Inside the head of a designer

Swings and roundabouts
September 3, 2009, 11:39 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

I really must learn to blog in small doses, instead I’ve done it again, saved it all up for a massive round up of all things service that have caught my attention in the last couple of weeks.

Most importantly, I’ve been working on mypolice and there’s a lot of thoughts over there too.  It’s been going phenomenally well and we’ve now got a list of police conferences to present at.  What’s been interesting is talking to police leaders and members of the Scottish government about design led innovation and using creativity to engage with the public and come up with new and relevant services.  I’ve been flying the service design flag a little and recently spoke up at a big policing event, to be met with great interest and acceptance of what service design might do for the police force in Scotland, and on my visit to London later next week, hopefully in the UK too.

I’m going to save myself a little for a larger post about policy making which I mentioned in my last post, but a couple of papers that caught my eye this week were,

A must read for anyone, is ‘A Brief History of Public Service Reform’, a paper from the 2020 Public Services Trust at the RSA.  The video above is a video newsletter from them for September.

“1 Be responsive to the existing and new sources of insecurity and disadvantage that citizens face today – including how these are distributed across the lifecycle, how they differ can by gender, ethnicity, class, and spatially, and how they can combine in ways that entrench and perpetuate disadvantage; and

2 Have at its heart the positive aspirations of citizens – for themselves and the lives they want to lead, for their families, and for their communities.”

Another paper which might run alongside this was brought to my attention by redjotter ‘The NHS: Local Control vs Local Varioation’ It brought together different age groups to discuss the level of involvement in choosing how public spending in the NHS is managed.  Worth a read and part of a major debate about the spending of public budgets nationwide vs localality needs.

Another paper which I read last week and finally remembered is ‘VISUALIZATIONS AS TOOLS FOR RESEARCH: SERVICE DESIGNERS ON VISUALIZATIONS’ looking at visualization as the tool of the designer, which made me start to think of the debate about passing on design tools and skills to ‘non’ designers.  Can anyone be a designer? Isn’t everyone a designer? Or are there traits and instincts which make some people better at (service) design thinking than others?

It runs alongside something Kate Andrews put up on twitter the other day, ‘You know more than you think you do’ from the RSA,with a quote that stood out at the end,

that the most exciting thing about design right now is how it can make everyone more creative’ – Jane Fulton Suri of IDEO

This is something of great interest to me as my masters this year at the Glasgow School of Art will be undertaken in a collaboration with Skills Development Scotland, to help them understand and practice service design.  It is a task that in no way I think will be easy and will be a great study of whether the skills a good designer has can be taught to ‘non’ designers, as well as the tools and techniques attributed to the design process.  I think the biggest challenge is when I leave, will the knowledge still live on and be usable?  It’s something I’m going to try and make sure of.  Watch this space, I can feel a new blog coming on.

A really quick round up of a few other things are, Service design – a robust way to build brands, The Psychology of Creativity, promising practices in online engagement.

Something else that caught my eye was the new school buses in India, for kids who are not able of have dropped out of school.  Their idea is about ‘mission to admission’ to prepare these kids for a primary school.  Fantastic.


Finally, I’ve been working on blueprint of user journeys with Say Women, a charity which helps young women between the ages of 16-25 who have experienced rape, sexual assault and abuse.  I was there today interviewing Brenda Walker as part of the mypolice project (I’ll post about it over there later) and working with her to map out the young women’s journeys.  It reminded me of this, the mepss webtool flagged up by openp2pdesign on twitter.

‘Successful PSS innovation asks for a strategy that focuses on designing and selling an interconnected system of products and services. MEPSS (Methodology for PSS) helps you to think ‘outside the box’ and actively use visualisation, analysis and stakeholder management in your design process.’

I’ll think that will do for a round up, I must get back to blogging more often…