Inside the head of a designer


Busy times
November 9, 2009, 1:14 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

I’ve been spending lots of time in the ‘real world’ recently working on several different projects.  It’s really taken up much of my time so here’s just a small summary of what I’ve been doing;

 

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Mypolice is really picking up pace.  In only 4 months we’ve gone from winning Social Innovation Camp to presenting at policing conferences and receiving attention from home and abroad.  All I can say is watch this space, myself and Lauren Currie are working on bringing mypolice to an area near you and have all sorts of exciting places to be along that journey.

If you’re about for mypublicservices, come say hello.  We’re also going to be at the RSA’s  NPIA Symposium ( National Policing Improvement Agency…who we presented for last month at policing 2.0).  Thirdly we might be at Young people as victims of crime, a conference run by public policy exchange.   Multiple trips to London ahead…

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Secondly, I’ve been ever so slightly busy with the Masters in Design Innovation at the Glasgow School of Art.  We’ve been tasked in the first term (until the end of Jan 2010) to develop a social enterprise as part of the sustainournation competition being run by Audi.  Now, I have my issues with this competition, not because of it’s intent but the way it could potentially be handled.  On behalf of my class mates, I think we’re doing a rather good job.  The first thing we sat down to do was communicate a standard set  of ethics on this project.  If there is anything I don’t want to be, it’s a parachuting designer who runs off at the end of the project after instilling hope into a community that WE could make something happen.  So we’ve taken a coproductive route, making sure that we are facilitating a process and ensuring the tools and ideas we work with them to create are sustainable.  You can find out more about what we;ve been doing at our getgo ning.

I’ll be writing up a report on the project entitled the ethics of co-design, another watch this space, and thanks to Tom from Sense Worldwide for sending me their Spirit of cocreation white paper.

To end this section, there is some interesting debate going over on wenovski, about how ‘social design’ can learn from ‘service design’ techniques and the whole co-creation aspect…get involved.

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Thirdly, as part of my masters and up until September 2010, I have been working with Skills Development Scotland;

‘As Scotland’s new skills body, we bring together four partner organisations with a shared vision to drive forward real, positive and sustained change in Scotland’s skills performance. Through this merger Scotland now has a dynamic, forward-looking organisation which will deliver comprehensive information, advice and guidance for careers and learning as well as extensive support for skills development.’

I’m really pleased to be part of the service innovation team.  We’re looking at how the process and skills of service design can be implemented into their organisation to help lead through difficult change, but ultimately deliver better services and put staff and customers at the heart of the organisation.

It’s a tough ride, change is never easy, and in a month’s time I’ll be summing up my experience so far of working with the team.  It’s difficult for me to come into a different environment, I take for granted the way I work, it’s often exploratory and unstructured at times and I think this is perhaps what the difficult part is for outsiders to grasp.  On the other side though, I feel that our team has an amazing set of different strengths, it’s just about finding out how to harness these and work together as a team.

We worked with live|work last week to help work the team through how service design could be implemented into the organisation and I felt it really helped to set out a feasible blueprint of how this massive task could be tackled.

Following on from a drink with James and Jeremy from Live|Work and some great advice, I’ve got the team working under the acronym of JFDI.  I’ll leave the f out, but basically it stands for ‘just do it’.  The team are heading out to different centres tomorrow to interview staff and find out about their day to day jobs, and what aspects of what they do could be changed to improve services.  It’s a start…

There isn’t a concrete brief, but I’m looking forward to finding out how the team responds to this.  We’re working towards building some character profiles and on return, finding patterns in the research that generate insights to take forward into the SDS blueprint for designing better services for Scotland.  Another watch this space…

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Lastly, I’ve been working a bit on studiounbound.  The next one is taking place in Dundee on Monday, and being held by Kate Pickering and Lauren Currie with myself and Kate Andrews joining in from Skype.  We’ve been holding some interesting talk recently and the limits of studiounbound could be expanding.  I’m giving a talk to SDS on Wednesday about the use of social media as something important in our tool boxes for networking, generating debate, learning and documenting our work as they progress on an unknown journey into service design.  I find this a great move forward for SDS and reminds me of Sophia Parker talking about a young design student Ruth in her publication, Social Animals: A call for change in design education.

“Despite these valuable skills, the truth is that Ruth can’t put into words half of what it is she can offer public servants like those she is working with… drawing entrepreneurially on her design education, and trying hard to translate things she learnt about product and industrial design into this new setting of the public sector…
If Ruth sometimes feels a bit lost in her situation, it is equally true that the public servants of the local council often struggle to know what to ask for Ruth’s help on. … They can see she is desperate to work on some of the more strategic issues around youth offending, but equally know that her lack of professional qualifications in the field make it very difficult to imagine asking her to play a key role in the system redesign work.”

This got me thinking about the opportunities of having both design students online and other disciplines who are interested in design thinking on the same platforms.  For students there could be an opportunity to look beyond what might lie ahead after graduation than just consultancy and spanking new portfolio, and for the public sector (and private), an idea of what young talent is doing and might be able to offer.  A two way bargain…

Anyway, just some thoughts for now. And some delicious links, and flickr.

If you want to get in touch with me, email me sarah@mypolice.org always interested in a chat around other people’s work!

“Despite these valuable skills, the truth is that Ruth can’t put into words half of what it is she can offer public servants like those she is working with… drawing entrepreneurially on her design education, and trying hard to translate things she learnt about product and industrial design into this new setting of the public sector.

If Ruth sometimes feels a bit lost in her situation, it is equally true that the public servants of the local council often struggle to know what to ask for Ruth’s help on. … They can see she is desperate to work on some of the more strategic issues around youth offending, but equally know that her lack of professional qualifications in the field make it very difficult to imagine asking her to play a key role in the system redesign work.”

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