Monday, 6 December 2010

TEDx: Design for Health

In October this year, I attended and spoke at TEDx Design for Health conference in Montreal. The talks were broad in scope, discussing how design and designers have been making contributions in areas of health research, products, environments, services and care.

I was invited to TEDx to speak about thinkpublic's project, Alzheimer100 which formed part of Dott 07 and has also had a lasting legacy which thinkpublic Founder, Deborah Szebeko and I wrote about in our 2009 paper, Co-designing for dementia: The Alzheimer100 project.

The conference organisers asked if I could speak about the project, its approach of co-designing the future of dementia care and the impact the project has had on national UK policy. One of the key ideas to emerge from Alzheimer100 was outlined as a recommendation in the UK government's National Dementia Strategy (2009).

To give a bit of background to the event, TED is a series of talks by inspiring people who have 'ideas worth spreading' (as per TED's strapline). All the talks are accessible on the TED website and TED presents people such as Bono, Richard Branson, Bill Clinton, Steve Jobs, Malcolm Gladwell, Alain de Botton and the list goes on. One of my favourite talks is by Sir Ken Robinson on how school's kill creativity and I have been to the TED website countless times when I've looked to be inspired.

TEDx uses the same concept and principles of TED, only the TED brand is licensed out to organisations and institutions who can independently organise their own events. Having been a fan of TED, TEDx Montreal made me quite nervous. I was also battling jet lag (having arrived the night before the conference) and was one of the last talks of the day. But in short, the presentation, with help from thinkpublic, went well.

As mentioned, I spoke about thinkpublic's Alzheimer100 project. The project occurred in 2007 under the Dott 07 programme. thinkpublic used the approach of co-design to create ideas for what the future of dementia care could look like. A key part of the process was to create these ideas with people most affected by the disease ie. people with dementia and their carers (both formal and informal). The project resulted in a suite of innovative ideas, with a key idea being a signposting service to help people access local dementia support and services.

Presenting the Signposting Service idea at the Dott 07 Festival, 2007

It was this Signposting Service idea that inspired national UK policy recommendations to improve the quality of life for people with dementia and their carers. My talk covered both the co-design process led by thinkpublic, and the legacy of the project which saw the signposting service, since renamed Dementia Advisors, be implemented in a number of sites across the UK in 2010 (at this moment in time, the Dementia Advisors service is now being evaluated by the UK Government). thinkpublic also kindly provided this 3-minute film to bring life to my talk and provide an neat overview of the project.

A100 (3 minute) from thinkpublic on Vimeo.

I always think how timely the Alzheimer100 project in 2007 was. Dementia is set to be one of the biggest social challenges of our time and a week before I left for Montreal, the World Alzheimer's Report was launched calling for all nations to make dementia a top priority. The report outlined key issues such as estimating that worldwide, the costs of dementia could top US$604 billion in 2010 and that currently, there are 35.6 million people living with dementia. The costs and number of people living with dementia are so phenomenal that there is no doubt we'll be hearing a lot more of this issue in the coming years. It'll be interesting to see where else designers can create a positive impact in helping address the challenges of dementia.

After the conference I had a lovely few days to explore Montreal. It's quite a European city, with strong French influences and very friendly people. The Latin Quarter, where I stayed and where TEDx was held, was very creative and dotted with wonderful eating places and shops. During my time in Montreal, I made the trip up to Mont Royal, with its expansive views over the city, and also went downtown, which was like a typical city of high rise buildings, shopping, museums and lots of tourists. It was a great time to be in the city as the leaves were turning colour for Autumn. As a final part of this post, here are some travel snaps.

