Inside the head of a designer


Servdes, Snook and snowballs
Snook in Sweden

Snook in Sweden

 

Another Snook adventure under our belt ; this time in Linkoping, Sweden.  The occasion? Servdes.  Traveling through some thick snow I made it to the conference, this time under the theme of Exchanging Knowledge.

“The Nordic Conference on Service Design and Service Innovation, ServDes, is the premier research conference for exchanging knowledge within service design and service innovation…Service design as a field has established itself as a strong discipline, through efforts in practice and academia. However, publications have mainly focused on establishing service design. There is a growing need for original research on service design. The ServDes conference is an answer to this call…”

In short, it was in-depth and fun. Making it the best event I have taken part in this year.  However, I struggled with the delicate balance between practitioners and researchers.  This was a recurring theme in some of the discussions I had about academia and practice can can link up and communicate better.  As an active practitioner, I’ve just left academia ; finishing a Masters on Embedding design in the public sector which was more action research and reflection than it was academic.  For me, this works, because at the end of the day, I want to make change happen.  Personally, I’d rather work with academics to document and theorise the work I do on the ground.  I’m wondering if Servdes will become the catalyst for making this connection smoother?

Snook were invited to present the case Service Design: social innovation is our motivation’.  The presentation reflected on a project, Getgo Glasgow, undertaken last year at the Glasgow School of Art. It depicts some of the issues the design community is facing when undertaking social design/innovation projects within design education. My presentation considered some of the shortfalls in the project ; time frames, delivery and ethics. How do designers leave a project like this ethically? Have we considered the consequences of sending young designers out to engage with communities/users.  A film is on the way but for now, you can view the presentation.

The presentation aligned with Don Norman’s views published on Core 77: ‘Why Design Education Must Change‘.

“Many problems involve complex social and political issues. As a result, designers have become applied behavioral scientists, but they are woefully undereducated for the task”

This brilliant yet critical article picks on design education for producing undereducated designers who are ‘woefully ignorant of the deep complexity of social and organizational problems.’ In the case of GetGo, the community now have money in the bank and the project is really happening. Wyndford, where the project took place, is small area that are now mobilised as a community. We designed a process not necessarily a designed solution. The result ; Green Gorillaz wasn’t really designed, it was a half baked idea which was the bi-product of design methods and skills being used to work co-creatively with a community.

My presentation actually sparked some interesting conversations about interdisciplinary work, collaboration and the reality that designers are not experts in everything. It pays to know when and how to ask for help. The question and answer session revealed that students struggle with some elements of this type of project. For example, being equipped with the skills and know how to create intangible outcomes that are implementable. This is something we are aiming to get to grips with through our venture: Making Service Sense.

Highlights for me included Daniela Sangiorgi’s talk(s) on Transformative Services and Transformation Designbuilding‘.  It looked at building capabilities inside organisations to use and understand design to produce better services.  This was an area I felt was overlooked in Berlin at the SDN10 conference and was only just touched upon by Philips.  It mimics efforts made by Engine in their Hoop model and echoes sentiments from Martin Neumier’s Designful company which I reflected on for the last 12 months with a public body in Scotland on how to really use design thinking to create better services for the people of Scotland and more informed, people centered policy.

What Daniela put forward echoed closely with some discussions from the workshop run by Anna Serevalli and Anders Emilson.  They held a workshop on Social Innovation which looked at the criticisms and plaudits by Geoff Mulgan of design in social innovation.  Some of the points our group discussed were;

  • Design(ers) should be a-political
  • We need to create designful organisations and transform thinking
  • We should look to open source community for inspiration
  • We should be pushing for delivery and implementation
  • Designers are facilitators not experts

Eva-Maria Hempe followed some of the capabilities discussion with, Health and social care services for people with complex needs: The role of contextual knowledge for the design process’ and showcased a really interesting project.  More interestingly for me, was the pyramid at the end of her slides on Design capacity versus Design obstacles which I’d like to look more into and see designers considering this.

