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!

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Social Innovation Camp 2011
May 2, 2011, 3:51 pm
Filed under: event, interesting, social innovation, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , ,
Social Innovation Camp

Social Innovation Camp

Guess what?

Social Innovation Camp is coming to Scotland in June, and it’s your chance to submit ideas and take part in a fantastic weekend of people building, designing, thinking up new ideas that use the web to do something good, this year around the theme of Social Isolation. Here’s what they say;

“From 17th-19th June 2011 at Informatics Ventures in Edinburgh, we’re bringing together some of the best of the UK’s software developers and designers with those at the sharp end of social problems.

They’ll have just 48 hours to build some web-based solutions to a set of social problems – from back-of-the-envelope idea to working prototype, complete with software. But first off, we start with a call for ideas: we want to find the most exciting ideas for how the web could change stuff that really matters.”

You can find out more on the official website, and how to submit an idea.  It was two years ago when I was about to graduate I put one of those back of the napkin ideas in for entry.

MyPolice at Social Innovation Camp

MyPolice at Social Innovation Camp

It ended up winning the weekend and receiving a level 1 award from FirstPort which gave it legs and funding to introduce the concept to the policing world.  The idea was MyPolice, an online feedback tool for the public to talk to the police.  Simple but now we’ve finished our first pilot and we’re moving onto phase 2 of the build.

So if you’re thinking, ‘nah, I’ll take part next time’,  don’t! Submit an idea, even if it is a one liner, and get yourself along to the Informatics Forum to take part.  It is a fantastic event and a great, no strings attached space to be creative and build some potentially life changing software/service/product.



Travelling Pantry
October 20, 2010, 11:09 pm
Filed under: event, inspiration, social innovation | Tags: , , , , , ,

So Tessy Britton, in her marvelous Travelling Pantry car, came to Glasgow yesterday to run a workshop, an initiative from the Social Spaces project. She says,

“The workshops will be aimed at helping stimulate new and interesting local projects in line with the Social Spaces thinking of Learning, Sharing and Making.  The workshops will draw together inspiration from existing new projects and new methodologies … as well as spreading traditional positive community building know-how.”

Asset Mapping

Asset Mapping

 

It was great to be introduced to the concept of ‘asset mapping’, a positive way of looking at your community and all the great things in it, we worked in teams to map areas in Glasgow.

My team focused on Maryhill, with a great starting point, ignoring Tessy’s instructions (yes, we were the naughty group) to not start with roads, and start with assets.

Local Bus Community Hub

Local Bus Community Hub

Mapping in this three dimensional way, allowed us add in emotional factors to the map.  My favourite observations was the bus as a new local meeting point since the schools had closed down and parents took their kids to new schools, and the ‘animosity’ markers which showed communities who didn’t get along with one another.

This proved to be a fantastic way of visualising a community, and a great activity that could be done co-creatively with lots of different participants.  It could show networks, relationships, traffic flow (both car and people).  What a fantastic way to understand a community and pool local knowledge of an area together.

The Positive Soap Box by Sarah Drummond

The Positive Soap Box by Sarah Drummond

Another exercise we undertook was to think about what community was, what it was missing.  We used Lego, and If you know me, I can become far too excited about it.  Some may think it’s silly, but Lego is a fantastic way of communicating thoughts, and my favourite model was a contorted, ‘angular’ model from a participant at my table who had built it this way to display the complex, twisted relationships in a community.  The use of Lego, which is often a technique used in my work got me thinking about how everyone can participate in the design process.  Lego brings tangibility to often difficult to express concepts, (in my line of work, services).  I have practiced for years and can prototype and bring to life concepts with my hands in seconds.  It was Marty Neumeier who said in his book, The Designful Company, that as designers, we are the link between thinking and doing, our hands, are the link between thinking and doing.  We make with our hands, iteratively, and that is a very important thing to remember, a designer possesses the ability to prototype quickly, at an expert level.  But, conscious to my thoughts and feelings and recent work on being more transformative and humble in my work, it is true to say lego and other tools similar to this, like plasticine allow people to do that making part, in a much more easier way than sitting with a blank sheet of paper.  It takes us back to being a child again, you know that creative little person you used to be, before, for many of us, it was sucked out of us at a young age.

Anyway, made me think…a great day, and I wish Tessy all the best of luck on the rest of her journey and thanks for inviting Snook to be there with you.



Bethnal Green ventures
August 11, 2010, 1:52 pm
Filed under: interesting, social innovation | Tags: , , , , , , , , ,
Bethnal Green ventures

Bethnal Green ventures

Got an idea that’s sort of social innovation?  Think you can make a difference?