The Hotel de I'Institut in the Latin Quarter where I stayed

The view from my room, looking toward Mont Royal and the Autumn coloured city

On the streets of the Latin Quarter (just up the road from the hotel)

On the streets of the Latin Quarter (just up the road from the hotel)

Downtown Montreal

The Plateau, which is heading uptown and toward Mont Royal

A view from Mont Royal

The Twin 6' Hearts sculpture by by Jim Dine (1999) outside the Montreal Museum of Fine Art (which had free entry to the permanent exhibition)

Chocolate fondue at Juliette et Chocolat

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

London Service Design Christmas Drinks

Since 2008, London has been host to the service design community almost every month with Service Design Drinks nights at various locations around the city.

What started off a small gathering of service designers a few years ago has grown to monthly drinks nights, a handful of Service Design Thinks events, having its own website and now 14 (and growing) international cities in different countries all over the world doing the same thing.

On 3 December 2010 we'll be celebrating a special London Service Design Christmas Drinks.

It will be my last in London, as I head back to Australia to live in December this year. So if you're free this Friday and interested in service design and having a drink with the community please join us at the Slaughtered Lamb, Clerkenwell to say 'hello' and also 'goodbye' (until I'm back to visit London in the future).

The Slaughtered Lamb has been one of our favourite locations for drinks. It can get pretty busy on Fridays so if you're coming along, it'd be great if you could wear something red so we can spot you in the crowd.

While I am sad to leave the London service design community, I look forward to connecting with the Sydney service design community, who were actually the first city to sign onto There's no doubt there's lots to discover, exchange and share back in my home city.

On the note of leaving London, this blog will still continue until I come to the end of my PhD. I have a few other plans in the works, so watch this space for updates. Till then, hope to see you at Service Design Drinks!

Friday, 19 November 2010

The different roles of the designer and their value

The annual bbetween journal was published by Billy Blue College of Design and 2nd Road (both in Australia) in August this year. The topic was 'the value of design (thinking)' and there were many great contributors (check out the list here).

This year's bbetween journal cover

I submitted a paper about three (of the seven) roles of the designer I have been exploring in my PhD research. These roles were the designer as strategist, researcher and facilitator. The Dott 07 projects of Urban Farming, Design and Sexual Health (DaSH) and OurNewSchool were used to illustrate these roles of the designer and their value. If you'd like a read, download the bbetween paper here. Otherwise the key points were that:
  • The designer as researcher: Uses design research for inspiration, not only information, to inspire new ideas and opportunities;

  • The designer as strategist: Connects organisations to the real-life experiences of people to inform and influence strategic decision-making; and

  • The designer as facilitator: Adds tools to the facilitator’s toolbox to engage stakeholders and inspire their creativity to understand challenges and create innovative responses to them.
Having almost completed my PhD, I have seen that when we take a detailed look at the roles of the designer and compare and contrast these to roles in other professions, it becomes clearer where designers add value and have synergy to work collaboratively with other disciplines to tackle society’s most challenging issues.

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Co-designing for Society (journal paper)

This year the Australasian Medical Journal (AMJ) ran another special Design + Health edition to explore ideas in designing for health. Deborah Szebeko, founder of social design agency thinkpublic and I followed up our previous year's Co-designing for Dementia: The Alzheimer100 Project (2009) paper with this new one called, Co-designing for Society (2010).

In this paper, we elaborate more on co-design, its approach, tools, processes and practices using several of thinkpublic's projects. At the end of the paper we also touch on what next for co-design, especially in line with the political climate here in the UK where the Coalition advocates Building Big Society which sees “a society where the leading force for progress is social responsibility, not state control.”

The Design Council have also been actively exploring co-design and organising discussions among the design community to understand the practice better. Check out their published summary here.

Monday, 25 October 2010

'Personal projects'

It's been a long time since I have posted here, and I make no excuses except to say that finishing a PhD is the hardest and longest process ever! But more on that later...

Today, I felt compelled to post something after a Skype chat this morning with my friend Natalie's MA Design class. This post is not just for designers, but everyone, who seeks a space for themselves that is totally their own. It's not a physical space, but a mental one. This space lets you explore your own ideas, passion and interests. It's what Ji Lee (a Creative Director a Google) calls 'personal projects.'

