experience

using your mobile to do something good

Last week I went to the first event held by Orange to mark the launch of their forthcoming initiative to promote mobile micro volunteering. I rocked up with the lovely Cassie Robinson knowing nothing about the idea or who was going to be there. The  50 people crowd wore stickers - developers sporting a blue sticker, people from orange an orange sticker and social entrepreneurs a green sticker. The aim of the evening was simply to 'meet in each other in person' - simple and true.

The force behind this new initiative is the merging of Orange and T mobile ; Everything Everywhere . They have more customers than the population of Canada! They certainly have the potential to harness this power to do something good!

Jamie T put together a good write up here and I was interviewed by the brill Brian Condon - you can listen on audioboo.

This new venture is encouraging people to make minutes matter, to do something from your phone that will take 5 minutes. It clearly presents new opportunities to work differently and it may highlight how much generosity there is in the world.

I suppose I am most interested in the balance of actions that can be done online and what can be done offline. Nevertheless, I am always interested in things that aim to liberate and inspire people so I will be watching closely.

p.s I was a big fan of the speakers wearing a red flower in their shirt pocket. Nice touch.

Two today!

Redjotter is two today!

This post I wrote two years ago was where it all began. ( hat tip and a smile to Arne ) this year has been pretty hectic ; completed my Masters degree, started up two companies, moved into a new flat in Glasgow, spoke to alot of policemen and went through a pot of red nail varnish ... but it's the people who read what I write, support me and inspire me everyday that make all this possible so thank you very much and here's to another year of redjotter! Bigger and better!

Let's eat service design cake

Snook hooked up with Richard Arnott ( also known as servicejunkie ) last time we were in London and we had a great conversation about interesting goings on in Bristol, Cornwall and other places far away from Glasgow. Amidst my notes from our chat was a reminder to have a peek at some of the companies in Cornwall. I have followed Kathryn Woolf's tweets for a while but had never explored the company she co-founded in Cornwall - Sea Communications.Their latest project looks great ;  New Work Cornwall aims to boost the skills of people in Cornwall & open doors to new job opportunities.

I am really curious about how we can visualise and simplify services and systems and I was inspired by this charming approach by the team at Sea Communications.

These models are the outcome of a co-design workshop:

"The best bit of the day for me was when all the children arrived after school and got busy drawing floor plans and making a community centre out of cake & sweets! This gave me an opportunity to talk to some of the mum's about the idea of a community centre reward card / loyalty scheme which they thought would work really well. The basic idea being that residents could exchange volunteer time for points that they could cash in for things like cinema tickets, food, electrical goods, travel vouchers etc."

You can see many more pics of the workshop here.

This finding inspired me to look back at the last time I worked this way during the creation of Making Service Sense. I made a Service Factory and really explored the notion of being 'a service architect' and all I remember is that it was genuinely fun.

It's like art attack meets blueprinting ... love it.

being a patient

I am obsessed with service, to borrow a phrase from Richard I think I am as close as it gets to being a service junkie. This means that  I spend my days devouring every tweet, article and policy about the health service, patient experience and the role design can play in that. In the early hours of Thursday morning I woke up with unbearable pains in my stomach. To cut a long story short, I phoned the NHS 24 hour help line twice, on the second phone call they referred me to the out of hours GP, who then referred me to casualty who then took me to a ward.  They kept me in for two nights and I had an ultra sound scan, blood tests, all kinds of other bodily tests ( ! ) and the conclusion is they think I had an infection in my appendix that has sorted itself out.

I have never been a patient before so there were many things that I noticed, appreciated, felt could be better, even when poorly those " design lenses " picked up detail and feeling.

It was the absence of communication that increased my anxiety. The taxi driver drove us to the hospital in silence - which made me think of Barry Schwartz's talk on our loss of wisdom and the way he describes the role of a hospital janitor. I've just moved into a new flat and had no idea where we were, if he had let me know we were only five minutes away it would have made the journey a little easier.

When I arrived I was asked to put a gown on, and my first instinct was why? Then being moved to the surgical ward, my first thought was does this mean I am going to have surgery.

And at shower time... where was I meant to go? are there towels and shampoo in there? well I didn't want to ask, what if they thought I was treating the place like a hotel! Alice, in the bed next to me filled me in , there is only hair mousse ( or moss as she called it ) so I asked another long haired lady for some shampoo ... the nurse gave me a towel.

Walking in to all these things for the first time, in pain, in a strange place, was the time I needed that extra bit of reassurance. I'm sure when you work in this environment all of the time you can take for granted the normality of it, and also the pressures of being emotionally attentive to people must be tough. But an explanation of the simple things between each new experience would have made a difference.

After those first few hours though, and into the rest of Thursday, Friday and Saturday, I was able to immerse myself more in to the ward. My bed was straight across from the desk so I could eavesdrop and watch all the goings on.

The staff seem like best friends, constant winks and giggles brought sunshine into the ward and I knew they were happy to be there. They come to work every day and genuinely laugh out loud, I don't think there are many people who are lucky enough to feel that way at their work.

The last experience I had with the NHS in Stoke Mandeville Hospital was horrific and inspired me to write an article on why the NHS needs service design. This experience was totally different and has inspired me to make a thank you card for all the staff in ward 16!

The NHS help line was particularly good and they helped me so much. Simple things like reassuring me they would call me back if our line got cut off and telling me they would make sure I got the attention I needed.

It's all about people, from how we communicate to how we smile. The staff in ward 16 are faced with people who are bored, stubborn, tired and anxious. Yet they see past that and go out their way to make sure you are comfortable and as at ease as you can be. The doctors really explained what was happening to my body and why and the nurses really cared. You can't buy that, or teach it. That's what I call true service.

Berlin Beckons

The  Service Design Network Conference Agenda was released this week. I went along to their first event in Amsterdam, November 2008, I couldn't afford a ticket on my student budget so I asked my university to buy me a ticket instead of paying me for the teaching I was doing at the time. Like many others I decided not to go to the event in 2009 primarily because its location, but it did spark a huge debate amongst the community about what the next conference should be!

So, here we are in 2010 with the "next conference "only months away! I'm feeling pretty proud of myself because I have been invited to be a keynote speaker on the second day and my partner in crime, Sarah is lecturing on the first day. I am also initiating a design challenge around Making Service Sense. A hat trick for the Snook team !

I can't wait to meet new people and put many faces to twitter names! This opportunity has really got me thinking, I want to make an impact. I re-read the post I wrote about the event in 2008 and the journey I have been on since then has been pretty incredible.

I can't wait to share it with you.