Why I am not a Service Designer

dementia Diary workshop 1

At the best of times it can be a challenge explaining to people what you do. But when they already have a perception of what you do..?!

I’ve been a designer for a long time. A Graphic Designer. To many I will probably be a Graphic Designer until the day… well, you get the idea.

I’m a Designer still. But of a kind that many haven’t heard of. For you lucky people that’s about to change.
I work in Service Design.

PostIts workshop 1

Perhaps (mildly) controversially I’m going to say that I’m NOT a ‘Service Designer‘. That’s because I’m not sure that there is any such thing. Service Design (to me) is a collaboration between the designer (equipped with the tools and methods of design thinking), and the professional (armed with expert knowledge of their field, service or system – e.g. Social Services, Education, Health Care).

Within the collaboration my role is that of facilitator. I bring tools and methods that will facilitate the drawing out (pun intended) of ideas and visualisations to innovate, improve or completely change existing methods of working.

Maybe within that process we’re ALL service designers – what a utopia that would be!
On the outside, however, I’m just a designer, doing what I’ve always done – but with a new bag of fancy pencils.

Although the principles that hold Service Design together have been around for a while, the idea of designers doing something this useful still appears to shock. But if ever we needed proof that SD was edging into the mainstream, we find that even the BBC are in on it. Radio Four‘s ‘In Business had a programme dedicated to Design Thinking and how it is being applied to designing public services. It’s a very good overview and well worth a listen.

BBC 4 In Business

Conveniently there is also a new web platform around the idea of helping the general public understand what Service Design is and how businesses and public services can benefit from implementing its methods. Tereza Procházková recently graduated from Dundee University‘s Masters of Design for Services course at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design – Translating Service Design is her Masters project where she has taken the novel idea of creating short videos to introduce some of the concepts and methods of, you guessed it, Service Design.

So, expect to see Service Design installed into your place of work anytime soon! Well, maybe the next couple of years anyway.
Do you see Service Design solving issues for your workplace? Do you have ‘Service Designer‘ written on your business card and want your money back?
Tell me what you think…

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During the last two years Jon Gill has worked as a designer with public service organisations such as Dundee City Council, The Young Foundation, People Can and the Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC) – not on posters and leaflets or physical products, but on services. Services such as delivery of services to homeless people in Westminster and Hackney, Public Consultation on Council Housing in Dundee and piloting new Social Service ideas for SSSC across Scotland (Borders Council, Moray Council, Alzheimer Scotland).

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Totally Recall

smart phones

Philip K Dick already had some ideas up his sleeve on memories and what ‘they really mean’ when he wrote ‘We can Remember It For You Wholesale‘ which later became Paul Verhoven‘s 1990 movie Total Recall. (Remade in 2012 lest we forget!)

In the vein of my blog post from last summer ‘Is anyone Watching?‘ (which draws on a couple of posts from 12 months before that – link are in the above post) the BBC today are asking if ‘smartphones are killing memories?‘!

It’s worth a watch, if a little mellow-dramatic!

I don’t think it’s a good idea to live life watching through a 3 inch view finder – however, I’d agree with the chap in the BBC report from the National Portrait Gallery (Sandy Nairne, Director of NPG (very Scottish sounding name!) ) gets the balance just right…

What do you think? Are you or members of your family missing out on experiences through a need to share what’s happening through your digital devices or do they help you remember more vividly in a way that you can share time after time?

Dementia Diary meet Memory Box

I Met with Memory Box originator Scott Downie this week.

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It was after tweeting progress of a workshop at Alzheimer’s Scotland a few weeks ago that I received a message from Scott informing me of Memory Box and that we should talk.

My workshop was focussed on Dementia Diary, an idea formulated through the Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC) Workforce Of The Future Challenge (partnered with IRISS). It investigates the use of video as a tool for supporting people living with Dementia or Alzheimer’s, their families and their carers.

dementia storyboard 1

Here’s a short video of one of our suggested uses:

The idea is currently in the pilot development stage and about to be trialled by Alzheimer’s and Dementia Key workers in Glasgow and the Borders.