I first encountered Ji and Ji's personal projects in 2008 at the Graphic Design Festival Breda in the Netherlands (an earlier blog post and some photos can be found here). I was struck by Ji's Bubble Project. And on many levels. The Bubble Project is about giving a voice to the public in the one-way communication culture of advertising and media that surrounds us. Empty white speech bubbles on ads invite the public to fill in their own commentary.

I love the idea for inspiring the creativity of people, of giving them a voice, and also for the fun it evokes (check out some bubbles here on Flickr). A lot of it was reminiscent of the Dott 07 projects and there was no doubt that Ji and his project would be appearing somewhere in my PhD thesis.

But there was another level of Ji's project that interested me. That was the idea of doing 'personal projects.' Those projects where you give yourself the space, time and permission to explore and pursue your passionate interests that exist outside of work. I can already hear questions such as, 'But what if I don't have the time?' so I'm going to leave you for 8 minutes with Ji, and let him tell you a bit about the Bubble Project and explain what he's learnt about doing personal projects, including some thoughts about the concept of time. I hope it helps inspire the creation of your own space to pursue and explore passionate interests, just like Ji did.

Ji Lee: The Transformative Power of Personal Projects from 99% on Vimeo.

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Service Design Drinks, 30 April 2010

I've lost count of how many Service Design Drinks nights we've had here in London, and I'm also losing count of how many cities are joining the international network at! Awesome.

Last month, Service Design Drinks London happened on Friday 30 April on the top floor of the Old Crown.

This was a new venue for us and we had a private room, bar and DJ (thanks Jaimes!). The venue was a great size for the 60-something people who came along on the night (I did a head count based on the number of white name tags gave out that night).

I should also mention that in the room we had present city coordinators from four other international cities. These were Martin and Daniela, who host Berlin and Cologne (Germany); Re who hosts Dublin (Ireland); and Bas and Geke who host Amsterdam (Netherlands).

Top floor at the Old Crown (image from the Old Crown website)

Top floor at the Old Crown at Service Design Drinks London

You can probably just make out in the photo above, a projector screen in the background. In the week leading up Drinks, we put a call out for visuals of service design projects which would run as a slide show throughout the night. At such short notice, we received some really awesome visuals. Here's a taster below...

PhD researcher Dan Lockton (UK) sent us some of his work and research on Design with Intent: Using design to influence behaviour. If you are interested in exploring how design can shape human behaviour, Dan's website is definitely worth a visit.

The Design with Intent toolkit 1.0 by Dan Lockton

Interaction Designer, Roberta Tassi (Italy) sent us some visuals from the Service Design Tools website which she developed out of her university research in 2008. The visual map below shows and catergorises all the service design tools that feature on the website.

Roberta Tassi's Service Design Tools map

We also received service design work from as far abroad as Australia. Alex Cheek of 2nd Road (Australia) where I worked long ago, sent us 2nd Road's work on an Experience Portfolio which was done for a large service organisation. The Experience Portfolio is a loose-bound set of cards that shows photos, stories, needs and design principles that were used in the re-design of the organsiation's services.

Experience Portfolio by 2nd Road

Finally, thinkpublic (UK) sent us some visuals from two of their projects, one being You Can Kingston. This project looked at improving health services and activities of local communities in Kingston. Visit the website to find out more, or see the DesignWeek article 'Think Public battles health inequalities through design’ which profiled the project last year.

You Can Kingston project by thinkpublic

The slide show provided a colourful backdrop to the night. We also had a Twitter feed running at one point. After hours of drinking and talking about service designing, Service Design Drinks London came to a close for another month. It was a fantastic night and we're in planning mode for the next Drinks and Thinks in London, so keep an eye out at and/or join the mailing list here.

