Inside the head of a designer


SIcamp are visiting Scotland
May 11, 2011, 5:39 pm
Filed under: event, interesting, social innovation | Tags: , , , , ,
Social Innovation Camp

So I wrote a post just a wee while ago to let you know about Social Innovation Camp.

Quick post just to let you know;

Social Innovation Camp are holding two pre events in Edinburgh and Glasgow next week.

Visit the Pony on bathstreet in Glasgow on the 17th, 6-8pm to meet them.

Visit the Melting Pot in Edinburgh on the  16th, 6-8pm to meet them.

They’ve already held some great events in Scotland so far to drum up support and get your creative mind thinking around the theme of Social Isolation.  There is only 10 days to submit an idea, so hurry up and do it.

I haphazardly entered an idea over 2 years ago and it grew into this: MyPolice. I never expected to go any further past submitting an idea, but let me tell you, it was worth it!



An Assets Alliance Scotland
Coproduction challenge

Coproduction challenge

This morning Snook were kindly invited to take part in Assets Alliance Scotland, an event being jointly held by the Scottish Government, Scottish Community Development Centre and the Long Term Conditions Alliance Scotland.

“We in Scotland should be proud of our tradition of community involvement and community action and public service delivery’s role in supporting this activity to flourish. However, in the last few years we have developed a model of public service delivery based on a ‘treatment’ or ‘doing to’ approach, which often fails to recognise communities’ and service users’ own strengths and assets and which instead engenders a culture of dependency that, in turn, stimulates demand.”

Before attending the event, I had made a clear connection in my head about how closely this aligned with the work of Liz Sanders.

“Designers will no longer only design for people, they will learn
to design with people. Co-designing will require new forms of
communication to support the collective creativity that arises between
designers and everyday people.”

Working with frontline staff and users as the experts in their own eco-systems/services is a big part of the work I am doing right now. I bring their thoughts and imaginings to life.  We take the most optimistic stance we can; an issue can always be solved, there are assets all around us that help to solve a problem or build a brighter future.

The morning was kicked off with Harry Burns, who a participant described his delivery as ‘not usual for a Scottish gov type’.  Perhaps, he was right.  It was fantastic and inspiring to hear someone talk about a ‘social movement’ rather than a new set of targets or paper/policy being delivered from the government.  What really caught my attention was Dr Burn’s citing of the great union activist, Jimmy Reid.  Reid’s inaugural speech as rector of Glasgow University in 1972, has really influenced Snook, ( hat tip to Mike Press who highlighted this speech during his keynote at Create Debate.

“A rat race is for rats. We’re not rats. We’re human beings. Reject the insidious pressures in society that would blunt your critical faculties to all that is happening around you, that would caution silence in the face of injustice lest you jeopardise your chances of promotion and self-advancement.

This is how it starts, and, before you know where you are, you’re a fully paid-up member of the rat pack. The price is too high”

“It’s the frustration of ordinary people excluded from the processes of decision-making. The feeling of despair and hopelessness that pervades people who feel with justification that they have no real say in shaping or determining their own destinies.”

Interestingly Dr Burns steered clear of the Big Society agenda and favored the words of Jimmy Reid.  This line always brings it home for me;

“A rat race is for rats. We’re not rats. We’re human beings”

Sometimes I feel a deep sigh coming on as I soldier through different public sector systems, hoops, and documents.  I think sometimes we forget, at the end of the day, we’re all people.

On the people side, after the keynote, participants were invited to browse projects which linked with an asset based approach.  I showcased the Getgo Glasgow project and how we mobilised a community to see past their issues and ‘obvious’ solutions to problems in their community.  I talked to participants about the power of visualisation and an optimistic mindset. I also showcased other pieces of work such as the Future Library Project and the Innovation Cards.

To add more detail to the visionary approach of Dr Burns, Andrew Lyon of the International Futures Forum set the task of imagining what Scotland’s Asset Alliance priorities should be – what actions need to be taken and what are matters of urgency.

