supporting pipes

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.

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.