efficient use of working time and lower transaction costs, particularly as the workload increases. Why do we so often have blind faith in extra resources, agility, service design, self-organisation and lean practices or other fads without realising that we are doing wrong things efficiently and, hence, our actions never “reach the jungle”?

Further, we try to make mass production-oriented service systems more customer-driven through vertical or horizontal integration, by enhancing service guidance and developing processes. New and expensive IT systems are developed, and existing, incompatible ones are integrated. However, none of this changes how we perceive the nature of demand.

People have a variety of needs, and a small percentage may consume a significant portion of the available resources when navigating their way through the service jungle. As the focus shifts to real or imagined structural problems in service production, we lose sight of the customer’s contextual needs, as in the tale of the capybara.

In manufacturing, the organisation alone defines the quality of its products but in services the customer and organisation define quality together. In fact, quality and efficiency are one and the same thing — you cannot have one without the other. In services we must not be concerned only on efficiency of service production, we also must have the interactional capability to meet customer’s nominal value in the context. This results in better services with lower costs as the amount of failure demand is reduced — a paradox.

Private sector operations are driven by the bottom line, which spurs companies to understand a customer’s nominal value. They want customers to come back, whereas the public sector is incentivised to save taxpayers’ money by doing the right thing the right way the first time. Despite this, public sector leaders often base their strategies solely on improving the efficiency of service production. In the case of services, much could be achieved by recognising the systemic connection between how we organise in service systems, our ability to meet a customer’s nominal value and the amount of failure demand.

The teaching of the tale

Just as in our fairy tale, people have a sincere desire to solve complex problems through organised cooperation. However, the way we perceive the world is often the biggest obstacle to solving problems, since it defines our methods. In the tale, building a new jungle was based on a reductionist mindset, focused on breaking large entities down into smaller units, and on division of labour and specialisation.

The underlying assumption is that smaller units are more simple to manage. However, there is one major flaw in this approach: it ignores the many interdependencies within a continuously changing systemic entity — a jungle brimming with life. Bureaucratic decision-making became disconnected from its context and the needs of the capybara.

For millennia, our strength has been based on its ability to cooperate in an organised way. We have been able to solve difficult problems through organised cooperation. Because of complexity, we are increasingly confronted with systemic phenomena similar to building a new jungle. Covid-19 has shown that the challenges we face are more complex, interdependent and more context-specific than ever before. For this reason, we need to perceive and develop new ways of engaging in organised cooperation.

Universal applicability is giving way to context-specific thinking. Best practices tend not to translate well between different contexts, except when dealing with ordered and predictable situations. Hence, we need more situational sensitivity in organised cooperation.

In the interaction society, the result of the work — and performance in general — is based on a synthesis of effective human interactions. Organisations should be viewed as platforms that enable demand to be matched with supply. Instead of power structures, these platforms should make use of social and functional structures in the organisation of cooperation. Organisation is about designing work to create customer value.

To solve the problems of our time, we need to engage in understanding the dynamic and intercontextual nature of complex systems. You have to begin by taking a different perspective, stepping into the jungle, and the capybara’s “shoes”. Coordinated self-organisation involves collective learning through sharing contextual knowledge. Context is not based on a snapshot, but a continually updated “live image”.

The lifecycle of knowledge and practices — the capital of learning — will shorten in the future. Learning how to learn, and flexible receptivity based on mental agility become increasingly important. You must be able to challenge your basic assumptions and, if necessary, unlearn what you have learned.

Nowadays, an organisation’s capability is increasingly based on perceptions on which organisational activities are based. In this sense, a key issue is how and through what perceptional processes people become organised. To create well-functioning organisations in a changing world, we need to understand the perceptional processes behind them.

The greatest danger in times of complexity is not the complexity itself — it is to act with yesterday’s thinking. To enable development and change, we must make the basic assumptions behind our perceptions explicit and then replace them with better ones. The way we perceive things and phenomena defines what we are able to see and develop.

It is easier to solve known problems than to learn how to recognise unknown problems. But that will not save the capybara.

Hermanni Hyytiälä
Olli-Pekka Heinonen

This article was originally published on Apolitical and written by Olli-Pekka Heinonen, former minister of education in Finland and current director general at the Finnish National Agency for Education, and Hermanni Hyytiälä, principal consultant at Gofore.

Hermanni Hyytiälä

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Since returning from maternity leave, I have experienced a strong feeling of psychological safety at work. (Side note: The situation was probably the same even before the parental leave, but my new life started when my son was born, and I don’t remember anything before that.) At Gofore, I have a permission to be, to say, to be heard. Gofore has felt like a home base where I am taken care of and where I am appreciated for who I am.

When the COVID-19 situation boiled over around the world, I was still living in my own personal bubble thinking: no such problem will affect me in my happy warm-milk-scented life.