There were other really good presentations, far too many to mention, in short, a couple more were Marc Stickdorn’s presentation on students and tourism, showcasing how quick and effective service design can be. Also, Simon Clatworthy’s talk on Touchpoint cards was to the point and got some cogs turning about how we could use the template as a basic model to create our own more personalised cards for say tourism, or methods in Service design.

Finally, to end the conference, Global Service Jam was launched by Markus Edgar and Adam St john.  It will bring together different countries from all over the world next year to develop new services in under 48 hours and then share them online.  They’ve had a fantastic response already and if you want your country to be part of it, then I suggest you get in touch with them.

And not forgetting the unconference day, organised by Design thinkers ; an impromptu, insightful and busy day of talking, doing, and drinking coffee.

I ran a workshop called #swesno, which looked at using design thinking and methods to tackle social issues caused by Snow in Sweden.  Wearing santa hats, to get us all in the mood, one group tackled loneliness and isolation with the opportuniy of untapped engergy of kids playing outside in the snow, whilst the other group looked at the issue of ambulances getting stuck in the snow.  There will be a another blog post to follow on the outcomes of the workshop. The storyboarding method and pushing people as a vehicle through a new service design worked incredibly well, and took a group of participants 3 hours. They started from scratch, developing and blueprinting new service concepts which the Swedish authorities could implement.

The day capped off with the launch of This is Service Design Thinking.  If you haven’t purchased it, do it.  It is a very comprehensive textbook which has been co-created by the design community.  I am very happy for the authors and am sure both Jakob Schneider and Marc Stickdorn are relieved to see their hard work come to fruition.

To wrap up, these conferences aren’t always just about the learning but are also about the friends you make.  It was lovely to make some new European and continental friends and catch up with old ones. It never ceases to amaze me how friendly, open and collaborative the Service Design community can be. Snook are humbled to be part of it.

Huge thanks to Fabian and the rest of the Serv Des team for making this event possible.

Here’s to next year and bigger and better snowball fights...




Embedding design interviews

Embedding design interviews

Embedding design interviews

I’ve been a bit quiet as I’m blogging away on a closed platform, I’m not allowed to share everything I’m up to, but I can cross post occasionally.

I’ve been doing a round of interviews/chats with some fantastic people and just wanted to summarise who I’ve met so far.  This is a thank you from me for all your time and knowledge!

The topics ranged from how to embed design in organisations, how project teams might work, encouraging a culture of innovation, systems thinking, meta design, and reflection on what makes up a designer, to name but a few.

Below is a selection of interviews completed so far;

Dr Anne Marie Mcewan (The Smart Work Company)

Nick Marsh (Side Kick studios)

John Wood (Goldsmiths, Meta Design)

Joel Bailey (Capita)

Ruth Kennedy (professional agitator of too many things to mention, but all great)

Ingrid Koeler (IDeA)

Tess Raine (Design Council)

Emily Campbell (RSA)

Matt Currie (Divergent)

I will be disseminating these over the coming week and pulling out useful case studies and advice for how to embed design in organisations.  And meeting some new (and old) faces next week in London.

I’m free (ish) next Monday to Wednesday if anyone is around for a drink.



Books for service designers
June 21, 2010, 10:37 am
Filed under: inspiration, interesting, service design | Tags: , , , ,
Service Design Books

Service Design Books

Jeff Howard has released a great new ‘wee’ project.  I received an email from him a while back asking for some book titles that sit on the Snook shelf which perhaps are not directly related to service design but are of interest.  There had been some lists floating around the internet in the last 12 months but Jeff’s list make’s it rather easy to navigate.

Jeff says,

“Good books on service design are few and far between. I’ve put together lists in the past and so have other designers but unless you’ve actually read the books it’s tough to see the connections sometimes. Service designers draw inspiration from across disciplines and that means that a raw list isn’t always enough of a roadmap for people to triage unfamiliar reading.”

It was a difficult question because I gather influences from a huge variety of sources but I’ve popped a couple on like Co-design, Simplicity and the Design of Business, and will probably be adding a few more titles soon.

Take a look, it’s looking like a good collection.



Coten Project

Snook are talking about service design and education as special guests this week on the Coten Project.  Andy Polaine asked myself and Lauren as both service design practitioners and myself still being a student to give our perspective on service design education.

