It’s Monday morning. My alarm is waking me. It’s 5:15am. Generally, when I’m working, 5:15am is a time that I see from the other direction. My taxi is due at 6:00am to drop me off at Tay Road Bridge to meet a mini-bus of designers and staff of the Scottish Social Services Council. We’re all headed to a Social Service Innovation Camp.
(below) Tay Road Bridge – 6am
I’ve done a few of these, to varying degrees of success… and this particular event was pretty amazing! If “Service Design” is going to have longevity and credibility then it needs to be done like this!
Workforce Of The Future (17-18 September, Edinburgh, Scotland) was run by 100% Open for The Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC) and the Institute for Research and Innovation in Social Services (IRISS).
(below) Ideas are briefed
This kind of event is a precarious business and relies, not only on a well organised/structured event but, on several other elements. A few months before a crowdsourcing site had been set up calling for social service professionals, from across Scotland, to suggest ideas for new and innovative ideas for new and existing services. There were well in excess of 100 ideas and several hundred comments and votes. In short, there was a lot interested in this process.
At the event, besides having plenty of service ideas to get the creative juices flowing 100% Open had a lead designer on hand to talk about the importance of visualisation and equipped with plenty of templates on hand to spark ideas. Each of the groups had facilitators and designers helping to keep things moving, on track and visual (hence my involvement).
(below) The Three Wise Web-monkeys
As if this wasn’t enough there was a dedicated socal media conduit in the form of @solobasssteve (of Amplified10.com). Social media has a fantastic role to play in these events and Steve agregated comments and pictures, not to mention relevant articles and gathered them into a dedicated blog – a brilliant resource to reflect on during and after the event. This kept the 60+ people in the room connected in ways that couldn’t happen in any other way as well as connects us with the outside world. It is widely accepted in modern teaching theory that having an audience has a positive effect in learning – social media provides that audience, not to mention the network of expertise and resources required when researching a prototype service to be produced in less than two days.
So the combination of: A clearly defined and structured programme; professionals eager to develop and innovate their profession and practice; the integration of designers and design principles; and an open and trusting environment, all made for an exhausting but clearly profitable couple of days.
We went from 20 ideas on Monday morning, whittled down to 8 by the end of the day and five finalists by Tuesday afternoon – chosen by a process which combined the X-Factor with Dragon’s Den. Conceivably the final 5 prototypes, as well as the proposed ‘charter mark’, could well be piloted before the middle of next year. I for one would love to be a part of the process. Not least of all in the project which I was a part of for most of the two days which was “Wireless”, a ‘pop-up shop’ concept combined with time-banking a a great living map concept – more on that some other time.
So I have to thank all concerned, the designers, social service professionals, SSSC, IRISS, 100% Open and Amplified… great time had by all!
To get a taste of how the days played out please visit my Storify page and read through a meer sample of Tweets, AudioBoos and Instagrams gathered from the day. It’s a snap-shot, nothing more, but it may give you an idea of the focus of the teams and the process.