Boy, was I wrong.

When the Finnish government first suggested isolation and remote work, the feeling was quite absurd. I was used to working remotely for a couple of days a week, but to stay away from the office all together – really? Gofore reacted fast. We were immediately informed that, from now on, we will have a Remote First policy. I felt at ease after that, because I didn’t need to be guessing. I wasn’t a headless chicken running against walls anymore – I knew what was expected of me and where I was expected to be. Most of all I got the feeling that employee health and safety comes first.

I dare to talk: The feeling of participation and belonging

Since then, the communication has been just as timely and robust. At Gofore, we communicate a lot, in many channels, and always interactively. I often tell applicants in job interviews that, at Gofore, everyone has the right to know what is going on in the company and what will be going on. The feeling of participation and belonging has been more important than ever, and it hasn’t only been highlighted in our working community but in social media as well.

If, aside from this COVID-19 situation, we think about the psychological safety that Gofore offers to its employees, it has always been invested in, developed, and people have been quite self-sufficient in bringing that feeling to their own teams. It’s a fantastically liberating feeling when you dare to talk – even when what you are saying isn’t all gummy bears, rainbows and streamers of joy.

Only a few days ago I had to question some of my colleague’s words, just to bring a new perspective to the matter. My teammate, who has recently started working at Gofore, and who was present at the conversation, was wondering afterwards at how great the conversation had been. In her previous job, no such conversation could have been had without someone getting offended or hurt. I myself am very opposed to any conflict and my natural instinct is to rather leave things unsaid, so opening up a conversation like that tells a great deal about our culture. I believe the conversation was ended with heart emojis.

Psychological safety – I’m accepted for who I am

Even previously, I have heard a lot of wondering about our Slack culture – how we can discuss almost anything, even personal matters. The topics are variable, and feedback is sometimes given in brutal honesty. Sometimes talking about topic X opens a long discussion about topic Y. This is strongly connected to psychological safety. When you feel good in the workplace and you trust the people around you, you feel comfortable opening up new sides of yourself. Baring your soul, if you will.

One of the greatest things about my own team is the fact that we can share our fears, anxiety, fatigue and even talk about health, family life and personal weaknesses. The environment feels safe when you don’t constantly have to push yourself like crazy, even when you feel exhausted. I have also gotten more feedback than ever in my life. It feels extremely good because it builds confidence in myself and in what I am doing – I’ve got this!

Communication and ways of doing it are developed and strengthened constantly, and respectful ways of communicating are emphasized. In our almost 600 expert organization, there are countless different personalities, and not all of them can get along – nor do they have to. This is why it is vital that the company appreciates diversity, highlights individual strengths, and offers everyone ways to be heard. Everyone is accepted for who they are.

Me and Gofore: Trust goes both ways

In job interviews, I often get the question: “Why is Gofore a good workplace for you?” My answer is always the same: mutual trust. I feel that Gofore trusts and believes in me. I get to do my job the way I see best, when I see best, where I see best. I have the freedom to make decisions, purchases and development. My judgement is trusted. My professionalism is trusted. I am trusted. At the same time, Gofore has earned my trust. I strongly believe in Gofore – in us.

In the prevailing exceptional circumstances, I have been especially proud of Gofore’s integrity. Of course, the situation caused a scare at first. Will there be layoffs? Our competitor began those negotiations; are we next? Panic. However, for now, everything has continued as business-as-usual and that is awesome! After the initial shock, the feeling of safety has returned, and fear isn’t constantly present. We have made it for now. You will never know what happens in the future, but at least we can all be grateful that our well-being has been considered along the way and Gofore has done everything so that everyone could keep their jobs.

And – as if just staying afloat wasn’t enough – Gofore has also offered different ways to make remote work easier. Displays, chairs and other tools have been transported to employees’ homes if they didn’t have their own car. It is okay to have summer vacations already; hours can go negative and several childcare options are also available free-of-charge. Incredible.

It has been great to see how Gofore has maintained its place and the trust in its employees, despite difficult times. That, if anything, fosters the feeling of psychological safety in the future.

Iina Korpivaara
Talent Management Specialist

We’re top experts in our industry and Gofore’s heart, brain, and hands. Do you want to join us?

Iina Korpivaara

Iina is a Talent Management Specialist at Gofore, dreaming of developing well-being at work and renewing recruitment processes into a more agile way of doing things. Iina has been working in recruitment all her adult life, in different industries. At Gofore, Iina is responsible for the recruitment of designers, project managers, management consultants, agile coaches and service architects.

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Remember to stay in touch

Keeping in touch is one of the strongest things in our arsenal when it comes to providing a great experience for our customers. We’ve asked our customers about the effects corona virus situation has had on them. We’ve been discussing about their business, how their teams are doing, how they have experienced remote work, and whether their business is struggling somewhere.

