Monday, 30 March 2009

Has Design Thinking got a problem?

Came across this piece on Sam Ladner’s blog 'Design Research', talking about Design Thinking's Big Problem. Sam says

'So-called “design thinking” is the new It-Girl of management theory. It purports to provide new ways for managers and companies to provide innovative, creative solutions to old problems. But design thinking alone will not solve these problems because a lack of creativity was never the issue.

The real issue is one of power.

[...] '

I am not going to say that I totally agree with Sam, but I like the way she talked about power, as it seems to be something designer try to avoid talking about. Designers love creating, some of them love thinking as well. The power of creating is so familiar to designers, that they don't see it anymore. I came across service designers talking about change people's mind or people's perception of problem solving and being creative, surprisingly, few of them mention power. Designer holds the power - the power to change people's mind simply by amazing them with the process of creating, by getting them involved in the journey of discovering the stories of a product or a service, by sharing tool to create the life they wanted. It may not be hug step forward but at least they nudge - small change make big differences. But somehow the recognition of such power was often underestimated by designer themselves, a strategic approach to claim that power, therefore, gets neglected along the way.

Friday, 20 March 2009

Exciting Glasgow

Spend whole day walking around Glasgow yesterday... the weather was pretty good!

Went to a workshop in Hub in the morning, the Technologie Strategy Board (TSB) is giving out a good amount of money to fund projects that 'accessing and commercialising content in a digitally networked world', the deadline is 23 April. Great chance if you have digital/communication related ideas to commercialise. To apply:

Met up with Florence for a wee chat and accidentally found out that Distence Lab is having a event in Lighthouse in the evening. It was a showcase of couple of very interesting projects going on in Distence Lab, all somehow related to the idea of 'distence communication'. Couple of ideas are very experiental while the others are really practical. My personal faviourt is the 'boxing over a distance', we shall get one for the studio!!!!

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

the new world of working

Had a interesting converstion with Arne at DesignThinkers today... and one thing leads to another, Arne send over a link of Work 2.0 then I find another little piece of video from Lisa Bodell from FutureThink, talking about emerging concepts in Human Capital Management from an innovation perspective. Well... to be honest, I am not really such a big fan of getting Gen Y standing stand out from all other generations, as I kinda consider it more of a marketing invention to make more money out of us... but I do believe that our working is changing, no matter it is for good or for bad. Let's see what Lisa says...

Monday, 16 March 2009


NESTA launched THE LAB to encourage projects around public service innovation.
"The Lab provides the freedom, flexible capital and expertise to undertake radical experiments. It tests out new ways of finding and spreading the best ideas - this might be by running a challenge prize, building a social ventures incubator, or creating powerful new teams of users, front-line staff and decision-makers."

THE LAB has three main part:
  • challenge lab: explores how innovation can help services respond to critical social and economic issues, starting with ageing, climate change and health;
  • methods lab:puts radical thinking into action and is where we test and assess the best ways of fostering public service innovation;
  • and learning lab: helps you to apply and spread what we learn.
Seems to a place for funding and possibly will prodcut interesting projects in the future... worth keeping an eye on it :)

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

visiting around

Have a lot of visiting around this month, wonder if anyone would like to meet up for a cup of coffee in my destination city?

Newcastle - going this Friday to carry out my pilot study and also to fix my little watch... will have the whole afternoon for myself... don't know the place very well... any gallery suggested?

Glasgow - for the 'Partnering for Innovation' in Glasgow on 19th March, Thursday. Anybody goes as well?

London - always exciting and welcoming- planning to visit and stay in London on both 25th and 26th, meeting lots of old, new and virtual friends. Let me know if you are around and wanna meet up for a chat or something… I have both mornings booked now but still have some time slot to wonder around! Who wants to join me watching Dirty Dancing??

wee update here: places to visit while in London...
Design Museum, BRIT INSURANCE : DESIGNS OF THE YEAR 2009, 28 Shad Thames, London, SE1 2YD
the School of Life , 70 Marchmont, London, WC1N 1AB

mmnn... where else shall I visit?

Saturday, 7 March 2009

Introduction to Service Design

Find this interesting site for Service Design beginners...

public service - universal design

If we investigate our campus like this as a student group project, the result should be interesting... new workshop coming up ;o)

[thanks to DesignThinkers for the resource]

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

a holistic view for (service) design team

image from Boxes and Arrows

After reading Joseph Selbie's post 'Bring Holistic Awareness to Your Design' on Boxes and Arrows, I quickly made this graph here and start to wonder what is a holistic view for Serivce Design team? What's interesting is that in Joseph devide the role in the design team as Stakeholder Champion, Project Manager, Busines Analyst, User Representatives, UI Developer, Programming Lead. Although Joseph is talking about using user-central approach in web designing, I can instently see characters being reflected in many other design practice that uses a user-central approach...

What in fact bugs me a bit is the right corner circle, and I wonder if that is more of the role that service designer will play as facilitator/navigator rather than as a technology expert. But then I add on 'tool' here... in many cases service designers act as the observer or the researcher using enthnographic tools, but they also act as visual tool creator as well, eh, well that kind of fit back into the facilitator's role, isn't it? I am a bit confused here, and wonder if any of you guys has an oppinon on it?

If we step back and have a look at the 'holistic picture', we might be able to get a sense of the wholeness of all three parties. This model can be an interesting starting point to interpret the dynamic roles of people who are involved in a design project - that many of them play multiple roles at different stage or even simultaneousluy. Whomever is involved in a process at a certain stage is there for a reason, they either has certain knowledge, skill or technique to contribute, or can be benefited from the participation. Design process is often an intensive knowledge exchange, even knowledge integrating process where designer often achieve a certain level of 'inaugurative learning' (Jevnaker, 1993) with the client. So in Service Design, firstly, what is the definition of a design team? What do service designers benefit when people are involved in a project? How they make the decisions of when certain stakeholders should be getting on board, when to leave them aside? What communication techniques are used if team members come from a different background and has different purpose to join the project?