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Looking at ways to adapt your business to meet today’s evolving demands? Want to re-energise your employees? Or are you an individual looking to boost your career options? A service design approach could be the answer.

People from across the world come to the Service Design Academy to learn how to design services well. Organisations discover how to build capacity and resilience to solve problems and transform. Accredited education programmes help create confident design thinkers and leaders.

Here, three learners share their service design journeys . . .

A life-changing experience

Sorina Oprea from Glasgow has just started a new role as a User Experience Senior Analyst and she puts some of her success down to her service design experience.

Sorina shares her story: “Before becoming interested in service design, I studied Psychology and Political Sciences. I took part in four masterclasses at the Service Design Academy before being offered the opportunity to go for a Professional Development Award (PDA) in Service Design. The mix of onsite and online learning was appealing as I was working at the time and had family commitments. My end of PDA project was done in collaboration with UNESCO City of Design Dundee. They were looking to understand what they could do better to support the community of designers in Dundee.”

Sorina felt her PDA qualification helped expand her job opportunities. “For me, the PDA course was life-changing and I hope I can continue to use my knowledge, skills and experience to develop services and products that are focused on users’ needs and which are ethical too.”

The students produced amazing work

Melissa Anderson teaches Business Studies at Arbroath Academy. The Service Design Academy partnered with the school to help redesign its curriculum.

Melissa explains her involvement: “I was asked by the school to undertake a PDA in Service Design to start using some of its principles in the classroom. I was timetabled one period a week with all S2s to teach service design, creativity, presentation skills, problem solving and teamworking.”

This was Melissa’s first time teaching without a specific course outline so she admits she felt a little out of her comfort zone. 

“The class was fantastic for both the students and me. We looked at service design principles, practised using service design tools and worked on a community project for a local supermarket. We even managed to keep the creativity going during home learning and the students produced some amazing work.”

The school hopes to run this course for S2s again next year as well as piloting a Creative Thinking qualification aimed at S5/6s.

Service design just makes sense

Tatiana Zorina, Period Poverty Project Officer at Dundee and Angus College feels her service design experience has helped her in her current role.

Tatiana recounts her journey: “When our staff development department gave me the chance to complete the PDA in Service Design, I didn’t think twice. Service design really resonates with me – it just makes sense!”

Tatiana learned how to co-design the Period Positive project with staff, students and external stakeholders.

“As a result, it has been a great success with huge engagement,” says Tatiana. “I believe it’s all down to the project being designed for people by people – those who use the service in one way or another. I learned lots of practical tools and methods which I can use in so many work and life situations.”

For more information on the Service Design Academy visit: www.sda.ac.uk/contact/

Renate Kriegler Edwards, Carr Gomm Futures Manager shares her story on how service design brought remote support practitioners together to discover and develop new ways of working.

Attending the Gathering in February 2020 as a speaker, I met Service Design Academy (SDA) at their busy stand. SDA were offering charities the chance to win service design training worth £5,000. Charities were invited to share their problems and the potential impact if they were not addressed. I thought this would be a marvellous opportunity to share the concept and process of service design with my colleagues at Carr Gomm. Service Design places people at the heart of change, using creativity to solve problems. I wasn’t sure my problem statement was what SDA had in mind, but I had my fingers crossed when I handed my entry in.

Carr Gomm is committed to listening to staff, learning from each other to maintain our leading edge in social care. Our Futures programme actively promotes innovation and creativity in the workforce.

As a Carr Gomm national service, Futures is based centrally in Edinburgh. I was concerned that Futures wasn’t reaching and engaging our more remote and isolated frontline workers. Many of our workers spend their days driving between appointments, hardly ever seeing their colleagues. It was so frustrating that we struggled to reach the very people whose voices we needed to hear!

I was thrilled when I got the call that we would be collaborating with the Service Design Academy. Although Covid-19 struck only weeks later, we continued to plan our sessions as the SDA repurposed all their live learning online.

There was a bit of trepidation and curiosity when I shared that we would be working with SDA.  The biggest challenge was to arrange for support practitioners in small services to be relieved from their rotas to join in these discussions that were all about them. But regional and local managers were supportive, and several support practitioners were up for the adventure.

The workshops were facilitated energetically and creatively by the SDA team. They used the digital tool Miro, an online whiteboard space to learn and to express ideas with each other. It gives everyone an equal voice.  All insights can be recorded and re-explored after the session.

The workshop programme was co-designed with a small group representing Carr Gomm’s national service to agree initial problem statements and logistics. A Joining Journey was created for participants to practice with Miro so we could all feel comfortable using it during the workshops.

The main sessions were amazing! I knew many of the issues for frontline workers, but it was so incredibly important to sit down together and learn to listen properly to their lived experience.

The group was introduced to the key principles of design, including the importance of working in the problem space rather than jumping straight to solutions. “Don’t Make Assumptions” is a mantra.