Overall teams have very unique experiences, and we have been happy to see that there are quite a few positive experiences as well.

“There are even implications that we as a company may be moving permanently towards remote work culture.”

”We have noticed improved efficiency in software development. Reasons could be better ability to focus (peace), and having to focus on the essential because bulk of the communication is done in writing.”

“There’s an increased feeling of equality as everyone in the team is experiencing the same.”

“Re-introducing dailys have helped us organize work and tackle uncertainties.”

Could we offer any assistance?

That being said, communications is not that simple, and there are lot of moving parts. The first you’ll encounter is how to begin your discussion? What would be appropriate when reaching out to see how others are coping with the present situation, and whether we could offer any assistance? The personal and business-level experience can be surprising.

“We are exhausted after eight hours of work, there are no breaks!”

“I’ve been on calls back to back for 10 hours. My headphones are causing me a migraine.”

“Well, we are waiting for that info session to begin…”

It’s always important to be polite, kind, and express appreciation for the discussion partner. Being pleasant and courteous is assumed. But, the biggest thing that can make a difference is acting like an actual human. In other words, making sure that the exchange of thoughts is warm and sincere can make all the difference.

We believe that what makes a good communication is being as human as possible, which admittedly can be difficult during these remote times over electronic forms of communication. However, by taking all the small nuances into account, it is possible to make discussion feel human, authentic, and integral in creating a positive experience for our customer together with our business.

Remote work may require closer management and skillfull leadership

Software development is one of those areas where remote work is the most natural. Teams can operate pretty much as usual, but may require closer management and skillfull leadership to support individuals during times of worries.

However, during these unconditional times it is good to acknowledge that the remote work setup might not be optimal for everyone. It might be a toss-up between work ergonomics and tranquility when trying to find a place to focus. It is important to reach out and to stay in touch. Peer support, listening and learning from each other carries us through this time.

For more on how to succeed, check our previous blog posts about from forced change to positive outcome, how to have a great virtual meeting, how to succeed in virtual meetings, and are you preparing for the post-pandemic world.

Please let us know whether we’re doing a good job or could help you even further.

Juhana Harmanen
Capability Owner of Web Development,
Technology Consultant

Juhana Harmanen

Juhana is a Capability Owner of Web Development multitasking as a Technology Consultant in key projects. He strives to renew and nurture Gofore’s capabilities in Web Development to match the current and future needs of our clients, and to grow new scalable businesses. He finds his passion in entrepreneurial orientation and leading new ventures. Juhana loves being outdoors and has in his past spent twelve short summers as a wilderness guide in Lapland. Recently his free time has been filled with spending time with his children and family or in house renovation projects one after another.

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Design-Systeme gelten schon jetzt als die „neue Norm” in der Produktentwicklung

Die Markttransformation beschleunigt sich auf allen Gebieten und die Bedeutung der Ausfallsicherheit, insbesondere von Produktionslinien, bekommt einen immer höheren Stellenwert. Kundenbedürfnisse ändern sich schneller, manche Unternehmen fusionieren und andere schließen. Einige Lösungen boomen, andere werden obsolet.

Dieser ständige Wandel erfordert auch von den Entwicklungsprozessen für Produkt- und Dienstleistungen, dass sie sich schneller als je zuvor anpassen und auf neue Situationen reagieren. Um dies zu ermöglichen, ist ein systemischer Ansatz erforderlich. Design-Systeme bieten eine Lösung, um Veränderungen in der Produktentwicklung nachhaltig und profitabel zu bewältigen.

Ein Design-System gewährleistet einen effizienten Entwicklungsfluss zwischen verschiedenen Organisationseinheiten in einer sich ständig wandelnden, komplexen Umgebung.

Design-System – was ist das?

Wie der Name schon sagt, nähert sich ein Design-System der Produktentwicklung systemisch, sowohl auf geschlossener, als auch auf ganzheitlicher Ebene. Jedes entwickelte Element – sei es ein Symbol, ein Softwarecode oder eine Komponentenform – ist Teil eines größeren Produktportfoliosystems und kann in mehreren Anwendungsfällen verwendet werden. Das Design-System wird von Designern, Entwicklern und Ingenieuren in Echtzeit aktualisiert und bietet stets Zugriff auf die neusten (Arbeits-) Materialien und Entscheidungen.

Ein Design-System optimiert den Wartungsprozess. Die Pflege eines Systems ist grundlegend, vor allem bei der Software-Entwicklung: wenn eine Komponente verändert wird, passt sie sich automatisch überall dort an, wo sie verwendet wird. Dadurch wird der Aufwand von manuellen Anpassungen drastisch reduziert.