Hope that's enough of an insight for those who couldn't make it to the latest Service Design Drinks in London. For the contributors of our slideshow, it was fantastic you could have a presence on the night (especially those abroad). A big thank you to Dan, Roberta, Alex and Paul (of thinkpublic) and best wishes for forthcoming events in Berlin, Cologne, Dublin and Amsterdam!

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Service Design Thinks 3: Service Design from Scratch

I know I am really, really late on this, but below are some notes and photos from Service Design Thinks 3 here in London on 30 March 2010. We had an awesome turnout at the Sense Loft with drinks sponsored by radarstation.

On the night, we discussed the theme, 'Service Design from Scratch.'

And our awesome speakers on the night, were as follows:

Dr James Munro and Paul Hodgkin of Patient Opinion, a not-for-profit social enterprise that lets people share healthcare stories and experiences to help improve the UK's NHS (National Health Service).

Zaeem Maqsood of First Capital a venture capital investment company who told us what it took to invest in a good idea.

Sophia Parker (The Resolution Foundation) and Katie Harris (Esro) who spoke about their experiences of starting up The Social Innovation Lab for Kent with Engine Service Design and Kent County Council.

Jaimes Nel (Live|work and fellow coordinator of Service Design Drinks and Thinks) who did a short presentation on my local take-away coffee shop, Grace St Pauls (who also just launched a new website this month) which has been delivering amazing customer service since it opened its doors in late 2008.

Nick Marsh (of EMC Conchango and fellow coordinator of Service Design Drinks and Thinks) hosted the night and also published his reflections and films (taken by Jaimes) of the presentations on his blog here.

Yesterday, while sifting through some papers, I finally found my notes from the night! Had lost them for awhile. If you are interested in knowing more about the themes I captured on the night, let me know and I can do another post shortly.

Otherwise, Nick has outlined reflections from the panel discussion that happened at the end of all the presentations. He blogged these to be:
  • The role of planning - a lot of service design practice is about planning, but when you are starting up, most people talk about the need to be agile and change plans quickly.
  • Sector specific knowledge - service design is generally sector agnostic, and deliberately 'naive' - 'we just focus on the customer', and yet successful startup services tend to rely on having experienced, knowledgeable individuals who really understand say, health care, or coffee.
  • Personal risk - service designers working in agencies don't have any 'skin in the game', yet taking a personal risk seems to be an important part of making a start up successful.
  • It doesn't stop - service designers, like all designers, like designing things - documentation, specifications, deliverables etc. But when you are running a new service business it just doesn't stop! There is no deliverable or design really, just the effective operation and growth of the organisation. (from Choosenick, 11 April 2010)
We're in planning mode for the next Service Design Thinks London, so watch this space! But if you have any feedback on the night (good, bad, how it could be better etc.) feel free to leave it below or email us at

Thursday, 1 April 2010

Dott Cornwall think tank 'Inspired'

Last week Dott Cornwall and University College Falmouth hosted 'Inspired' a think tank to look at design in our times and discuss emerging design practice.

Present were designers, leading design thinkers, researchers, students and academics. We convened at the Bedruthan Steps Hotel sectioned across the hillside overlooking Mawgan Porth Beach. The views were amazing. Here's a taster.

Day 1
On Day 1 we heard presentations from two leading design thinkers, Nabeel Hamdi, Emeritus Professor of Housing and Urban Development at Oxford Brookes University.

And Ezio Manzini, Professor of Design at the Politechnico di Milano.

Both shared a broader and more international context for "Dott-like" (as Ezio called it) design. Following their presentations was a soapbox session. Each delegate got 3 minutes (and yes, it was timed with an hourglass) to say something about design that was on their mind. As you can see from the picture below, John Thackara was up first.

After a well-earned lunch we split into two groups to discuss either design practice or design education and research. I joined the latter and have to say it was a very interesting session. That's a brief overview of what happened on Day 1. Below are some soundbites I gathered from the various sessions.

