future gov

#21 The Local Government Designer

I met Dom Campbell on twitter eight years ago. We had a strong shared interest in wanting to change the world :) One of my very first service design projects was working with Dom and his team at Future Gov on ALISS. Fast forward to today and now Dom and Carrie lead a team of forty, with studios in London and Melbourne. I am a big fan of the work Future Gov do and applaud the impact they are having on public services as well as a wide range of social challenges. Their approach and work have been a consistent source of inspiration for Snook and I'm thrilled Dom is coming to Hyper Island to talk to the students about public service transformation and social innovation. Here's what he has to say... What's the biggest lesson you've learnt over the last year?

How to manage a growing company after taking investment. We’ve nearly doubled in size and opened an office in Australia in the past year. This has needed a lot of commitment from a lot of people to keep the show on the road and grow and succeed. At times it’s easy to lose focus on what really matters - your people and your team - when you’re focused on travelling around and winning new contracts. You just can’t afford to lose focus. Your team is everything.

Screen Shot 2015-06-16 at 17.10.32

What’s your burning question of the moment?

Where does digital government go next? We’re at a bit of a cross roads where we have been doing this a while now (FG for 7 years, GDS for 5 and a whole host of others). We’re well on course to fix the basics, but with “austerity heavy” heading our way in the next 5 years, will public services open their doors to a way of creative disruption through digital and design, or freeze like rabbits in headlights and default back to old behaviours.

What’s the most inspiring thing you’ve seen / heard / read in last year?

As a Brummie, the highlight of my year was probably TEDxBrum. Not only did I get to pour my heart out to my home town, but I got to hear from all the amazing people pushing the city forward. There’s a real sense of energy and momentum in Birmingham right now, due in no small part to the amazing Immy Kaur. One to watch.

Oh and in terms of reads, read this.

What would be your one piece of advice to students on MA?

Go and get experience in a big company for a year or two, learn all the good and bad of working for those firms (process, structure, hard work - good and bad sides of both), apply your trade in one deep area (e.g. government or banking), get frustrated and either strike out on your own or work for a small business. It just works, trust me.

You can read more profiles here...

#20 The Start Up Designer

 #19 The Human Centered Designer

#16 The UX Designer

#15 The Data Designer

#14 The Experience Designer

#13 The Design Teacher

#12 The Creative Technologist

#11 The Creative Generalist

#10 The Hyper Island Designer

#9 The Conscious Designer

#8 The Business Designer

#7 The Networked Designer

#6 The Speculative Designer

#5 The Digital Maker

#4 The Craftsman

#3 The Storyteller

#2 The Dreaming Maker 

#1 The Go-Getter.

Calling all creatives in scotland

The Aliss Project team are inviting people with long term conditions, service designers, product designers, graphic designers, marketers, funding bodies and business advisors to come together for two days and help make these ideas real! You can see an overview of the ideas here. Are you a designer? Are you a ‘geek with heart’? Have you got a business brain? This Thursday and Friday, Snook and Futuregov are running a two day ‘intense’ camp to build an engine which provides better information and support for people living with LTCs.  It runs from 9-5pm on Thursday and 9-4pm on Friday ( If you require travel expenses, please keep your receipts. We will collect them on the day) By bringing together a range of talents, we hope to build an engine which uses the internet to improve information online and offline and new ideas for services.

“We are working with the Scottish Government to create a service that helps people with long term conditions find local support and services. This project is called ALISS ( Access to Local Information to Support Self Management ) and you can catch up on the rest of the team’s activities here. We are documenting our phase of the project at Supporting Pipes.

This project echoes our belief that, by empowering people to make informed decisions about how to manage their life with the necessary support, it can have very real and positive outcomes for all involved”

We’ve been working on the ALISS project for a wee while now, doing an initial phase of research and then three consecutive workshops in Glasgow, Edinburgh and Perth respectively.  We’ve been blown away by the ideas generated in our workshops, and now hope to fully develop them into small prototypes and give them a glossy shine.  With your help!

What happens next is where YOU come in!

There have been three workshops so far. The products from these three sessions will form the basis for our two days further development work in March, when we hope to create a blueprint for a ‘Supporting Pipes service’ together with practical things that improve information provision for people with long-term conditions.

Sign up here. It is set to be a brilliant couple of days and it is a great opportunity to put your talent, skills and knowledge to a worthwhile project.

Frontiers of Service in a Networked World

Future Gov are working with colleagues Stephen Goldsmith and Zach Tumin at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government to research the “now wave” and the “next wave” of public service delivery around the world. And they would like your help.

"Today more than ever the prospect (and need) for network-enabled collaborations between governments, citizens, industry and non-governmental organizations is high. No one can go it alone; the costs of services are ever increasing, the influence of governments to control the entire agenda limited, and the need for quality and greater value critical.