So far we have built on the premise that Dementia Diary is an umbrella name for the preliminary idea of using video in this context. How it is adopted, modified or evolved is down to the authority, organisation or individual. From there they can call it what they like!

So what’s with Memory Box?
What Memory Box presents is a possible framework within which ‘a’ Dementia Diary could exist for some people. If offers secure access to your own or web sourced content (images, video, music, maps, etc) designed to be specific to the user’s profile. That profile would contain key information: locations of interest (home, holiday), family, hobbies, likes/dislikes, etc…

Memory Box can be managed by carers or family members and is no more complicated that your average CMS system or Facebook! It builds on the foundations and principles of Reminiscence Therapy (RT). While RT has been around for several decades the research into is relatively new but significant enough to put weight behind Memory Box. Used in conjunction with a gathering of two or more people Memory Box sparks meaningful conversations. Not only that but it helps bridge the generation gap of grandparents and young people who don’t know where to start conversations (I saw evidence of this when I did this project.)

This begs the question, should we be waiting for our elderly loved ones to be developing Dementia before we engage with a tool such as this?

Currently being tested and independently evaluated in a selection of care environments Memory Box is due to be launched early in 2014.

You can find out more about the product and the charity behind it at memoryboxnetwork.org

Storify, Storify Storify

Storify is fantastic. That’s all you need to know.

Storify exists simply for you to gather, or craft, a narrative from snippets of social media channels.

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The likes of Twitter, Instagram, Faceook, etc, are already in the business of providing a means of telling a story but they are rigid streams of information and the story can be lost – at the very least it must be searched out. Storify puts you in hot seat as narrator/curator, however you like to look at it, and gather the relevant elements from a variety of channels including those mentioned above.

So, here’s an example: A couple of weeks ago I organised a QR Trail across Dundee for McManus Galleries Youth Action Group – a group of young people interested in the arts. We’re currently looking at digital and social media – what it’s all about and if it has any value.

The aim of the QR Trail was to deliver images of Dundee from 100 years ago (or more), in the spot where they were originally taken and the young people were tasked with capturing the same scene as it appears today and share it via Instagram.

McManus Crawl Players

Back at the museum I gathered their images live, as they appeared on the Instagram feed and put them into Storify along side links to the old photos that were to inspire them! (via Photopolis).

We Tweeted the Storify feed. This meant that, potentially, viewers could follow the young people’s progress live as I combined the Instagram pics with those from Photopolis (while adding a little narration). The Storify feed remains of course and you can view it here.

I’m noticing more and more sites, the Guardian for example, using Storify to gather stories that break on Twitter.

My only reservation is that I can’t yet export my completed project – they remain on the Storify site. I did have an experience last ear where I gathered a Storify for a conference I was working at and my 2 hours work coincided with a Storify server crash! I had no option but to start again. Presumably Storify learned from that experience!

That aside I love Storify! Do you?
What other sharing platforms do you love?

Anatomy of a Tweet

Our new page (filed under freebies) entitled ‘Anatomy of a Tweet‘ is precisely that!  Intended as a guide for Twitter newbies – attempting to navigate what 500M+ users now take for granted dozens of time a day – it breaks down the various elements of a tweet and explains them in very simple terms: Hazy about hashtags? Flummoxed by favourites?

Playful Communications Anatomy of a Tweet will have you ready to ReTweet in no time!

Anatomy of A Tweet

 

Show and Tell – Add Value with Video

Using video to Document a workshop on my iPad

Hey, it’s another blog post… I’ll pass thanks!

No, but wait… this one has a video… maybe I’ll stick around..!

We’re all a little bit impatient when it comes to finding the information we’re after – any yet how often have you ‘happily/accidentally’ lost an afternoon on YouTube? Just me? I doubt it! So, without question, if you want to deliver short chunks of information, quickly, and in an engaging manner then you can’t go far wrong with a video clip.

Tip 1) Video can be hosted free of charge at YouTube, Vimeo and others, and if you have a site hosted by the likes of WordPress then it’s a cinch to embed the video into a web page or blog post.