 

Asset Alliance Scotland as a centre point

Asset Alliance Scotland as a centre point

It was an interesting discussion. Andrew graciously let everyone voice their opinion at the end of the event.  The discussions taught me that we need a framework to house some of this work and break it down into how to ‘do asset based work’.  It was obvious that there is already a huge amount of asset based work being done, and it has a history. Perhaps, it’s not always under the label of an ‘asset based approach’ but known as ‘community development’.  I’m not saying we ‘teach a granny to suck eggs’ as one participant in my group warned against, but we create a menu of options which breaks down an asset based approach, a framework to house the knowledge gathered through the AAS which is easy to access, understand, share, and importantly learn from and put into practice.  For example, a range of options on how to engage with people in communities and connections to people who are experts in this field would be beneficial.

The group deliberated between a top down approach, and whilst I agreed that you need government buy in, I think the last thing that is needed is another strategy/policy document on an asset approach that promotes meaningless, tick box targets.  If we’re going to talk targets under the assets agenda, then I think we need to think really carefully how that is conveyed.

Technology curve of adoption

Technology curve of adoption

I felt that we could look at the curve of adoption for technology and think about how ‘early adopters’ are the users who begin to write the ‘playbooks’ and ‘how to guides’.  Perhaps the AAS would take this role on board and begin pulling together existing networks and organising information.

I noticed the Alliance pulling together ongoing work, and past work, branding it as ‘Assets based’ to build a community of practitioners in Scotland, and develop a framework to house this knowledge. However,  I did mention there is a huge need for more interaction across different sectors.  Some of the conversations around ‘person-centeredness’, ‘co-creation’ and ‘assets’ are not only relevant to health but to everyone.  Our lives are are a holistic combination of services and complex interactions that  overlap different sectors on a daily basis.

Importantly, as a chameleon amongst different sectors, this kind of work and demand-led idea is appearing across all sectors, not just health.  Take Skills Development Scotland 2010-2011 Corporate strategy, an organisation I worked alongside last year.  They talk multiple times over about co-creation and demand-led services, which I think align closely with asset based and coproduction movements and murmurs going on around our country.

Snook competition on assets

Snook competition on assets


The most poignant thought for me at the end was about listening.  A participant talked about asking others what assets mean to them and learning from this feedback.  This struck a chord with me and I was happy that Snook had given out a small task for participants to capture assets in their community and email the photos back to us.  We’re looking forward to peering through them and posting them online, feel free to get involved even if you didn’t pick up a leaflet.

Finally, the reason for this task, and what gets me every time at events like this is the need for a vision.  Andrew Lyons had asked us what the AAS will ‘look’ like, yet I saw no hint of visual thinking or communication.  This goes deeper than graphically facilitating the discussions that were taking place but the way in which we go forward in discussing the future of the AAS, and the approach we use in the future for the development of our public sector and country.

We need to share projects, the how to, and do it visually. A picture speaks a thousand words and breeds a common understanding which if applied in context of the AAS could mean a shared vision for the meaning of assets, the alliance, and perhaps as Pat Kane called for at Political Innovation camp a few weeks ago, a shared vision for our country.  Big talking, but, something keeps hitting a nerve of late at discussions like this.  Words like transformation seem to be super seeding ‘change’, ‘improvement’, ‘efficiency’, It feels there are some big ‘shake ups’ that need to happen. With Andrew asking us about urgency today for the AAS, something niggles me even more.  I have a feeling the time is now, we need to move fast.




In the Guardian
May 2, 2010, 12:18 pm
Filed under: interesting, work | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,
guardian media

guardian media paper sarah drummond

Funny old thing, media.  The last year has seen me and various projects/partner in crime feature in articles amongst some pretty big names like the BBC, Herald, Guardian.  On Wednesday this week, nothing could quite prepare me for the shock I got when I opened the Society pages of the Guardian and saw my face (a very large face) looking back at me.

