Published : 31.12.2019

Value, connection, relevance, privacy and self-expression have been the basic needs since Maslow postulated famous hierarchy of needs (Maslow, 1943). For each basic need trend spotters and foresight professionals have identified current trends reshaping expectations around year 2020. These trends, namely brand coins, brand avatars, metamorphic design, selective presence and self-creation provide ways to understand the connection, and touchpoints for companies to tap on these trends and address the basic needs in timely format.

In this second part we´ll discuss relevance and privacy: What they bring to field of service, to service expectations and how one should read signals of changing expectations.

Feel free to read about value and connection in this blog´s first part, here.




Relevance relates to the basic need to get back things from the world that are relevant for you. Across the last two decades, the big story in personalization has been online data-fueled personalization. This has seen billions of individual users each served as a segment of one, with much of their experience shaped around their personal preferences, tastes and interests as embodied in their personal data. Now we see this culture of constant adaptation and upgrade rolling into the physical world, too. Tesla released OS10, which presents a new level of upgradeable objects. This is just an example of the changes, which are fueling expectations of services, and even objects that constantly adapt to the altering needs of the user.

Concurrently, an emergent trend is called Everything as a Service. In 2020, the convenience of everything as a service will merge with expectations of constant, iterative adaptation. In 2020, the metamorphic will become the norm in design. The future immersive spaces will enable services that constantly adapt around consumers’ changing needs. Some subscription services have already acknowledged the ideology behind relevance and constant adaptation. In 2018, lifestyle brand Baze introduced a new service offering multivitamins on subscription – that constantly adapt around the needs of the consumer. The Starter Kit Baze offers for USD99 a selection of daily vitamins that are chosen based on the nutritional needs of any given individual. The company analyzes a self-sampled blood test from each customer and tailors each kit accordingly, providing a subscription service if they opt in. Further tailored instalments will cost the subscriber a monthly fee of USD 15.

How about the beauty products? Billions of dollars have been spent on developing the perfect formula. But there isn´t a one perfect formula for any individual because skin changes over time. In June 2019, Japan-based personal care company Shiseido launched Optune, an app-based personalized subscription service for its customers in Japan. Through the app, users snap a daily selfie that is combined with data on their sleep patterns, menstrual cycle and the environment. This data provides a skin diagnosis, which directs a cylindrical dispensing machine, the Optune Zero IoT, to dispense from cartridges a bespoke skincare formula including serums and moisturizers. The Optune service is available for USD 92 a month.

These examples are important because they are signals of changing expectations. These services and others like them will fuel expectations of subscription services that offer convenience and the relevance of constant, iterative adaptation.

The other side of everything as a service is shared objects. How can shared objects be personalized around the changing needs of each user? Think about mobility as a service and shared cars. Korean automaker Kia debuted the READ system, Real-time Emotional Adaptive Driving in January 2019. The system monitors the driver via several inputs and adapts the cabin settings and even the route based off that data. Even shared services that we’re accustomed to think of as entirely fixed will become metaporphic. A self-driving system launched in Finland runs on public streets. While accurately tracing a digital map, and following a kind of invisible railway, GACHA can not only drive on a fixed route. It can operate more efficiently by responding to user’s requests and finding the optimal route. GACHA can even take a route that includes narrow lanes, which are normally difficult for regular buses to pass through. GACHA also represents a novel partnership between University researchers, star-up company and an established design company MUJI.




Privacy is a core human need. However, we are experiencing the facial recognition revolution that has brought some amazing benefits. For example, sentient spaces have been introduced in public spaces and visitor centers around the world. These spaces truly know and respond to their inhabitants, typically by leveraging facial recognition. Nevertheless, this revolution also poses some serious privacy concerns. Hong Kong protestors for example wear Guy Fawkes masks to prevent surveillance cameras capturing their identity. In 2020, the world will be watching us more than ever. Concurrently, consumers cry for more privacy controls. At the same time, consumers’ want new benefits in exchange for the personal data.  This trend is about allowing people new tools that allow them to opt out from the service, or the surveillance. In contrast, this trend has the potential of providing amazing new benefits that will make them want to opt in. According to Salesforce survey in March 2019, 92% of consumers say they’re more likely to trust brands that give them control over what personal data is collected.

Leo Selvaggio, an American artist, was alarmed by the cheer amount of security cameras used by police in Chicago. He encourages public to wear masks of his face to thwart CCTV. Over the past five years or so he has run several experiments, flashmobs, and installations where the public are encouraged to use his face. Many early facial recognition systems were fooled by this, partially because the data sets were so bad at identifying multicultural people. In May 2019, Polish designer Ewa Nowak’s concept won the Mazda Design Award. Novaks’ brass jewelry was developed to fool facial recognition algorithms. Of the several designs tried by the artist, the final design succeeded in fooling Facebook’s DeepFace algorithm. Recently, artificial intelligence company Kneron custom-built high-quality 3D masks copying the face of another person. In their test, they were able to make payments in Alipay, Wechat, and go through the security screening at Schiphol airport. The experts claim that the technology is already available to avoid these problems, but companies are not willing to invest. was launched in June 2019 by privacy activist groups Fight for the Future, Demand Progress and Credo. The website notifies travelers which airlines use facial recognition in their boarding process. The free-to-use tool offers two options. Under ‘Stop them from using surveillance’; travelers are invited to send a pre-written tweet to the airline asking them to stop using facial recognition. ‘Book now surveillance free’ takes users to a list of airlines that do not use the technology.

Think about the benefits companies can offer that will entice people to opt in to facial recognition. With permission companies can do really cool things. In June 2018, the NBA announced a multi-year partnership with a service called 15 Seconds of Fame (15SOF). The 15SOF service leverages facial recognition to capture video of users who appear on the in-venue big screen or on television during live sports events. It will then send video of the appearance to the user’s phone. Users are free to keep and share the video. Users sign up for the service by downloading the app and snapping a selfie. The app recognizes the user automatically whenever they attend a live sports event. 15SOF also has partnerships with the NFL and several teams in Major League Baseball.

Queuing at a bar will never be the same again with facial recognition. The A.I. Bar, powered by British A.I. firm DataSparQ uses facial recognition to place drinkers in a dynamically intelligent queue. New tech will eliminate queue jumping in bars and pubs. Brits spend more than two months over a lifetime queuing for drinks. Biggest grievance for British drinkers is people pushing in at bar queues. More than three quarters of Brits have walked out of busy bars due to long queues. A.I. bar also makes ordering less intimidating for solo drinkers and females. Furthermore, automatic age verification speeds up ID checks, and eases strain on bar staff during peaks times making them more efficient.


Pasi Tuominen is specialized in multi-sensory experience design and brand reputation management. He is extremely well versed in conceiving creative ideas for leading consumer brands, and being an expert inemerging technology. Eeva Puhakainen is widely published communications professional. Both work with Service Experience Laboratory LAB8 project, which provides solutions and tools for service design, and augmented-, virtual-, and extended reality development for companies.