Video is a great way of visually getting a message across. I for one should use it more often to support my blogging activity but I do use video a lot in my work (see image above) in Service Design capturing user-journeys, for documenting workshops or illustrating a project – as I did here for Totally Dundee:

Video can also be great for sharing your working process. What better way give your audience insight into your daily routines than putting it in front of them! Imagine you work for ‘Carvers – The Pumpkin Carvers‘ – The average pumpkin takes around 30 minutes to sculpt into something scary – not an Oscar winner to be fair – however, get a little creative and you can achieve all sorts of wonders – like this:

or, how about this:

For more on Time-Lapse have a read of this.

The video below is for a project that I’ve been helping out on for a while.
Dementia Diary is about to begin the process of being piloted in Scotland. I created this video to bring the social services professionals who are less familiar with the concept up to speed. Given that time/money is precious, this video negates the need for an someone to visit various teams and explain the concept – we just send them the video.

UPDATE: Another aspect of this project was creating storyboards to tell why a Dementia Diary might be used, how it might come together or how it might look when it was finished. There are two ideas below which were illustrated by two key workers from Alzheimer Scotland, ie not illustrators. But with some very basic FREE software I made a slide show of their storyboard panels and added the audio from the feedback session of the workshop to tell the story.

In film-making (the Hollywood kind) this is similar to a process called Animatics – it’s a quick and inexpensive (but effective) way of telling a story using lo-fi techniques. And of course, if merited, a more polished version could be done afterwards.


Tip 2) If you want to get even more technical about your traffic then there are Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) plugins like this one which has the video show up as ‘on your site’ in Google listings (as opposed to its host destination on YouTube, etc…). It carries a cost but clearly a lot of people think it’s worth it.

And you don’t have to be a multi-media whizz. This video and the one directly before it were both created using Keynote (similar to Microsoft Powerpoint) – they’re essentially slide presentations exported to a movie clip and music added.
Again, if you get creative (and not too ‘bells and whistles’ with the effects), you can do a decent job.
There are also a range of simple tools available for mobile devices. I use iPhone and iPad so the apps I have are simply iMotionHD for time-lapse and animation and iMovie for editing. There are other apps too such as ToonCamera for a real-time comic-book effects – Video magic for photo-booth like distortion and colorisation. Also , and  – my final film below was captured, edited and exported to YouTube entirely on an iPad. (The Apps used would all work on iPad, and iPod touch.)

So it’s worth thinking about how you can use video to attract an audience to you blog, business or ideas – you don’t have to be a Steven Spielberg behind the camera or have a James Cameron budget – with a little creativity even the phone you already own can bump-start your movie career!

Action!

Digital Imaging on iPad (via AudioBoo)

iPad-photos_blog

The images above are on display at Perth Museum and Art Gallery. From left to right, the second, fourth and fifth displays were completed as part of an iPad workshop I led in November 2012 and are exhibited until the end of March.

This week some of the young people who took part in the project, (as part of the Living Communities programme) came back to view their exhibited work and I was able to talk to them about their experience and share those thoughts via AudioBoo which will also be tagged to the work on display via a QR Code.

The interesting thing for me is that the young people are enjoying using the touch screen for the same reasons as I do – immediate, responsive (interactive) and an enjoyable way of working – as opposed to a mouse and multiple clicks. Given the immediate responsive nature of the touch screen I would suggest that it holds more creative potential – see here.

In one of his last keynotes Steve Jobs talked about how the iPad was “people’s favourite device” – backed up only last month by this report. They were enjoying the experience of the web, gaming and even productivity much more on the iPad than they were on desktops or laptops. I’d already had that experience myself but noticed that my son losing interest in his Nintendo DS if the iPad was an option.

So, as exciting as it was to see this work on display it was equally as rewarding to hear that a new found interest was being kindled (no pun intended) through me introducing a touch screen in this context. And, you can hear for yourself in the clips below…

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Some of the images in their native form back in November.

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