The folks over at social innovation camp are starting a new project called Bethnal Green ventures. They say,

Social Innovation Camp is all about taking a back-of-the-envelope idea and working out how to make it real. We’ve learnt a huge amount about what makes an idea fly or flounder as we’ve watched projects develop after Social Innovation Camp and now we want to build a new way of helping people grow an idea that one stage further: from prototype idea to social start-up.

Bethnal Green Ventures Nightschool is the first step in doing that.”

Over a year ago I took part in social innovation camp, and won it with a fantastic bunch of people and the project Mypolice. It’s been such slow going with the project and we’ve had some great highs so far with it and some incredible lows.  Something like Bethnal Green ventures could have really helped us in the stage from great idea to getting funding to launching.

So if you’re in London, give them a shout.



Sports relief research internship
May 1, 2010, 3:39 pm
Filed under: studiounbound | Tags: , , , , , ,

Unltd sport relief

This just popped into my inbox yesterday from the brilliant people at firstport/scotland unltd.  They are a funding body and we were lucky enough this year over at Mypolice HQ to get the social entrepreneurs funding from them.  They’ve got the fingers in lots of great tasting pies, and unltd sport relief is one of them.  Now they have a fantastic opportunity to get involved, and really think designers with their great research skills would be very good at this.  If you want a form, download it from here.

The UnLtd Sport Relief Research Internship UnLtd Research is conducting a youth-led research project with UnLtd Sport Relief (Make It Happen), a UK wide funding programme for 11-21 year olds who bring communities together, help promote understanding and solve problems through sport, arts and recreational activities.

This research will involve visiting a small number of projects funded by the Make It Happen Programme to find out about what problems they are addressing, how their activities are helping tackle these problems and the impact they are having. We are looking for 6 research interns (aged 18-25) from each of our UnLtd office regions; Bradford, Birmingham, London, Cardiff, Belfast and Edinburgh who can commit to 30 days work (2-4 days per week) from June 21st to September 21st 2010. These positions will be paid at £85 per day (plus any additional travel and accommodation expenses incurred) and will include attending an induction, regular training meetings and undertaking project visits to conduct research. This is an exciting opportunity to gain extensive research training and practical experience planning, designing and carrying out a research project.

No formal research skills or experience are necessary for this position. However, we do ask that you bring a number of qualities to this role, including an ability to work independently and within a small team, openness to learning new approaches and excellent inter-personal skills.  For more details/application form email nissaramsay@unltd.org.uk



Getgo wins Audi competition

Getgo Probe Tools

Well what an exciting week!

Getgoglasgow, which is the design collective of the two Masters courses at the Glasgow school of art (Design Innovation and European design) won the Audi Sustain our Nation competition and £10000 for the community we worked with.

We’ve been working with an area in Maryhill Glasgow called Wyndford to develop a sustainable social enterprise for their community.  The project has been tough, with some great highs, and almighty lows.

For the group, it was a challenging project.  This demanded a new role of the designer away from the solo author to the co-creator.  We made it really clear at the beginning of the project to work with people rather than for them.

View this document on Scribd

The winning project was Green Gorillaz, a way to bring back community spirit and the community voice, using offline and online message boards, linked up  by residents.  We created some seed groups which will house events and see knowledge transferred across generations.  It stems from the closure of their primary schools last year, and a real loss of community.  They had come together to fight the decision, so we knew there were passionate local champs.  We wanted to harness this and turn that energy into something positive.

But credit should go to everyone involved in the project, there were three projects developed from the same process. We held co-creation workshops with residents and stakeholders to generate ideas to take forward, but made sure at all points we were transparent and open about our process, returning to the community regularly to work with them again and develop proposals.

If design education should learn anything from this, is that building relationships takes time, and if projects like this are to be handed to students, proper training in community work, sustainable thinking and an understanding of ethics should be taught.  We’ve struggled with the competition and institute deadlines.  For example, after handing in the first three projects, we had to wait to see whether any had made it through to the regional finals.  At this point, we decided as a collective to carry all of them on anyway, even though none might be taken forward.

Anyway, we’re down at the RSA on the 17th February to represent a ‘developed’ concept (we’re working to make it real and it starts tomorrow with a football pitch party at 10am where we’ll be feeding back to the community), and hopefully we can win another £10000 for Wyndford.

In the words of John Gray yesterday,

“bloody good for u……bunnets in the air !……mon the weegies :-)”



The tinternet

Worth the hour watch