Ein Design-System verbessert die Zusammenarbeit und Kommunikation

Einige der Schlüsselbegriffe des Design-Systems sind Zugänglichkeit und Transparenz. Das Design-System bietet eine Plattform, auf die alle Beteiligten in Echtzeit zugreifen können, sei es beispielsweise die Marketingabteilung, die Konstruktion, die Fertigung, die Produktion, das Industriedesign, die Softwareentwicklung oder die Abteilung für User-Interface Design.

Elemente eines Design-Systems

Das Design-System passt sich an die Anforderungen einer Organisation an, wodurch die Elemente, die es abdeckt, variieren. Einige der gebräuchlichsten Elemente sind:


  • Visuelle Bausteine z.B. Symbole, universelle Formen, Schriften (inklusive Schriftgrößen und -schnitten), Warnhinweise, Farbpaletten, Komponenten und Module, Vorlagen, HMI-Muster
  • HMI Muster z.B. Fehlermuster, User Interface Interaktionsregeln


  • z.B. Ergonomie, Tonalität, Gestaltungsprinzipien, UI-Raster, Implementierungsstandards
  • z.B. Design-Fertigungs-Workflow, Design-Programmierungs-Workflow, Kontrolle der Komponentenversion, Komponentenanpassung und -verwaltung, Benennungsstruktur


  • z.B. Code
  • z.B. Komponenten

Klein anfangen

Anstatt beim Aufbau des Design-Systems sofort gigantische Entwicklungsarbeit zu leisten, sollten Sie klein anfangen. Gehen Sie Schritt für Schritt vor: in Phasen, die einen sofortigen Nutzen für Ihren Entwicklungsprozess bringen. Seien Sie agil und arbeiten Sie stufenweise.

Starten Sie mit einer Bestandsaufnahme der vorhandenen Komponenten und identifizieren Sie universelle Elemente. Beginnen Sie mit dem Aufbau einer Komponentenbibliothek, auf die jeder zugreifen kann (für weitere praktische Tipps können sie gerne Kontakt aufnehmen). Weitere Elemente können dann später dem System hinzugefügt werden – lassen Sie es parallel zum natürlichen Entwicklungszyklus wachsen.

Das Design-System ist nie “fertig”, aber es entwickelt sich ständig weiter. Es ist also eher eine skalierbare Plattform und anpassbare Basis als eine einmalige, abgeschlossene Lösung.

Ein Design-System spart Geld und beschleunigt den Arbeitsprozess

Häufig auftretende Probleme und darauf basierende Vorteile eines Design-Systems:

  • Die Elemente und Entscheidungen werden nicht rechtzeitig im gesamten Entwicklungsteam ausgetauscht, was in der Regel dazu führt, dass:
    – sehr viel Zeit für die Suche nach den richtigen Materialien anfällt.
    – bereits existierendes Material doppelt erarbeitet wird.
    – Die Wartung und Pflege sehr arbeitsintensiv ist.
    – im schlimmsten Fall: falsches oder veraltetes Material bei der Entwicklung benutzt wird.
  • Jeder neu eingestellte Mitarbeiter verlangsamt die Prozessbearbeitung, da er nicht über Ablageorte von relevanten und aktuellen Materialien informiert ist.
  • Jedes Projekt vergrößert das Chaos in der Prozessbearbeitung.
  • Ein Design-System bietet allen relevanten Interessengruppen schnellen Zugang zu den neuesten Materialien.
  • Ein Design-System ermöglicht die Organisation zur Entwicklung eines effizienten Arbeitsablaufs.
  • Ein Design-System beschleunigt die Entwicklung und den Wartungsprozess.
  • Ein Design-System beschleunigt den Entwicklungsprozess.
  • Ein Design-System verbessert die konstruktive Kommunikation und Interaktion zwischen verschiedenen Teilhabern.
  • Ein Design-System maximiert die Konsistenz der gesamten Produktpalette.
Ohne ein Design-System:
  1. Software- und Produktentwicklungsprozesse werden zunehmend langsamer.
  2. Die Benutzererfahrung leidet unter wachsenden Uneinheitlichkeiten bei der Bedienung.
  3. Erhebliche Mengen an Zeit und Geld werden verschwendet.
  1. Ein Design-System macht die Arbeit jedes Einzelnen angenehmer, schneller und professioneller.
  2. Ein Design-System optimiert die Benutzerfreundlichkeit und steigert dadurch entscheidend die Kundenzufriedenheit.
  3. Ein Design-System erhöht die Geschwindigkeit –> frühere Marktreife erhöht den Umsatz.
  4. Ein Design-System vereinfacht den After-Sales-Service
  5. Ein Design-System spart Zeit = Geld.