Double diamond diagram on yellow background

Using a variety of tools to capture knowledge, people reviewed themes and formed smaller workgroups. We then moved to understand our problem more deeply by undertaking user research. We learned techniques on questioning and how to listen well. The groups practised their interviewing skills and gathered more data outside the classroom, with “cheerful chats” back at work with colleagues.

This interview data was collated and then we were guided by the consultants on how to generate ideas towards co-designing prototypes.

SDA have a positive approach which empowered the group. They helped us frame problems by encouraging us to think “how might we ……….?”

The impact of using service design has been immediate and will help us going forward. I will use the toolkit again and again for idea generation and implementing actions.

I always knew that Futures was a service to Carr Gomm, but this has helped me to articulate that we are there to design better ways of working with, not just for each other. 

Next steps

·      Five prototypes are now ready to trial, including open door sessions, to help demystify Futures, promoting our “no staff idea is too big, too small or too unformed” message.

·        The experience led to a reflection on how innovation may help shape and deliver Carr Gomm’s next three-year strategic plan.

·        We’re encouraging teams to regroup around their prototypes. Staff are encouraged to submit proposals that will be considered by the appropriate team – even at exec level.

·        Reflecting in my own group on how Futures may bring more fun to the workplace, I was led back to an existing Futures idea – to implement Joy in Work. My frontline colleague Claire and I are now proposing a campaign where we invite staff to nominate “Joyworkers” – colleagues who do little things to make the work-day easier or more enjoyable for others.

·        We hope to create a more deliberate process of gathering evidence from Futures projects, which will help close the funding loop.

·        Our learning will also support Carr Gomm’s ambitious digital inclusion strategy.

More than anything else, the workshops have led to improved communication, insight, reflection, empathy and collaboration between the central teams and local services.

As someone driving innovation, I feel invigorated and inspired. The participants enjoyed being creative, having pride in what they achieved and learned. Particularly so for support practitioners, this was a profoundly different experience. Our collaboration with Service Design Academy is something to build on for sure. I’d recommend this approach to any charity looking to find better ways of working.

About Carr Gomm

Carr Gomm is a leading Scottish social care and community development charity. Established in 1997, it became an independent charity in 2002.

Carr Gomm supports about 2,000 people across Scotland to live their lives safely and well according to their choices, whilst making plans to achieve their hopes and dreams for tomorrow. Our support is person-centred and strongly reflects our values of choice, control, respect, interdependence, and openness and honesty, ensuring that people can lead full and positive lives as active citizens. A core part of our work is fundraising, to fill the gaps in society and provide support where no one else is – specifically focusing on tackling issues of loneliness and isolation.

For further information and images, or to discuss interview opportunities with Carr Gomm, please contact: eilidhmacleod@carrgomm.org

About Service Design Academy

Service Design puts people first, using creativity to solve problems, challenge thinking and make lives better. It creates an environment where people thrive, and innovation happens. It builds resilience and supports new ways of working.

SDA was launched in November 2017 at Dundee and Angus College and is a not-for-profit company committed to creating positive impact through interactive, practice-based learning. We have considerable expertise working on transformational change programmes across the private, public and third sectors.

SDA’s training and education programme ranges from a half-day introduction to service design mindset to the Professional Development Award in Service Design – the first and only Scottish Qualification Authority accredited course in Service Design at this level (SCQF 7) in the UK.

Our courses and customised programmes aim to foster design leadership, build service design capacity and create a community of practitioners. In 3 years, SDA has delivered over 350 workshops to over 5,000 people from 400 organisations.

SDA shapes programmes to address strategic objectives, while developing skills to meet the growing need to transform effectively. We work with delegates who come from organisations across the UK including local authorities, NHS, professional and financial services, national and community based charities.

We are proud to have been the first organisation in the world to be awarded full accreditation in 2020 from the Service Design Network, the global body that leads and drives service design thinking and education.

 

To find out more about Service Design Academy please contact Maralyn Boyle m.boyle@dundeeandangus.ac.uk

Photography © Mhairi Edwards

Dundee is the UK’s first and only UNESCO City of Design.  The global designation as a Creative City acknowledges Dundee’s rich design heritage, it’s thriving contemporary design sector and a city committed to using design to solve problems and make Dundee a better place to live.

Dundee has a strong tradition of embracing the power of design and designers hold an essential place in the life of the city. The programmes run by the UNESCO City of Design Team celebrate and demonstrate the impact of design, embrace co-design, promote talent, engage designers in decision making and collaborate with other Cities of Design.

As a longstanding learning partner of UNESCO City of Design, the Service Design Academy has the mission to teach service design at a world class standard by facilitating creativity and collaboration accessible to everyone.

Funding was made available for several projects in Dundee under the Spaces for People programme that aims to create redesigned streets with more room for physical distancing, walking, and spending time in. The Spaces for People programme is funded by the Scottish Government and managed by Sustrans Scotland.

