Inside the head of a designer


Snook in Finland
January 30, 2011, 11:07 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized
Finland

Finland

A couple of weeks ago, Snook spent time in Kuopio, Finland, courtesy of Satu Miettinen after Lauren had been a couple of years ago on her ‘Finland Frolicks’. We were invited to teach at the Savonia University of Applied Sciences.We had heard good things from Lauren’s Finland Frolics in 2010. We were working with the fantastic Work Play Experience who use theatrical tools in Service Design, a very refreshing take on the discipline.

The visit was to run the Winter Service Design School at the university.  Working over two days we were taking the students and staff from initial research and film ethnography to concepts which will be prototyped for real.  The topic was designing for the elderly.  We looked at three strands:

  • Elderly service users in hospital
  • Elderly people living at home
  • Elderly people living in care homes

 

Work play x

Work play x

 

We began with the fantastic warm up from Adam and Markus of Work Play Experience.  Anyone who has had the pleasure of being part of a WPX workshop before will know what it is like to warmed up in the company of rubber chickens.  The duo wake up the left and right hand side of the brain using some bizarre exercises, but it works, and participants are left wide eyed, determined and ready for some hard work.

We were working from personas that had been created by the students and interviewees in the format of films.  We wanted the group to empathise with the personas they were working with so we sat everyone down in groups of three and let participants take on the role of their persona.  By simply having a conversation with one another as the people they were designing for, the group were able to dig deeper and understand what it is like to be a user.

Grouping back together and pulling out insights was a tough leap for the workshop participants. At first, they kept referring to what they knew about their personas.  But after some probing we began to pull out interesting themes about the change in situation for elderly people when health changes, how people move from independent to dependent.  An interesting observation was about the points in people’s lives where people drift from families to becoming wholly dependent on them again, and looking at these points to delve deeper into.

 

Idea generation

Idea generation

 

Working with the three themes we then brainstormed ideas, in a quick, speed dating scenario.  Groups then settled on ideas and we set to work on the more difficult part; thinking of them in terms of services, rather than just concepts.

Using story boarding and rapid prototyping we attempted to expand the group’s thinking from single idea to service.  It was difficult and this is always the biggest leap in imagination.  It was tough and we didn’t quite get there on the first day, but the second day really pushed the groups to expand their concepts to ‘fit’ into real scenarios and complex systems.

Starting with Work Play Experience, the participants were put through their paces to improvise and act their ideas out  Supported by Adam and Markus the team who had developed the Skype service for elderly people living in homes had to really start thinking about how this would operate as a service.  By re-enacting the service as a nurse and an elderly woman in a wheelchair problems began to arise that the group would need to design around.  A great way to make participants consider how to design, not just generate ideas!!

 

Students blueprinting

Students blueprinting

 

Snook then led the group through a blueprinting exercise, to consider how people might become aware of their new service concepts, join, use and then ‘leave’ them.  We focused on starting in the middle, the ‘use’ part of a blueprint to outline the value proposition.  Breaking down the blueprint to front stage, back stage, and actions of both customer and staff.  We asked workshop to participants to think about what happens before and after the use part of a service experience.

 

Twitter feedback

Twitter feedback

 

We ended the fast paced second day with three presentations. We sent the ideas out into the world for feedback via twitter only 30 minutes before.  We received some great feedback so thank you to those who commented.  We had;

“Care in a Queue – adapted #iPad for patients in #healthcare: contact, care, entertainment 4 elderly outpatients in hospital. #servicedesign”

“Feel free, connect in ur social life: flexible transport options. Welcome to the Senior Cheer-up Bus! #healthcare #servicedesign”

“Closer from a distance: connect with beloved relatives via “Skype for the elderly”. Easy for people in #healthcare centres. #servicedesign”

All the presentations were great! Ideally, the next step for groups would be to move into some live prototyping but really focus on fitting them into the context of existing systems around them.

We would also really like to go back to Finland again, it’s a very beautiful country with some fantastic food.

If you’d like to know more about this kind of work, contact sarah@wearesnook.com and we’ll see if we can help.

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MyPolice is LIVE
January 17, 2011, 4:19 pm
Filed under: Public Sector Design, service design, social innovation, work

You can visit the online feedback tool for the public and police, MyPolice, here.