Nehmen wir an, wir haben ein interdisziplinäres Team aus 40 Personen – darunter Designer, Ingenieure und Programmierer. Und nehmen wir an, dass alle durchschnittlich 30 Minuten pro Tag damit verbringen, über diese Themen nachzudenken:

„Welchen Blauton verwenden wir?“

„Können Sie das neu gestalten? Wir können es nicht bauen.“

„Wo ist unser Logo?“

„Haben wir bereits ein Icon, das wir für diese Funktion verwenden können?“

„Wie haben unsere neuen Kollegen in der anderen Abteilung das Problem gelöst?“

„Wurde dieses Muster woanders verwendet?“

„Wie können wir dieses Muster aufbauen?“

„Wo sind unsere genehmigten Archivfotos?“

„Können Sie das nachbauen, es passt nicht zum Design?“

„Was ist die aktuellste Dokumentation?“

„Entspricht dies den Codierungs- Konstruktionsvorgaben?“

“Wo sind unsere universellen Materialien?” –> 2,5h/Woche pro Person * 48 Wochen * 40 Personen = 4 800 h.

Multiplizieren wir das mit den Kosten von 70€/Stunde = 336 000 €

In diesem Beispiel würde der jährliche ROI eines Design-Systems 336 000 € betragen.
Und noch mehr: diese Berechnung beinhaltet weder die Kosten für die Neuerstellung, noch die schlechte Erfahrung des Kunden im Falle einer falschen Verwendung der Materialien im Entwicklungsprozess.

Und vergessen wir nicht den Faktor Mensch: Der Einsatz des Design-Systems bietet einen Motivationsschub für die Mitarbeiter, indem es alltägliche Hindernisse im Arbeitsablauf beseitigt.


Und nun?

Wir helfen Ihnen gerne bei der Planung für den effizienten Einsatz von Design-Systemen, mit dem Ziel, Ihr Geschäft und Ihre Prozesse bestmöglich zu unterstützen.
Buchen Sie eine kostenlose Planungssitzung bei uns: oder telefonisch unter: +49 173 391 0744

Ebenfalls interessant:
Design Systems Simplified – An Outlook Beyond the Trend

Jonna Iljin

Do you know a perfect match? Sharing is caring

A reminder for the weekly team meeting pops up on the calendar. As the participants open their connections, one can hear various sounds of life in the background. Somewhere behind the first participant children are coming up with new games. The second participant’s curious dog would very much like to attend the meeting. The third participant carefully corrects their posture with a sleeping cat in their arms. The fourth arrives and greets everyone: “Hi, we had to negotiate a little, since the whole household is working from home.”

The situation is not fictitious, but at the same time it is not at all unusual. The people working with Gofore’s maintenance services are experienced telecommuters – we work across various cities and even countries daily. The core team of Continuous Services alone is a happy blend of people from all of Gofore’s Finnish sites. Nowadays many things can be taken care of smoothly even while sitting by a lake with a laptop at hand. Functional remote tools alone do not guarantee this fluency. It requires agile, collaborative procedures and efficient knowledge distribution, akin to swarm intelligence, between teams.

During a software development project, it is natural to have one focused core team working on the application and infrastructure development. As the project is completed and the system goes into production, the nature and requirements of the project tend to change. During the maintenance phase, the focus shifts to a more reactive mode of working and new feature development is usually scaled down. At this stage, it is essential that information and know-how about the system and operations is spread across a safety net of specialists. This becomes even more vital in critical situations.

As the current global situation unfolds before our very eyes, there’s been a sudden rise in discussion regarding many things that have perhaps been taken for granted – in particular, remote work and accessibility of services. At the latest this week the entire global community has been waking up to a world that runs rather different from what we’re used to. As anxieties and concerns regarding the global situation and our everyday lives grow, it is more vital than ever that services, large and small, remain operational and accessible. But please don’t worry if it seems like storm clouds are gathering on the horizon – you won’t need to make it to shore alone.

It’s best to pack a life vest while it’s still sunny

When I was a little girl, my grandfather taught me how to row a boat at sea. There was no stepping on the boat dock, let alone actually entering the boat, unless you were securely strapped in your life vest. We blew on the whistles to see that they worked without fault and made sure everything was fastened correctly. We practiced what to do in case an oar should drop into the water. And what to do if the other oar should follow the first, somehow. Someone might consider this silly or see it as an exaggeration, but these lessons taught me more than just safe boating. I learned a surprising amount about risk management in general on the side.

In my current job I rarely get to boat, but I’ve often thought about the similarities between minding a recently released software project and taking proper care of a wooden rowing boat. You should keep the bilge clean, treat the surfaces regularly, and occasionally some more major repairs may be necessary. Choosing a competent partner for the job helps: there’s no need to keep track of required maintenance activities yourself, and the boat (or the application, or the system…) will remain in working order without you having to worry for it – ready for adventures or leisurely rides at any time.

