Digital Storytelling with Fife Young Carers

fife young carers

A what it says on the tin post: Digital Storytelling with Fife Young Carers

This started about a month ago. I met up with a group of Young Carers from Fife with the aim of working on posters and other ways of awareness raising and ways of reaching to the ‘hidden carers’ that we know exist.

Part of the day was spent setting up a blog and I’m happy to say they are still using it. If you go over there you’ll see another output from the day –  a prototype for a viral video (posted above) based around a story they wrote together. They’ve used the blog to document their follow up session where they developed storyboards for a revised version of the film.

I’ll be catching up with them soon to continue work on this a related projects – can’t wait!

Please visit their site and offer some encouragement!

Apps we used: Toon Camera; Flipagram; iMovie (iOS) and Instant Rec.

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Right place at the Right time.

Four days old and this video already has over two million hits on YouTube – all for being in the right place in the right time.

On face value there’s the drunkenness…

But it’s also a visualisation of serendipity in the design process. Eh!?
Stick with me… but first watch the film, it’s just two minutes.

First there’s the story…

Let’s pretend the film is about services. Servicesparticularly health and social services, can be tough for people to navigate – at times they may even appear to be inaccessible – ‘fenced off’.
In the film we see one service user struggling with a fence. Then another user comes along (an expert user) – this one is more savvy. He’s familiar with the system and skilled at identifying a way though. He also did his bit by showing the person struggling a new way through.

Clearly we can learn from these people.

But how do we find them?
Well, there is another person in the film that we should think about. People who design services should be like the person in the film that we don’t actually see – the person holding the camera. They’re far enough away to see the bigger picture but curious enough to zoom in on the detail. Through this film they set out to documented users struggling with a problem – the fence. But in doing this they accidentally captured a solution – or perhaps a more complex problem?!

Either way, they couldn’t have predicted the observation and they now have evidence of an existing work-around in use.

The problem/solution isn’t my concern for now – what we can take from this is that being in the right place at the right time can help us understand problems more clearly. Maybe reframe questions or identify reasonable solutions.

The right place at the right time. Serendipity.

a bear in the right place at the right time

Of course, we can’t possibly know when a serendipitous insight like this will occur. But, like the bear, we often aware of the best place to position ourselves.

Are you optimised for serendipity?

And serendipity is not exclusive to observation. We can simulate some of the conditions of being-in-the-right-place-right-time by looking at problems differently: empathy (putting ourselves in someone else’s shoes); storyboarding; prototyping; body-storming – all of these methods can help us look at a problem from another point of view and think differently.

Have you experience of being in the right place at the right time?
What was the impact?

Did you get over two million hits on YouTube?!

 

 

#HowAreYouWired?

positive wiring tshirt

Positive Wiring – Positive People is a project that has been baking for almost two years. And now it’s ready. Im so pleased to have been a part of it but I also hope that this is just the beginning…

I had the privilege of being present at the launch of Elgin High School’s Positive Wiring – How Are You Wired? website. You can get a taster of the day in the video below and read more about the event and the project itself on the Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC) news website.

Positive Wiring was one of three projects piloted as a result of the SSSC/IRISS Workforce of the Future (WotF) Challenge (WotF was a collaborative project which crowd-sourced ideas via a website and then, over the course of two days workshopped, prototyped and pitched them with social services staff from across Scotland. Five projects were selected by those who took part and two in particular – Positive Wiring being one of them – have seen significant results.)

However, what I want to write about here is a little more about the process.

positive wiring cake

Recipe for change
If change and innovation has a recipe then, among the many ingredients, buy-in/commitment is the yeast. That teaspoon-and-a-bit may seem insignificant next to a mound of flour an butter, yet it permeates the entire mix and has a significant effect. Without it, their may still be a product, or service, but it’ll be distinctly flat.

Success
And so while there are dozens of factors that contribute to the success, from my perspective, the constant here was the commitment.

All projects require all involved to be 100% invested. And yet it doesn’t always happen. The Elgin Positive Wiring team demonstrated what happens when everyone, at every level and stage of the process, wants the project to succeed; and is prepared to go out of their way to make it happen. In this case, as the young person at the end of the film says, everyone wanted Positive Wiringto thrive.

positive wiring bands

And there’s a lot to shout about: the website (howareyouwired.wordpress.com) – for young people, by young people, in the voice of young people; the ten young ambassadors who fully understand and appreciate the research the project is based upon – whose enthusiasm alone may have more impact than the website through word of mouth/one-to-one, with friends and family.

positive wiring team ElginPositive Wiring is a particularly interesting project because its aim is fundamental change,  a cultural change. Changing behaviours in people is no easy task.