The Coten project is a collborative online research activity exploring service design in higher education for 2010 and will see a whole range of different special guests writing essays/creating podcasts/being interviewed and discussing this topic.  The guests are then to answer a week’s worth of questions and engage in discussion with the 100 participants.

Looking forward to the questions and hopefully you enjoy the video, let us know what you think.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

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.



Exchanging Knowledge
April 6, 2010, 9:05 pm
Filed under: Public Sector Design, service design | Tags: , , , ,

The Nordic conference on Service Design and Service Innovation, Servdes, is the premier research conference within service design and service innovation.  Taking place on the st-3rd December, it looked great last year, and I hope will serve up the same this year, and even more…

Servdes has a call for papers for the conference, to be submitted by June.

“The topic for this year’s conference is ExChanging Knowledge. ServDes invites contributions from researchers and practitioners that wish to contribute to the development of a knowledge base on service design, and openly discuss challenges of the field. Changing Knowledge is about investigating the fundamentals in service design and challenging the knowledge inherited from the disciplines which service design has grown out of. Exchanging Knowledge refers both to integrating knowledge from other fields and the ongoing conversation between conference participants with their various roles; consultants, students, in-house, clients and academics. The scientific programme will be composed of papers that have been peer-reviewed in a double-blind review process.”

Reading through the topics for submission and the theme of the conference, it’s great to see a move on from discussions and discovery of the topic to starting to look at the possibilities of what directions the discipline is moving in and where it might go.  The topics are interesting and I’m looking at submitting a paper (or two) detailing some of the exciting work I’ve had the pleasure of being part of in the last 12 months.  The topics are;

– the business of service design
– politics and design of services
– user involvement
– design in health-care and public services
– service design in for-profit organizations
– theoretical foundations
– the processes of service design
– rigor and relevance of research methods
– novel design tools and techniques
– service design across cultures
– design and service-dominant logic

Work that Snook has done with the ALISS project and mypolice fit into some of the topics and make for interesting developments in the public sector for new models of service delivery.  Not to mention Skills Development Scotland dipping their toes (quite fully) in the design thinking puddle and getting to grips with service design, I hope to try and rally them together to put in a submission.



Think Public makes Co-Design Simple
March 3, 2009, 5:09 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , ,

To the point and delightful video making co-design simple by Think Public.

I actually  had a discussion yesterday with someone about co-design.  It struck me though that the term is still very loose and can be used in multiple ways.  Or perhaps it is not clear what it means.  It is not participatory design, becauseit is involving the stakeholders and other affiliated professionals other than just end users.  Is co-design about the project creators (the designers and developers) meeting with everyone all together in one place like in Panda Island?…or can co-design take place with individual meetings and the information compiled later?

I’m excited about my new project because I finally feel it is a perfect (collaboration pending) example of co-design.  I am hoping to work with my end users, the commuters, transport stakeholders, councils, cycling enthusiasts.  And I am hoping my central platform is the blog.  Watch this space.



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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RSA – 2020 challenge for public services
February 27, 2009, 5:45 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

 

I would like to attend this, unfortunately I have a review next Wednesday, unless I can reschedule it.

 

“In a major speech, Rt Hon Liam Byrne MP, will set out his thinking on the priorities for public service policy in the coming decade. Through investment and reform, substantial improvements have been made to public services over the last decade and the pace of reform, in creating new Academies, establishing Foundation Trusts and transforming welfare, is accelerating. But over the next decade new trends will change the nature of demands to which public services will have to respond. These trends are likely to include: a more diverse population, new sources of risk, the information revolution, an ageing society, and profound behavioural challenges (e.g. in relation to public health or the environment). All this at a time when the economic environment will be much tougher and public services will have to achieve even more within tighter public spending constraints. Liam will consider how, in the context of these challenges, reform in the next decade will need increasingly to transfer power from the centre to citizens, front line deliverers, and communities. He will draw on the inspiration of an earlier generation of Labour thinkers and social innovators to look at the role community based social entrepreneurship could play in achieving better public services and how the state can help enable this.”