By providing this additional funding, Spaces for People has allowed local authorities, transport partnerships and NHS Trusts to implement measures focused on protecting public health, supporting physical distancing, and reducing transmission rates.

UNESCO City of Design wanted to ensure that voices were heard across the specific communities benefitting from the Spaces for People programme and knew that the Service Design Academy’s experience in participative community engagement would help them take the best approach.

The Service Design Academy facilitated a series of online workshops and discussions with Dundee’s UNESCO City of Design team and community representatives to identify and co-design community led ideas to meet these measures while meeting the needs and wants of citizens.

In workshops held for the Stobswell area, two streets were identified as places which could become spaces focused around people. Priorities raised by the community workshops which have been incorporated into the proposals include:

+ Using plants to screen areas from traffic noise

+ Providing an opportunity to enhance biodiversity in Stobswell

+ A desire to see more colour and vibrancy in the areas around Albert Street

+ More greenery and opportunities for planting/growing

+ Better quality outdoor spaces for people without access to gardens

+ Maintaining access for emergency vehicles

The UNESCO team took on board the communities’ priorities and suggestions and these images show the resulting design.

It is intended that these new spaces will be completed by the end of May 2021, the revamped streets are initially temporary and designed as a trial. Over the summer the Stobswell Forum, Sustrans and Dundee City Council will gather feedback to inform future decisions.

Eliza Street

THE DESIGN

These images give a feel of the pocket parks layout and the way that seating and planters will be clustered. The materials are concrete and Siberian larch which will be left natural and silver over time. Gaps in the wood will provide natural drainage and the design limits areas for litter to accumulate.

Dundee designer Louise Kirby has worked to incorporate patterns seen around Stobswell into the design for the art work. Shapes from iron railings around Baxter Park, the roof of Morgan Academy and the zig-zag from the sculpture at the bottom of Albert Street.

 

The planting scheme has been chosen to sup- port biodiversity as well as to respond well to the shady site and need for minimal maintenance.

There will be no vehicle entry to this section of Eliza Street, parking spaces will be removed.

The addition of dropped kerbs is also being addressed to improve access in and out of the park area.

This plan drawing shows the proposed positioning of the artwork and the various planters and seating areas for Eliza Street.

The layout has been specifically designed to allow access for all emergency vehicles including the largest type of fire appliance.

 

It has also been designed to support physical distancing with the space between planters and seating at 2 metres.

As part of the next stage, we will mark up the positioning of the planters on the street. This will allow residents to see the exact positioning.

Craigie Street

THE DESIGN

These images give a feel of the pocket parks layout and the way that seating and planters will be clustered. The materials are concrete and Siberian larch which will be left natural and silver over time. Gaps in the wood will provide natural drainage and the design limits areas for litter to accumulate.

Dundee designer Louise Kirby has been inspired by the circle brick work design on the gable end at Craigie Street. The circles on the street are positioned to remind people of the 2 metre physical distancing.

The planting scheme has been chosen to support biodiversity as well as to respond well to the shady site and need for minimal maintenance.

 

There will be no vehicle entry to this section of Craigie Street. Parking bays will be removed and the road will be closed beyond the entry to the car park.

The addition of dropped kerbs is also being addressed to improve access in and out of the park area.

This plan drawing shows the proposed positioning of the artwork and the various planters and seating areas for Eliza Street.

The layout has been specifically designed to allow access for all emergency vehicles including the largest type of fire appliance.

 

It has also been designed to support physical distancing with the space between planters and seating at 2 metres.

As part of our next stage, we will mark up the positioning of the planters on the street. This will allow residents to see the exact positioning.

Lead Consultant Katie Murrie shares her enthusiasm for Service Design Academy’s role in Spaces for People: “The team of consultants can’t wait to see the areas when they are finished and to hear the feedback from the community, we truly hope it will have the same positive impact as another project we worked on with the UNESCO Team in summer 2020, the pedestrianisation of Dundee’s Union Street which has been revamped after a successful pilot saw it closed to vehicles.”

 

From this pilot project in the summer 2020,  Dundee City Council has had very positive feedback with the changes made to Union Street proving popular with locals and traders, As lockdown eases in late April 2021 and shops and hospitality opens, the street designs by Callum Laird have had a fresh coat of paint, some minor repairs and new planting for the spring and summer months.

 

Mark Flynn, convener of Dundee City Council’s city development committee, said: “All the indications are that the changes made to Union Street are welcome and despite some initial scepticism, businesses and customers like what has been done. So much so that the temporary street art, signage and annual planting will be brightened up for what we hope will be a bumper spring and summer where locals and visitors have more time and space to use the shops, pubs, restaurants and cafes.”

 

Katie from Service Design Academy adds, “The Service Design Academy feels privileged to partner with UNESCO to take a participative approach in our facilitation of Spaces for People. We’ve been thrilled with the level of engagement in the workshops from local people, and hearing their voices has ensured that they are actively participating in the future of their communities”.