Here are some thoughts I had about the journey written on our new, shiny blog.

I want MyPolice to be known for giving a voice to people who may have not had one before and creating new dialogues with the police. I want MyPolice to be known as a great platform. I hope, in some way, what we have done and will continue to do will pave the way for the production and delivery of new ideas for our society, across all sectors. I want everyone to believe they can do something that can make a difference.

I care about fairness and equality and believe no one should be treated unfairly or unjustly. I care about people in their communities coming together to work with the police, rather than against them.

It has taken eighteen months and twenty five days to get MyPolice all the way from an award winning idea to reality. Eighteen months and twenty seven days ago I graduated, two days later I won Social Innovation Camp. The winning MyPolice team was me, Kate Ho, Jen Davies, James Brown, Carrie Bishop, Olivier Raynault, Tony Bowden, Charlotte Mc Donald and Gayle Rice.

 

The winning team
The winning team

 

2010 has been a pivotal year for MyPolice in many ways. Most importantly it was the year I joined forces with my now business partner and dedicated partner in crime, Lauren Currie.

Lauren and Sarah presenting at Policing 2.0Lauren and Sarah presenting at Policing 2.0 

We learned really tough lessons in how the police work, the mindset, the culture and how we could make this work. We met Johnathan Briggs, our business advisor who gave us the reality check we needed to take our student hats off and become business women. Johnathan really helped us develop our thinking around taking the good idea that won SICamp to a sound business proposal.  We worked non stop in developing our brand and applying for funding.We then received confirmation of funding from 4ip and Firstport which allowed us to bring on board Danyi Feng;  a brilliant and talented developer.

 

Public feedback Public feedback 

The future of MyPolice is an exciting one. We have endless ideas, new functions and steps we can take to use MyPolice to illustrate, document and become a catalyst for change in the police service and communities.  I think the future is going to be full of tough decisions, and challenges but I’m confident our team will take on these challenges with gusto and commitment to make MyPolice the best service it can be.

There have been times when it felt like giving up was an option – it has been mentally and physically tough to keep going. Lauren and I lived on fresh air for over six months, Lauren spent the past year endlessly travelling up and down the country meeting Chiefs and understanding what keeps them awake at night ( while I was in undertaking my Masters degree – embedding design in an organisation )

Travelling to London most weeks
Travelling to London most weeks

 

There have been so many barriers, out of our control, that we have met along the way. Stations being struck by lightening and a government body stealing our identity to name a few! On a personal level, to get this out there and for MyPolice to become a success would be like completing a marathon and having worn shoes on the wrong feet. I feel a bit bashed around, and a bit thicker skinned, but this will be a real personal triumph to deliver MyPolice, knowing that if you have a big idea, it is possible to deliver it.

HMIC debacle
HMIC debacle

 

I didn’t do this on my own. There are far too many people to name and I feel I would forget people if I tried to do so, but you know who you are. I can’t thank you enough. The original team at SIcamp who helped, continued to help and some who have become great friends of mine. Also, 4ip and Firstport who believed in the our goal and enthusiasm.

I have big dreams for MyPolice. I want MyPolice to be used by every force around the UK. Once we have built the site we want to, when mypolice.org is a central hub and geographically savvy to work with complex policing boundaries, produce interesting and service changing data, we want it to be THE platform for police engagement and provide functions around the big society, volunteering, anti-social behaviour, gauge how communities are feeling about their ward, sub division, area and force.  We have lots of ideas but importantly we need to focus on right now, keep it simple, do what it says on the tin, and deliver a service.

Understanding the pilot area Understanding the pilot area 

The pilot is all about testing the product and getting stories. We are piloting in one area, so taking one small step at a time. We want to see responses from the local community officers we have signed up to MyPolice and a dialogue forming between the Police and the public. I don’t want more, or less than this. We just want enough information to begin building a bigger and better site that will work in a way the public and police need.

Oh and one last thing. Thanks to all of you. MyPolice would not be here without your support, advice and encouragement. The unsung hero in all of this is our lead developer Danyi Feng. Here’s to transforming the way the police and the public communicate.