2024 | ESPLANStrategicService DesignStrategy Design


Bringing the architecture & engineering industry to the next level with service design

ESPLAN is a rapidly growing architecture and engineering company in which years of experience are combined with innovative solutions offered by leading specialists.

It was no surprise that they wanted to innovate towards a more aligned internal work process that would represent ESPLAN way of working, encompassing all of their strengths and expertise.

Towards aligned internal processes

The challenge ahead of us was to incorporate their in-house know-how and best practices into a shared process. This strategic change was accompanied by ESPLAN growing in size through the process of PCC Projekt merge and move to a new office building. That meant an even bigger challenge for us to ensure all employees will be heard and engaged in our work, while carrying on with their own day to day activities.

Velvet’s work is embedded in empathetic designerly practices, rooted in user centred approach. Our approach to creating the conditions for ESPLAN’s best work was to apply a combination of design and business strategies supported by co-creative and change management practices. 

The design and implementation process was adapted to support the creation of a common organisational culture and internal alignment as well as a uniform and recognisable customer experience. 

Navigate change with the right mindset

Change management process is embedded in strategy, yet the success of it is dictated just as much by the human element. To set the right direction, we went through several rounds of co-creative sessions with employees from all levels. This led us to the following mindset shifts to aim for within the organisation:

Measure 7 times, cut once

A thorough research and diagnosis pinpointed the key areas requiring change with relevant next steps, including developing a lessons learned format, a project work process map, a streamlined project management toolbox and a design guide for ESPLAN’s client experience visuals. After picking the specific interventions in terms of common tools, practices and processes, we reframed each of them together with working groups of key stakeholders from ESPLAN specialists.

Ensure employee buy-in

The implementation phase involved change acceleration programme, where Change Partners played a crucial role. Find out more about their role in the journey here.

Interventions were developed and tested in collaboration with working groups of ESPLAN employees and strategically released in batches, ensuring a phased and effective transition. Employees served as change agents, advocating for change within the company.

Out of sight, out of mind

Leaderships support, consistency and patience are central to change. Service design principles and change management contributed to a smooth transition by promoting employee ownership and involvement.

To ensure that employees have one source of truth to come back to, we developed one. This digital internal wiki, aggregating best practices, visualised processes and common tools, ensures that the right information is accessible to all relevant parties. Change agents carry out regular updates and feedback sessions to facilitate an open dialogue, therefore ensuring that everyone has a shared understanding of the vision and reasoning behind the change.

This transformative journey resulted in a more aligned, efficient, and employee-centric processes, setting the stage for continued success and growth. The service and strategic design principles can continue to support ESPLAN’s growth by fostering adaptability, continuous improvement, and a customer-centric approach to project management.

To fresh starts

The process has been much more than we expected and included so many areas from our daily practices. It also took many more working hours from all the participants than we estimated in the beginning, but we are really happy with the results. Maybe the biggest change was to have most of our forms renewed, improved, our entire toolkit properly organised into easily usable online workbook/database OneNote. 

It is not the end, it is only beginning – creating experiences is what we do and we would like to continue improve on that.

Kadi Metsmaa, CEO of ESPLAN


  • Sofía Vega Anza Design lead, strategic designer
  • Klarika Mäeots Uustal Design lead, service designer
  • Larissa Pelke Service designer
  • Kristo Tohver Business designer
  • Jordi Serrano Graphic designer
  • Kristiina Veerde-Toompalu Project manager


  • Kaimar Koemets Template designer
  • Ekke Sööt (Change Partners) Change management consultant
  • Kadi Metsmaa, Priit Pääso, Lever Lõhmus, Kätlin Simberg, Arno Liiskmann, Raido Schiff, Maarika Koor, Gunnar Kingo, Liisa Peri, Kuldar Sillaste, Tauno Murakas, Anna Balaš, Karina Mamotova, Maris Jõpiselg, Nadežda Khlamova ESPLAN client team