The opening keynotes
  • Dott recognises that it is top-down and bottom-up. It is top-down in responding to EU policy and bottom-up in responding to the local people and their issues;
  • Nabeel began his presentation by saying that many students come to him to ask, "we like design but how do we make ourselves relevant?" Great question and certainly a very important one for design in our changing world today;

  • Nabeel had a lovely sentiment to express how design could be more strategic. He said rather then just design a house, designers should think about what a house can do;
  • I also liked Nabeel's comment that design (and designers) "disturb" situations. The slightly pessimistic notion of "disturb" reminds us that design and designers can disturb in positive and also negative ways;
  • On the plane from London to Cornwall, Ezio asked us from an English language perspective how we understood the word "territorial." He uses the word in the Italian sense, to frame the nature of Dott-like projects. "Territorial" in Italian recognises the complexity of the physical, cultural, social etc. coming together. But in English we tend to think of "territorial" as being possessive and it generally has quite negative connotations. The interpretations from different languages is really fascinating. I remember buying a notebook in Italy with 'disegno' printed on the front. In Italian this mean 'to draw" a core tool for a designer. Since purchasing the notebook I often wonder what key insights language can reveal to help us uncover more about design (of course language is well discussed in design literature such as in Boland and Collopy's book, Managing as Designing);
  • Ezio talked about Dott was as a "framework". That is Dott as a vision, as a way to connect people and host projects. Ezio showed some "Dott-like" projects from his network DESIS to frame an international context to Dott.
The soapbox session
Here are some themes I picked up:
  • Design education needs to change: Especially as practices of design change. But it is education ready to? It needs to be more inter-disciplinary, but how do we 'walk the talk' in these unmovable institutions? In education let's also consider children today who are going through an education system deficient of creativity (Ken Robinson's TED talk argued for more creativity in education. Check it out here);
  • What's missing from design practice at the moment? Mary Cook of Uscreates brought up ethics. How designers go about engaging with the public and dealing with situations appropriately? Let's also be more aware of the costs of designing, and the sustainability of projects. The financial, resource and time costs are high if a project ends and does not continue;
  • Let’s not lose the link of design to economy: This tends to get lost when we look at design for social issues. It is challenging to build sustainable design businesses to do work only in this area (though I know many who have done so) and also challenging to measure and evaluate design's return on investment (ROI). That is ROI in its classical sense that business and organisations understand;
  • Design’s contributions to social issues: include that of being able to engage people in issues and in policy. Furthermore, designers can bring better usability, sustainability and desirability to public services. Designers can integrate these aspects into the sector's concern for cost, scale and time;
  • What are the roles of others that participate in design projects: such as the clients and project stakeholders? We take them on a journey which can often be challenging because it can be a different approach to what they are used to.
The academic and research breakout session
I feel like I need to write a bit more than soundbites for this one. It was a great session and many valuable things emerged for design education. Ezio early in the discussions said that to be interdisciplinary we need discipline and design is a weak discipline. Jeremy Myerson added that when design polytechnics gained university status they let go of practice but then forgot the theory.

We spoke about how we needed to understand the core of design. Ezio framed it well by saying that design thinking is broad and we agreed that it can be done by many others who aren’t trained as designers. But there is also design knowledge which is the core of the discipline ie. the USP of the designer, the toolkit the designer brings to the table etc.

Lucy Kimbell mentioned that other discipline don’t recognise a design paradigm. This made me think back to the design + businesses debates where designers lamented that they often didn't have a seat at the management table (See 'Are design schools the new B-schools?' at InterSections 07). That comment really frustrates me because we identify with the fact that we are a weak discipline with no recognizable paradigm for how we can be relevant to other disciplines. We also makes little attempt to learn the language of the other disciplines, and this not only divides us from within, but means we have difficulty talking to other disciplines. The challenge of language is not specific to design. Long ago playwright George Bernard Shaw claimed, "England and America are two countries divided by a common language."