Sometimes a storm can sneak up on even the most experienced seafarer. Peace of mind can be reached even during those times if you’re sat next to a reliable partner who has already double-checked the correct adjustments of your life vest and ensured the oarlocks are in good condition. A professional maintenance service anticipates and prepares for bad weather on your behalf, leaving no room for distress as you are confidently rowing towards more peaceful waters – together.

In addition to meeting and working remotely, we collaborate across teams and sites routinely and steadily. Our agile and modern Service Center operations and maintenance practices are organized to ensure that no service remains a one or two person show. We arrange on-call responsibilities flexibly and distribute expertise and knowledge between teams and specialists, and our service managers ensure the quality of service in collaboration with the Service Center lead.

Our Service Center includes both system specialists and software developers, each one of them just as fluent in collaborating with customers as they are in resolving technical pickles. Our common goal in everything we do is to make sure the customer never has to wonder whether we can offer a particular type of support or whether we have expertise on a particular matter – we will take care of it for them.

What do you say, could we bring you some peace of mind, too?

Ella Lopperi
Service Center Lead

Ella Lopperi

As Head of Continuous Services at Gofore, Ella is responsible for nurturing the expert community, as well as for operations and strategy. She values open communication, empathy and transparency, and believes these values are key to both great employee and customer experience. Outside of work, Ella can be found reading, playing videogames, singing, writing... or simply immersing herself in the wonders of the Universe.

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Design Systems are the ”new norm” in the product design industry

Market transformation is accelerating in every field, and also the importance of production line resiliency is constantly increasing. Customers require rapid change, businesses merge, and others close down. Some solutions gain popularity and boom, while others become obsolete.

This constant change also requires product and service development processes to react and adapt to new situations more rapidly than ever. To enable this, a systemic approach is needed. Design System is a solution to manage changes in product development in a sustainable and profitable way.

Design System ensures an efficient development flow between different organization units in an ever transforming, complex environment.

Design System – what is it?

As the naming affirms, a Design System approaches the product development systemically, on both atomic and holistic levels. Every developed element – be it an icon, software code or a component shape – is part of a bigger product portfolio system and can be utilized in several instances. The system gets updated in real-time by designers, developers and engineers, and always provides access to the most recent materials.

“Design System also streamlines the design maintenance process. This maintenance impact is significant specially in software development: When one item is changed, it will be automatically updated in all its instances. This reduces the manual updating burden greatly.”

Design System

Design System enhances collaboration and communication

Some of the key ideas of a Design System are accessibility and transparency. Design System provides a platform that all stakeholders are can access in real-time, be it the marketing department, construction, manufacturing, production, industrial design, software development, or user interface design unit, for example.

Design System elements

Design System adapts to organizational needs, and the elements it covers can vary. Some of the more common elements are:


  • Visual building blocks
    E.g. Icons, Universal shapes, Font sizes and typefaces, Warning labels, Color Palettes, Components and modules, Templates
  • HMI patterns
    E.g. Error patterns, User Interface interaction rules


  • E.g. Ergonomics, Tone of voice, Design Principles, UI grids, Implementation standards
  • E.g. Design-Manufacturing workflow, Design-Code workflow, Component version control, Component adaptation and management, Naming structure


  • E.g. Code snippets and base, engineering specific work-flows etc


Engineering and software development

Start small

Instead of starting from a giant development effort when building the Design System, start small. Proceed step by step in phases that will bring instant value to your development process. Be agile and proceed in increments.

Start by making an inventory of the existing components and identify the universal elements. Start to build such a component library that everyone can access and update (get in contact for more practical tips). More elements can be then added later on to the system – let it grow alongside the natural development cycle.

Build your Design System iteratively. Design System is never ”ready”; rather, it is a constantly evolving artifact. It is more of a scalable platform and approach, than a ”single shot” solution.

Design System saves money and increases velocity

Some of the commonly faced problems and Design System solutions:

Design System Benefits:
  • Elements are not being shared in a timely manner across the development team, which commonly leads to:
    – spending excess time looking for correct material
    – recreating already existing material again
    – laborious maintenance
    – in worst case: using wrong or outdated elements in development
  • Every new hire slows down velocity, since new people don‘t know where to find the relevant and most up to date materials
  • Every new project increases chaos in the process
  • Design System provides quick access to the most recent materials for all relevant stakeholders
  • Design System enables the organisation to develop an efficient workflow
  • Design System speeds up the development and maintenance processes
  • Design System enhances constructive communications and interactions between different units
  • Design system maximises consistency throughout the product range
Without a design system:
With a design system:
  1. Software and product development process becomes gradually slower and slower
  2. The user experience suffers from growing inconsistencies
  3. Significant amount of time and money is wasted
  1. Design system makes the work of each individual more pleasant and professional
  2. Design System optimizes the User Experience –> Client satisfaction
  3. Design System increases velocity –> faster go-to-market process, increases revenue
  4. Design System saves time = saves money

Let’s say we have a multivendor team of 40 people – designers, engineers and programmers. And let’s assume all of them spend in average 30 minutes per day pondering about the following issues:

”What shade of blue are we using?”
”Can you redesign this? We can’t build it”
”Where’s our logo?”
“Do we have already an icon we can use for this function?”
“How did our new colleagues in the other department solve this?”
”Was this pattern used somewhere else?”
“How do we build this pattern?”
”Where are our approved stock photos?”
“Can you rebuild this, it doesn’t match the design?”
“What’s the latest documentation?”
“Does this meet the code/construction standards?”
“Where are our universal components?”