But Positive Wiring is not a sticking plaster, it’s not even a solution, it’s a preventative measure. It demands we change our ways to provide better futures for children not yet conceived. Positive Wiring demands teenagers and young adults think differently and more responsibly about becoming parents.

Positive Wiring is an opportunity to significantly change the lives of future generations; not through a poster in a GPs surgery or national advertising, or even through Government legislation – but through 14/15yr olds. And what a group of 15yr olds we had.

Hopefully other Positive Wiring teams across Scotland and the UK will follow in the footsteps of Elgin. They’re big shoes to fill – so are you up to it?

positive wiring shirts

If you or your class/school/club or youth group would be interested in becoming a Positive Wiring Team please get in touch and I’ll pass you on to the right people.

Exhibition. Reflection. Snacks.

mcmanus feedback 5

Tonight (Thursday 6 February) was a reflection evening at the McManus. We were reflecting on the Sense of Place project with our young artists who range from 15 to 18 years old. We hadn’t seen most of them since the show opened so apart from anything else it was just great having them all together again. And there were snacks.

mcmanus feedback 1

I should point out that these young people come outside of school hours. While they have support from school and family, no one is required to come along – they come because they want to.
Tonight in particular demonstrated their enthusiasm because, let’s face it, tonight wasn’t about ‘making and creating’, it was the dull stuff – answering our questions. You could argue they came for the snacks – however, this is not your stereotypical group of 21st century teenagers and they dutifully told us some of what they had learned. The snacks were a mere perk.

Reflection is essential for us as we begin to prepare to think about new projects but it’s extremely rewarding to hear them articulate the impact it has had over the year.

mcmanus feedback 4

So part one of the evening was to answer a series of four questions:

1) What have you learned about your City?
2) What’s the most important thing you learned, or what had the biggest impact on you?
3) Describe a person you met in the City/through the project who made a strong impression on you? (positive or negative)
4) If you could do it all again, what would you do differently?

Each question was written on a sheet of A2 paper. The young people divided themselves into four groups; each group sat at each question in turn for four minutes writing bullet-style answers. With the sheets mostly full to bursting (and the snacks already near consumed) we moved on to part two and the final question…

mcmanus feedback 2

Each group took turns to gather in our ‘Electric Theatre’ and spent about five minutes answering the question, “Because of Youth Action Group; Sense of Place, I am…”

These answers are posted here in full. They were aware that we were recording and that we would post them although they hadn’t seen the question until we started recording.

So it’s all here (minus snacks); and not so much an ending but, genuinely, it felt/feels like a new beginning; which is perfect because while everyone was very excited to see their work complete and presented, I don’t think any of us feel so precious that we can’t see past it for the next (BIG) thing. And lets not over look the possibility of more snacks in the future.

mcmanus feedback 3

So, if you live near Dundee, ‘Sense of Place’ at The McManus closes tomorrow at 5pm (Friday 7 February) – If you’ve not already been I suggest you hurry up.

 

 

 

Use the stencil Luke

star wars pumpkins

 

It’s never easy, coming up with new and interesting things to do with your pumpkins!

So if you’re still wondering what to do what could be more appropriate than a touch of the ‘dark side’?

Download you Pumpkin stencils here – the file includes Darth Vader, a Stormtrooper, Boba/Jango Fett and Jabb the Hut.

Just be sure a share some images with me on Twitter and Instagram (@OnTheSuperfly) or on Facebook (www.facebook/onthesuperfly)

Boo!

DONT WALK/FLY

I hadn’t done much Photoshop work for a while having adopted Snapseed on my iPad and phone for most colour correction and editing. But I’ve been thinking about what my next ‘Fly‘ avatar might be and while running through town in the rain on Thursday I had an uncomfortably wet stop at a road crossing. That was it!

The Crossing

Below are a couple of the original pics and then the Instagram‘d versions of the final pieces. Time seems to be ever more precious so I haven’t spent a long time on these – I can see a few things that I’d like to fix but think of them in the ‘sketchbook’ category.

Hope you like them!

Fly icon DONT WALK/FLY

 

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).