Thanks to Gordon Cairns who wrote it, I was pleased with it and picked up on all the right things I wanted to get across about Mypolice.  However, I have learned to not let your friends govern your ‘interests’ but for the record I am actually fascinated by zombies and romero classics, and through being featured here have made friends with zombie escape plan on twitter.

You can read the article online here.

“A career in product design may not seem an obvious choice for someone who wants to do something for the benefit of others – “to make a dent in the world, to make things a little better”. She admits that it wasn’t even clear to herself why she should have chosen design rather than, say, education, law or politics, until a recent conversation with a student. “She said that to do a degree in politics and economics was just regurgitating theory, but by going into the creative industries you are allowed to be creative about your solutions to these problems,” Drummond recalls.”

I’d like to thank Lori Smyth for the above as we shared this thought over coffee in Dundee last month when I was there giving a studio unbound talk.

If you can get hold of Wednesday’s paper, do, it will make you chuckle.  I am sultry, I am pensive and I am, in the words of Mike Press, somewhat alike to the Nescafe Gold woman.



Peachy Keachy

A short post to say thank you to everyone who came along to the Pecha Kucha event at the Glasgow School of art.  Not an official PK, so now nicknamed Peacky Keachy, it was a free event with the goal of encouraging cross departmental discussion and way to highlight all the great work that’s been done around the school.

My favourite thing someone said to me afterwards was I didn’t know service design existed.  They did however, see a way we could work together, so I feel the event did it’s job and lots of interesting discussion followed.  My Peachy Keachy followed the theme of ‘what the hell happened in the last ten months?’.  I started with a picture of my graduation party when I delivered boxes of pink ‘free’ donated drink for our degree show to revellers on the street.  Following through with what service design is (in about 20 seconds) to Snook and Mypolice.

Thanks again to all the speakers, you were all fantastic.

And to round off, we will run another one.  We had quite a few people approach us and ask if they could do one next time round. Perfect!

To continue the discussion, cme and join the hub and the group so we can plan the next one.

Hats off to Neil Mcguire and Christine Kinnear who presented but were involved in the planning, (and mega last minute rush) to pull everything together.  For a good write up of the event, check out Christina’s blog.



The Cycling Commuter

So the new project started today.  Throwing myself completely into it as I have set meetings up for the other project in a couple of weeks.  This gives me a clear run of executing and pulling together all my research.

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Check it out and pass the link on if you know of anyone who may me be interested in the project, especially commuters from Edinburgh to Glasgow.



Updates

So I have been finally getting round to updating my project blog. It’s been a busy week of presentations and projects. I’m in the midst of setting up a new blog for my final year project which looks at the commuting journey between Edinburgh and Glasgow and how bicycles can be implemented to improve journeys from main stations to places of work and home.

In the meantime I have been updating doweneedwords.wordpress.com, a project that looks at creating a tool to help people learn sign language.

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New project on the horizon

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Whilst having two projects firmly on my mind at the moment, the cogs were set in motion for the next one already.  I have been in touch with the CTC- The UK’s national cyclists’ association, and they sent along Dave Holladay (Working with CTC on Cycling with Public Transport Issues.- and with Strathclyde DMEM on design & manufacture projects.) to have a wee talk.

So we went for coffee and discussed over a project that might suit me for my final 4th year project, the self initiated, where I choose what I would like to study.  It was perfect, as a keen cyclist I’ve always been interested in doing something kind of related to this, so for an hour we discussed ‘Travel demand management’ and put a specific spin on the project of Glasgow to Edinburgh commuter journeys with emphasis on cycling as the ideal transport between main stations to work place and homes, door to door, which public transport does not do.  The discussion over rental schemes ensued and the best ways to do these, and if this was an appropriate method.  We also looked at how you could make these cost efficient and how companies like SPT and First could be the companies who ran them.

Quite excited for this one and it means I have professional backing too, lots of ideas buzzing round my head but of course there is a small matter of finishing the other projects, one which has an impending deadline of next Thursday, ouch!

I also laughed at how Dave said to me, ‘you do draw an awful lot of little pictures’. great, I don’t think I draw enough!




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