When we understand the core of the discipline, designers might be better placed to respond to what Nabeel called “thematic organization” of the world’s "wicked problems" (Rittel and Webber, 1973). Wicked problems require an interdisciplinary approach, and interdisciplinary contributions due to their complexities. Nabeel described thematic organization as a way of framing problems around issues that become everyone’s problem. One could say that Dott 07 was thematically organised in emphasising five issues of health, energy, education, food and mobility. We have all been touched by these issues in some way, so they are our problem. Ivo of thinkpublic once said to me that by "allowing people to identify the problems [they] become part of the solution."

To sum up the point Nabeel and Ezio were making was that if we knew the core of design better, we'd be more likely to step up to bigger challenges as we'd understand what a designer's role could be ie. what a designer could bring the table.

The last part of the session, Jeremy asked what would our research agenda should look like. Some of the delegates mentioned that designers don’t do enough reflective practice or critical thinking. The divide between academia and industry also came up. I shared my experiences of doing this PhD to say that the role of academia and research could be to collaborate with designers to do more of what we all are not doing. A dynamic relationship between academia and practice, on a very practical level, could become a mutual learning experience and contribute to the discipline.

Day 2
On day 2 the delegate group was far bigger and Geoff Smith of UCF remarked that Dott Cornwall was “internationally distinctive and locally relevant.” It linked very much to Ezio’s presentation which showed us “Dott-like” projects happening around the world.

The highlight for me on Day 2 was a presentation by Mat Hunter, Chief Design Officer at the Design Council. Mat spoke about the narrative of emerging practice where the design ethos had moved from designer-centred to user-centred design to co-design to co-production. In short designers went from designing the next generation toaster or poster, but now designing the "next generation healthcare service journey system". The middle part of Mat’s presentation was framed by the notion that “the act of selling design alters it.” And he touched upon a key issue in my own PhD research which was about the articulation of design activity as process model. It’s great to simplify design activity for communication purposes with a client, it but it risks “corrupting” our understanding of design. A lot of what is done in designing Mat says, "is inexplicable" so we need to “watch how we talk about design.” Other interesting points Mat brought up were, where was the craft in all this? And we need designers to lead with a point of view, not just a portfolio and process.

After lunch, three parallel breakout sessions occurred. These were led by two designers and were around service design; community-inspired design; and collaborative design. I attended community-inspired design led by Mary Rose Cook co-founder of Uscreates and Justin Marshall a researcher at UCF. Mary spoke about design-led methods/tools for engaging people on two levels. First was the need to get them into the room (or sometimes go to them). And the second was the need to have people talk to us.

In the final part of the session, Justin spoke about an academic-led project called Bespoke. It aims to increase social inclusion through community journalism in an area called Preston. The project is still underway but many, many issues are arising ranging from ethics, to behaviour change, to policy, to the naming of the project etc.

Reflecting on my time at the think tank, I think it was very much about gathering floating sentiments and commentary as to what appears to be happening in design today. I spoke to a designer shortly after the think tank and he told me he thought design practice had already changed. I know many others believe that design is constantly changing (eg. John Heskett, 2003). But where pushing the boundaries of practice is concerned we'll not always be sure of what comes next. And that's what's absolutely fascinating about having the opportunity to look at Dott and the design community as it applies design in new and different situations. I thought Emily Thomas of Aequitas Consulting summed up quite nicely how we should recognise design in the future where she said, “some of it is a little about the faith, because it’s about the future.”

Thursday, 25 February 2010

Visiting Dott Cornwall

Around the charming towns of Cornwall, either by the windy seas or undulating hills, a whole lot of design is taking place. And in a different sense to what much of Cornwall would have known before.