Technology and networks open the door to new collaborations, and improved performance, whether for the production of health, safety, or employment, for example, or for transactional services, everything from certifications and licenses to tax.

In the coming weeks, leaders of these efforts from five nations – Australia, the UK, the United States, New Zealand and Canada - will be gathering at Harvard for a roundtable discussion to share current best practices and understand the prospects for the next wave of service reform. What has proven useful? Where is the best next investment? What are the critical enablers for success?

Where is the “now wave,” and where is the “next wave” ? We would like your nominations for best practice now and over the coming years. We will be gathering these and sharing at the roundtable."

"Our focus is on service delivery (not e-democracy per se) and in particular:

  • Personalisation of public services
  • Co-production and re-design of public services
  • Reducing the cost of government, in particular through joining up public service delivery within and across organisations including the shared service agenda particularly around transactional services
  • New ways of governing in terms of formal governance arrangements but also re-balancing of power between the citizen and the state
  • New ways of performance managing / measuring impact and outcomes
  • New tools and technologies

And we would love to enlist your help in answering those questions! What better way to show the power of many minds to the future of government than through a crowdsourced report writing collaboration?"

They have put together a short survey to capture your thoughts and ideas on the big trends of the moment, who and what projects are really setting the world alight in their respective field of front or back office functions from healthcare to environment and even government finance? And then where next…

FutureGov are interested in your examples of real world practice – service innovations; tools proven or in trials or use; examples of new approaches to performance measure and management of cross-organization/shared mission efforts.

Tell them:

  • What’s the initiative?
  • Where is it? Who’s doing it?
  • What tools are enabling change?
  • How do / will performance measures and metrics work in this context?
  • What’s the governance arrangement like?
  • What evidence is there of value – financial, or improved satisfaction, reduced waste or loss, improved outcomes…

If you take part and your suggestions are included, you will be given full attribution in the final report. ( studio - unbounders, graduates and students - this is a big chance to get your name in print and get your voice heard! )

Go for it! Definitely one for MyPolice and PatientOpinion !

Listening looks easy, but it's not simple. Every head is a world

Thanks to my adventures with Future Gov I have spent the last couple of weeks visiting new places and meeting new people. The official term for this activity is called 'Contextual Interviews' but I think of it as a conversation that is dependent on me being a really good listener.  I echo what the team at Engine think about this:

"The researcher has the sensitive challenge of conducting an interview without it seeming to be an interview, but rather a chat where questions and answers are exchanged in both directions. The best way to do this is to avoid taking notes (occasionally skirting off to the toilet to write them down before you forget!)."

We all admire those who know how to talk to people, or have the innate ability to easily engage in a conversation even in an unfamiliar gathering. I suppose some people believe that you are born with the natural ability to talk to people or you have what is called the gift of the gab.

However, the ability to talk or convey ideas whether in a small group or up on stage before a large audience is not an innate ability but an acquired skill. It can be learned, enhanced, and perfected. All you need are the right information and the determination to do it.

This got me thinking about the students and young designers out there who interview people as part of their research.. there isn't really any information directed at how to interview as part of the design / co-design / co-creation process. I do believe it is a special skill and you have to practice and learn it.

Here are some tips that were top of my list:

  • Be presentable
  • Think about it before hand
  • Be respectful
  • Look them in the eye
  • Turn your phone off
  • Listen
  • Establish rapport
  • Be positive
  • Smile

There is a nice little video from the IIT Institute of Design who believe ethnography and interviewing are how we, as designers, see the world through other people's eyes and get them to tell us their stories.

[vimeo 1269848 w=500 h=282]

Getting People to Talk: An Ethnography & Interviewing Primer from Gabe & Kristy on Vimeo.

redjotter goes to london with MyPolice

As promised I would like to introduce you all to MyPolice.  The video below tells the story of the web-based service that fosters constructive, collaborative communication between communities and the police forces which serve them.

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more about "MyPolice on Vimeo", posted with vodpod

You can follow MyPolice ventures on our blog. Sarah and I are traveling to Coventry to present at The Policing 2.o Conference:

"The NPIA Citizen Focus and Neighbourhood Policing Programme is organising the first national conference for the police service in England and Wales looking at the impact of social media.

'Policing 2.0 - the Citizen and Social Media' will include presentations from forces who have been early adopters in using social media and speakers from outside the world of policing who will discuss the wider impact.

The emergence of cheap and accessible information technology and the increasing importance of the Citizen Focus approach means that police forces are beginning to use social media sites such as facebook and twitter as part of their communications and engagement strategies. At the same time citizens are looking to social media as a platform to comment on, or engage with policing."


I also have the Festival of Interdependence, Service Design Drinks, Future Gov and Mindapples to look forward to...and of course spending time with my most lovely London friends...you know who you are :)

I have been overwhelmed by the recent support I have received online and offline - huge big thank you to everyone for your advice, comments and RT's :)