2024 | Hiiumaa ArenduskeskusTrainingStrategicService Design

Hiiumaa Arenduskeskus

How we facilitated 2 custom-made service design trainings to unite local tourism businesses.

The legendary Kõpu lighthouse. Photo: hiiumaa.ee

We were lucky to work with Hiiumaa Arenduskeskus, not only once but twice to level up the service design skills of the tourism cluster members. And yes! We say lucky, because really, how often do you get to share the great impact of your work with such friendly, ambitious and funny people?

Quality over quantity

Tourism plays a critical role in the regional development of Hiiumaa. The tourism cluster of Hiiumaa recently developed a new and ambitious strategy for the tourism sector of Hiiumaa. With this strategy in place, they reached out to Velvet to raise the competitiveness of their tourism organisations and businesses and make them future-proof and ready for the upcoming challenges.

In the core of the new strategy was the crucial insight that there is a limit to the volume of tourist services in Hiiumaa that can be developed without endangering the local unique environment. Therefore the tourism sector’s goal is to increase the quality of services and customer awareness of the tourism sector and improve the visitor experience, rather than to bring in the masses.

With this context in mind and supported by the new strategy, we created two bespoke training programs to teach the participants the basics of service design and design thinking, taking into account the context of tourism and Hiiumaa tourism sector’s current and future needs.

Training programme 1: Practical service design training for strategic alignment

Our first workshop program focused on giving the participants an overview of service design with practical tips and tools that tourism businesses can apply in their work for reaching the goal set.

Over the course of five days, we walked participants through a series of skills, mindsets and tools that designers use and that they could also implement. We didn’t simply share theoretical knowledge, but nudged the participants to put the newly acquired skills immediately into action by conducting service audits and user research activities.

Tailor-made training programme

Training programme 2: Future-proofing with design thinking

Hiidlased (people from Hiiumaa) welcomed us back on the island to carry out a design thinking training. The 2-day program aimed to equip tourism businesses with strategies and skills to ensure their resilience in a constantly changing world. It’s all about preparing them for whatever may come their way, making sure they can adapt and thrive no matter what the future holds. We tried out some practical service design tools to address potential risks tied to possible future scenarios.

While we can go into detail about what every training day was like, this time we’d share some of the best ideas that the trainings sparked.

These are a collection of tips, insights and recommendations and reflection that we uncovered during our work:

1: Start with the right foot forward.

We started our journey with understanding the context of tourism in Hiiumaa through the lense of service design.

2: Theory is great and all but nothing beats the hands-on approach.

The word “practical” mentioned in the title of the training means that participants try out the service design tools introduced to them.

3: If you want your users to see value in your services then get to know them first.

Hiiumaa tourism cluster members took on a challenge to become user researchers and try out some practical tools.

4: If you are a small player, then find strength in numbers.

After looking at the situations from personal viewpoints, we found that everything started to work only after a mindset change. Participants went from trying to tackle their problems alone to starting to uncover opportunities as a team. This led to joint service offers approach that became a basis for further ideating, prioritising and prototyping.

5: Training doesn’t have to end with just a nice-to-have concept, we make it real.

We ended up with specific real life problems to solve and opportunities for innovation to focus on. To keep the eye on the ball, participants collaborated on a roadmap with interim milestones and shared goals.

6: Don’t get discouraged by change, use it to your advantage.

By adopting the mindset of design thinking and investigating the impact of trends on the tourism sector, participants learned to see trends as practical tools for decision-making.

7: In chaotic times, find reassurance in purposeful processes.

We had fun with prototyping and testing our future scenarios. But it’s not all about fun and games. We got serious for a bit and analysed how we can manage change successfully.

When it comes to promoting your tourism business – either if you’re a hotel, a museum or a souvenir shop, it may seem like a taunting task. Luckily this is not the case in Hiiumaa. Tourism professionals of Hiiumaa work towards common goals side by side.


  • Klarika Mäeots Uustal Trainer, Service Designer
  • Kristiina Veerde-Toompalu Producer

Client team

  • Kristel Üksvärav Hiiumaa Arenduskeskus