–> 2,5h/week per person * 48 weeks * 40 people = 4 800 h.
Let’s multiply that with a cost of 70€/hour = 336 000 €

In this example, the annual ROI of a Design System would be 336 000 €.
And even more: this calculation doesn’t include the cost of re-building nor bad customer experience due to wrong component usage in the development process.

And let’s not forget the human factor: Using a Design System provides a motivational and productive boost for the employees by removing everyday workflow obstacles.

ROI of a Design System

Gofore’s case examples

We have successfully created several Design Systems for our clients, e.g. public sector, mining technology and agricultural manufacturing. These solutions serve the development of dozens of services and products. (Contact us to hear more, we would be happy to share our experiences).

What next?

We’re happy to help you to plan on how to take the Design Systems effectively in use so that it supports your business and processes. Book a free planning session with us: or call: +49 173 391 0744

Read also:
Design Systems Simplified – An Outlook Beyond the Trend

Jonna Iljin

Jonna Iljin

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Trends peak and go under. One of many designer’s superpowers is to spot the difference between a design trend and a revolution. Design systems have passed the trend phase and have entered to revolutionise the way designers, developers and other stakeholders are working. There is a buzz around design systems as a whole, and some misconceptions on what it is, what it does and why it exists. Let’s clear that up.


Call me traditional, but I think that different understanding of the same terminology is the beginning of the miscommunication cycle. Let’s get those out of the way since we will hear them when talking about design systems.

Design: a plan or drawing produced to show the look and function or workings of something.
System: A system is a group of interacting or interrelated entities that form a unified whole.
Components: a part or element of a larger whole.
Component library: a storage place where the coded user interface components are stored and documented.
Standards: a level of quality.
Principles: a proposition that serves as the foundation for a system.

A Mini-History Lesson

Feel free to skip this if you aren’t a history nerd. The point is, that, design systems are not a new concept and have matured over the decades. Design systems as we know them today are a new concept. However, like most new ideas, they are hardly “original” and have stemmed from similar ideas before them. Here I will cover a brief history of it.

1977- Pattern Language, a design system for architects

  15 Principles of Wholeness “A Pattern Language” by Christopher Alexander
15 Principles of Wholeness “A Pattern Language” by Christopher Alexander

A Pattern Language: Towns, Buildings, Construction is a 1977 book on architecture, urban design, authored by architects Murray Silverstein, Sara Ishikawa and Christopher Alexander. The book is considered by many as the start of design systems which the authors refer to as “pattern language”. A closer look at the book would reveal that most of their inspirations and examples come from medieval towns. Thus, the idea of a pattern language isn’t new, it just wasn’t accessible. Pattern language has revolutionised the thinking about those systems, in a way making it accessible to ordinary people, not only professionals to improve their houses, towns or schools by using those design tools. This book has lead to the next point→ Pattern Libraries

1986/1994- Pattern libraries

Book Cover - User Centred System Design(1986) by Norman and Draper
Book Cover – User Centred System Design(1986) by Norman and Draper

Although the idea of using “pattern language” in design was mentioned in” user-centred System Design”(1986) by Norman and Draper, it did not gain traction until the rise of web-pages during the late 1990s and early 2000s. Designers and especially developers found themselves needing to reuse components in different pages etc. Thus after the book “Design Patterns: Elements of Reusable Object-Oriented Software” came out in 1994, the idea has gained popularity. The Pattern Languages of Programming Conference (1994-present) became an annual event.

2016- Atomic Design

Atomic Design by Brad Frost
Atomic Design by Brad Frost

With the rise of different screen resolutions and devices, designers tasks grew immensely, and quite frankly, became unmanageable. Resulting in inconsistent UI’s across the board. The struggle was real. Atomic Design by Brad Frost, had solved problems and provided a system of thinking about these UI components in a scientific approach of Atoms, Molecules, Organisms, Templates and Pages. Many of the UI consistency issues were tackled. Some design principles were still lacking.

2014/2016- Google Material Design

Part of Google Material Design
Part of Google Material Design

2016 the birth of design systems as we know them today. Without a doubt, Google has pioneered the first complete and open-source design system. It has been used by countless companies either as is or as a template to build their design systems.