Cornwall is a county on the SE tip of England. Well-known for its dynamic creative industries, and also historically for its tin mining, Cornwall went through being one of the most prosperous areas of the UK to becoming one of the most deprived when mining could not keep up with its foreign competition, and industry shut down altogether. Today, Cornwall's economy is mostly sustained by tourism. Usually associated with beautiful imagery of the seaside, beach and quaint little towns (not to mention cream teas, Cornish pasties and celebrity-chef eateries such as Rick Stein restaurants and pub, and Jaime Oliver’s fifteen ) Cornwall's geography is one of the most beautiful and attractive in England. The other industry which thrives in Cornwall is the creative industry, and during my short 2-day stay in Cornwall this week, I already met an interior designer, graphic designer and lighting designer, all who have their own businesses. And most of them, often defined by their design degree (a focal point of the county's creativity is the University College Falmouth (UCF) which runs design degrees) now work across all design disciplines. For example the interior designer I met told me he also designed furniture and did graphic design. The design disciplines are certainly blurring, and also evolving.

Last year, design in Cornwall ramped up several notches with the launch of Dott Cornwall. A programme of work, run in partnership with University College Falmouth and Cornwall County Council, which will showcase ten visionary design projects, showing the potential of a design approach in regeneration and services to make a positive difference to the lives of people, communities and organisations in Cornwall. Dott Cornwall is the second Dott initiative spearheaded by the Design Council. The first having taken place in 2007 in the NE of England called, Dott 07.

I made a trip down to Cornwall this week to visit Dott Cornwall, UCF and also attend Open Dott, an event which invited the public, the partners, project stakeholders and designers to experience and share the progress of the live Dott Cornwall design projects.

Image from Dott Cornwall website

Held in the Royal Cornwall Museum on Tuesday night, Andrea Siodmok, Programme Director of Dott Cornwall and John Thackara, former Programme Director of Dott 07, author and founder of Doors of Perception, opened and hosted the night. The new Dott Cornwall website was also launched on the night, a great resource to keep-up-to-date with all Dott Cornwall happenings.

Screen capture of Dott Cornwall's website

Five presentations from the Dott projects were the feature of the night. These projects updated their progress. Most have only just completed their research phases, gathering insights from local people to inspire new ideas:

Move Me by live|work
This project looks at how a design approach might help shape behaviour toward more sustainable mobility. Cornwall is a region made up of quite small towns, only a short drive away from each other, and much like in my home city, Sydney, almost everyone in Cornwall has and uses a car as their main form of transport. The designers at live|work also cite many behavioural factors related to the high dependency on cars, such as habits and perceptions of public transport (such as expense). But, the designers also discovered that while people depended on cars, they had a strong conscience of a loss of community feel by filling the town streets with congestion. The designers see this tension point as an opportunity for a design a solution (coming up in the next phase of the project).

Living Well by STBY
This project, led by STBY looks at practical ways to develop and inspire more sustainable practices among individuals and in organisations. So far, the designers have undertaken extensive research with people to capture opinions on sustainability, and also identify what projects and activities in the area of sustainability already exist. These insights have been used to inspire many project directions, and these project directions are currently being decided upon, to take the Living Well project forward.

Cornwall Works 50+ and Cornwall Works 50+ Cares by thinkpublic
These two projects work with Cornwall's older communities in the areas of staying in and/or finding employment (Works) and finding opportunities for care and support for older people (Cares). So far, designers at thinkpublic have undertaken research with people to gather personal stories from these communities. These stories will help inspire new ideas in the next phase of the project for both employment and care for older people in Cornwall.

Designing Communities
by sea communications
The neighbourhood of Pengegon, Camborne is one of the country's most deprived areas and designers at sea are working with locals to help discover community facilities and services that are more resident-led, rather than authority-led, to help improve lives. So far, the designers have undertaken research with local people including producing several films to convey the experiences and voices of locals. You can view these films on YouTube here. One of the most fascinating things to emerge from the films is the enthusiasm of the locals to own and take responsibility for their local facilities and services.

