Strategic design in understanding students' decreasing Interest in shared housing in the Helsinki region

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School of Arts, Design and Architecture | Master's thesis
Ask about the availability of the thesis by sending email to the Aalto University Learning Centre oppimiskeskus@aalto.fi
Location:
P1 OPINNÄYTTEET D 2019 Kollmann
Date
2019
Major/Subject
Mcode
Degree programme
Collaborative and Industrial Design
Language
en
Pages
133=31
Series
Abstract
Over the past years design has proven to be an effective approach in fostering Hoas’ (The Foundation for Student Housing in the Helsinki Region) success. Hoas has applied different forms of design to improve the satisfaction of its customers and to make more efficient use of its resources. This includes improving the effectiveness of its digital platforms as well as enhancing the user experience in the apartments Hoas provides. However, the decreasing interest in shared housing, as identified by Hoas, has turned out to be a more complex challenge than what previous design approaches have been able to tackle, which is why the strategic design approach seems timely. Strategic design has previously been identified as a valuable approach in steering efficiency and supporting growth. However, as a non-profit organization and common-good foundation, Hoas does not aim for financial growth, but for contributing to the common good of students by providing affordable student housing. Strategic design in this thesis is understood in the following four manifestations: process planning and risk management, orchestration and integration, value reassurance and re-positioning and lastly, envisioning and disruption. These four manifestations of strategic design and the role of the designer are studied through both literature and empirical research, including a survey, six semi-structured interviews as well as an ethnographic research. The research in this thesis is conducted by utilizing the mixed methods methodology, including both quantitative and qualitative data-gathering methods. The quantitative data is gathered with the help of a survey on the tenant-experience of students living in a Hoas shared apartment. The qualitative data is gathered by carrying out six semi-structured interviews as well as an ethnographic research. The semi-structured interviews were conducted with experts of different fields relevant in the context of student housing, as well as representatives of Hoas. The ethnographic research was conducted in two Hoas shared apartments, by implementing the following tools: observation, on-field conversations and visual research. To support the understanding of the tenant of today and in the context of a decreasing interest in shared housing and in supporting the decision-making process in Hoas the concept of persona is introduced. The personas developed for this thesis provide an understanding of the complexity and interrelatedness of the phenomenon. This thesis contributes to design literature by providing an understanding of strategic design as an approach in addressing systemic challenges, such as student housing. The research done as part of this thesis widens our understanding of strategy beyond conventional assumptions of it primarily focusing on efficiency and growth of individual companies to strategies enabling ethical and sustainable decision-making, and thus, contributing to communal benefits. Furthermore, this thesis provides non-profits and common-good organizations like Hoas valuable insight into the design discipline and allows them to improve their operations.
Description
Supervisor
Julier, Guy
Thesis advisor
Julier, Guy
Keywords
strategy, strategic, design, student, housing, foundation, non-profit, common-good
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