If you are interested in a deeper dive inside the history of Design systems, I highly recommend this blog post named “A HISTORY OF DESIGN SYSTEMS”

What is a design system?
A possible configuration by UXPin
A possible configuration by UXPin

Simply, a bunch of reusable components, guided by simple to understand standards and principles and can be assembled like lego pieces to create any number of applications. For designers, this could be done using design software such as Sketch, XD, Figma and many others. As for developers, this means using coded components libraries in for example react. For other stakeholders, this could mean referring back to standards and principles that can guide decision making.

A component library is not necessarily a design system.

Although a component library is one of the core elements in the design system, it won’t solve all the problems. Simply put, the component library answers the “What”, as for the rest of the design system answers the “Why”. In other words, how are those UI components used and why? Without understanding this critical step, we will still have inconsistent experiences despite having similar-looking user-interfaces. There are efforts being made, to unify the entire design system inside a single component libraries, but the process is still in its infancy stages.

What is included inside a design system?

Design systems are not a template to follow, nor does it come with a set configuration. It has to be customised to an organisation’s need. The size of the system could also have an impact on the things included. I.e. a fortune 500 company’s does not compare with a start-up’s design system.

Things that could be included but not limited to

  • Design Tokens
  • Components
  • Patterns
  • Tone of Voice
  • Brand image
  • Visual language / Look & feel
  • Design principles
  • Graphic guideline
  • Styleguide
  • Code libraries
  • Separate documentations
  • Team and contributors

Who uses it?

Countless top organisations have started to utilise design systems to scale the design, lower the cost and improve usability. It’s quite rare to find an industry leader currently, that doesn’t have a design system in place.

Spotify as an example has documented its transition to using a design system and the effect it had on their organisation.

 “Design systems help teams stay aligned so their output stays intentional.” –Stanley Wood, Design Director at Spotify. Read about their transformation here “Design Does Not Scale”.

Before the design system implementation

After the design system implementation

Another organisation that has written extensively about its design system as a key factor to their success and survival is Airbnb. More about Airbnb Design here.

Airbnb Design

Design systems as a way of working

Regardless of how detailed and meticulous the documentation is, verbal communication between all stakeholders remains a key point to create a successful design system. In other words, design systems are more than lego pieces with rules, they are a way of working and communicating. They help to awaken and revive the design thinking mentality in both designers and non-designers. The idea is not to follow rules robotically, but provide a a framework that would speed up the innovation progress. Many intangible yet critical issues to be address in a design system, that might not be apparent on face value.

What can a design system help with in real life?

Some of those benefits overlap but might be more interesting for certain groups than others. So divided it into three groups.


1. For shareholders: Pace! Saving time and money

Although designs systems require time to be setup, and get going, creating complex UI’s between designers and developers becomes potentially faster, ideation takes less time since we know what we have to play with. In essence, designers can draw wireframes on a whiteboard and developers can develop that from the components existing without the need for a pixel perfect design in the middle. Still, some designers prefer to craft pixel-perfect designs using pre-designed components. Airbnb has designed an AI that translates paper wireframes to coded layouts using their design system. Read more about that here.

2. For stakeholders: Design Debt Reduction

Design vs tech debt in small teams usually creates a prioritisation nightmare. Product owners, designers and developers will be pleased to know that once the design system is in place, there will be fewer discrepancies and inconsistencies to fix in future sprints. Developers will be using ready components and thus create fewer bugs. This will automatically reduce the design debt.

3. For users: Boost Coherency and Predictability 

Users, usually won’t and shouldn’t care about the top two benefits, when it comes down to usability though, users expect modern software to behave predictably. A design system will create a consistent experience across all UI’s and components. Design standards will help in the way everything behaves. Design principles will guide the team to take new decisions faster.

Facing reality

Design systems, like any other solution, doesn’t come with-out challenges. Some of those might be that designers feel that the design system puts some constrains on creativity. Others, think that it might hinder exploration, re-alignment and reflection. Other worries might involve the inflexibility of systems overtime. Thankfully, being aware of these pitfalls can greatly reduce the risk of these issues realising. Even if some of those challenges happen, there are solutions to overstep these hurdles. What is a challenge, is the constant amount of work and resources required to design and develop an effective system to transform your organisation.

A good design system is an ever-evolving one!

A good design evolves

How to create a successful one? Create a living, breathing system that’s flexible, maintainable, stable, scalable, and is designed for the long-term. Of course, that is no easy task, if you are interested however, we will be happy to guide you through it.

Anmar Matrood
UX Designer

Anmar Matrood

Anmar is a designer with a strong background in UX and visual design. His passion is to simplify complex UX problems and his goal is to make intricate information accessible to the masses. Anmar is also an avid freediver, photographer, traveller and researcher.

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