Eco Design Challenge
The final live Dott Cornwall project is Eco Design Challenge (EDC). EDC, an educational project, was run in Dott 07 and is running in Dott Cornwall again. EDC gets Year 8 students to measure their school's carbon footprint with an Eco Calcuator. The students then work with design and social entrepreneur mentors to help create new ideas to reduce their school's ecological and carbon footprint. In June 2010, all schools will submit their ideas to EDC and by July, winners of the EDC will be announced. So far, EDC has engaged 34 schools in Cornwall to take part, and the school students are currently working on measuring their carbon footprint. The next phase of the project will be to pair schools up with mentors to create new ideas to address sustainability at their school. For more information, resources and updates, head to the Eco Design Challenge website.

The night wrapped up with some opinion voting on the Dott Cornwall projects.

Voting on the live Dott projects

And also a bit of networking.

Networking after the presentations

The following day, Dott Cornwall and UCF hosted a Design Workshop for UCF design students. The workshop generated loads of creative energy and high-level enthusiasm for Dott, as much as the Open Dott event the previous night. If this is anything to go by, Dott Cornwall will certainly be a fantastic programme to demonstrate, once again, how designers, local communities and organisations can work together, using a design approach to address social issues and improve the livelihoods of people.

Presenting ideas at the design workshop at UCF

Service Design Drinks, 26 February 2010

This Friday 26 February will the be the second 2010 Service Design Drinks in London! Here's all the essential info:
  • Date: Friday 26 February 2010
  • Time: From 7pm
  • Location: The Bunch of Grapes. 2 St Thomas Street, Borough, London SE1 9RS (it's just a hop away from London Bridge tube stop)
  • RSVP: Sign up on Eventbrite here (and see who else will be around)
  • And to find us, look for the Service Design Drinks London sign!
If you can't make this one, we'll be doing a regular Service Design Drinks London on the last Friday of every month. So sign up to the mailing list here to keep up-to-date with the latest happenings.

As you already know, the cities of Amsterdam (Netherlands), Dublin (Ireland), San Francisco (USA), Sao Paulo (Brazil) and Sydney (Australia) organise and host Drinks and other events via the website. We're pleased to announce that Berlin and Cologne (Germany) organised by Minds and Makers and Glasgow (Scotland) organised by wearesnook have also joined!

Remember, if you are traveling to one of these cities, check in at and to see if anything is on. And if you, or anyone you know from another city is interested in coordinating service designing-type events, please get in touch with us at We'd love to have a chat and help by providing tools and insight into organising and hosting events and activities to help develop service designing communities around the world.

Monday, 25 January 2010

Service Design Drinks, 29 January 2010

This Friday 29 January will the be first 2010 Service Design Drinks in London! Here's all the essential info:
  • Date: Friday 29 January 2010
  • Time: From 7pm
  • Location: The Bunch of Grapes. 2 St Thomas Street, Borough, London SE1 9RS (it's just a hop away from London Bridge tube stop)
  • RSVP:Sign up on Eventbrite here (and see who else will be around).
The Bunch of Grapes, Borough

For 2010, we'll be doing a more regular Service Design Drinks London. Drinks will now happen on the last Friday of every month. So if you can't make this one, put it in your diary and hope to see you at another this year!

We'll also have more info on the next Service Design Thinks shortly. The next Thinks will be exploring the theme, 'Service Design from Scratch.' To ensure you're up-to-date with the latest, sign up your details on the mailing list here.

Finally, you might have already seen on the website that Service Design Drinks and Thinks has gone global! The cities of Amsterdam (Netherlands), Dublin (Ireland), San Francisco (USA), Sao Paulo (Brazil) and Sydney (Australia) are now connected to so if you happen to be traveling to one of those cities, make sure you check in and to see if anything is on (you never know!). And if you know anyone from another city interested in coordinating service designing-type events, please let them know they are most welcome to get in touch at and we can help them do the rest!