reading and writing

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!

Call for service design papers

The International Journal of Design is publishing a special issue on designing for services that emphasizes a human-centered design approach to service design.

They have devised various categories:

Theme One: Design of Service Encounters

This includes the design of useful, usable, and desirable encounters between the server and the customer. Specific articles might address these topics:

  • User experience design and thinking
  • Expectations, emotions, and experience of the customer with regard to service design
  • The matching of customer expectations and service design touchpoints
  • The connection between service encounter satisfaction and quality of service design
  • Technological, non-technological, or hybrid service encounter design

Theme Two: Service Design for SMEs

This includes how small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) can benefit from service design by using it to better understand their customers and to contribute to their bottom line. Specific articles might address these topics:

  • Case studies of service design for SMEs
  • Business impact of service design on SMEs
  • Service design processes, tools, and methods for SMEs
  • Barriers to the use of service design in SMEs
  • Service design consultancy for SMEs

Theme Three: Co-creation in Service Design

This includes the implementation of co-creation with stakeholders to effectively and efficiently enhance service design. Specific articles might address these topics:

  • Types of co-creation in service design
  • Strategies for co-creation in service design
  • The value of co-creation in service design with regard to the customer experience
  • The actual and potential roles of stakeholders in service design
  • How to successfully execute a service design project using a co-creation team

Theme Four: Service Design and Change of Systems

This includes the development of service design competence and the development of models to use for dealing with changes taking place in the complex systems of service organizations. Specific articles might address these topics:

  • The emerging role of service design in organizational change in terms of culture, structure, or process
  • New service design models for change
  • How to successfully create service design competence in an environment that is undergoing change

The deadline for abstracts is 31st August 2010. Snook are going to share adventures under theme three and four! What will you write about?

service design books

Jeff Howard from Design For Service has created a new initiative:

"Service Design Books is a co-created library of recommended reading for service designers. It’s a community website. Anyone can add a book to the library and add ratings, tags or comments to help people make sense of an emerging field.

There are over forty books in the collection from a dozen different curators but that’s just the beginning. For this initiative to thrive it’ll need a little more help. Take a look at the collection and add your perspective. If you’ve read one of the books take a moment to rate it and if you think other service designers should read it as well then second the recommendation.

It’s easy to add your own picks to the collection. Just type a book title or an ISBN code to import a book. It should take less than a minute and you can always go back later and edit the information. The site is open to everyone."

Service designers draw inspiration from across disciplines and that means that a raw list isn’t always enough of a roadmap for people to triage unfamiliar reading. I think this could be very valuable, especially for students! This is a chance to devour all the books out there and ask questions to the people who submitted them about what they learned! This is something that I battled with throughout my dissertation "An Exploration into the Evolving field of Service Design" three years ago and Service Design Books wouldn't have been the brain child of a university librarian. That's why this field is so exciting and different in my eyes... I also think Service Design Books would add great value to Making Service Sense.

Let's make this the best it could be and share what we read and why!

Coming to a local authority near you

I watched Panorama 'The Cuts - Can you fight back?' recently and it really made me think. The journalists traveled all around the UK from Fife to Northampton, Wirral to London, and proved that council taxpayers are not ready to sit back and watch much-loved public services disappear without a fight. In Fife,  people are taking to the streets to "save their music" and in Glasgow they just lost the fight to save their swimming pool.In Northamptonshire, the "Conservative Road Show" has been traveling around the communities asking people where they want the cuts to be. The interesting bit came when the journalist asked people what they thought of this new approach:

"It's a con, it's like a murderer asking if you would like to strangled or smothered"... "Who am I to say where the cuts should be? I am only one person, I know what is important to me and my family but it feels rather selfish"... "I think it's brilliant they are listening to our views"

I found this fascinating, I think designers often assume that a huge part of the answer lies in listening to people and asking about their opinions. The truth is this is only part of the solution.

The program highlighted the brilliant grassroots movement that happened in the libraries of Hoylake. People in the community would not accept the decision to close their local library: "Without our library this will become a ghost town". The ladies behind the initiative some advice for people who find themselves trying to fight back on a decision their council has made:

  • Do not give up
  • Make a nuisance of yourself every day of the week
  • Take names so you can hatch a rescue plan

The journalist visited North Glasgow where people are trying to save their community centre.

''There is nothing in this town except the community if they take it away we will have nothing."

The council did offer space at a near by community centre but the residents admit most of them can't afford the bus fair for themselves and their children.

When the councilors run things they sometimes don't work and don't make money, when people in the community run them they can make it work. People are taking to the streets to protest at the cuts and some have decided to just run the services for themselves. Does this mean there is going to be a revolution in the way councils do things?

Joanna Killian, the Chief Executive of Brentwood Borough, Essex ( who earns £230K a year, that is £50,000 a year more than the Prime Minister ) has big ideas to enable families to buy their care direct from the provider. This means councils are having to completely re-design the way they offer services. Joanna described it as "helping people to help themselves...it is called reablement"  (this chimes with Snook's work with Research in Practice for Adults) the show filmed Peter, aged 80, and his wife, aged  87 talking about the new way of delivering support.

''We don't want to go into care and don't want to be dependent on our families"

Panorama have created a 'Fight Back Map' so you can see who is fighting back and where in the UK. So maybe it's not about what your council can do for you but what you can do for your council...

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more about "video « Redjotter", posted with vodpod

Delivering Public Services That work

A little bird told me there has been a interesting follow up to John Seddon's book 'Systems Thining in the Public Sector' which is being described as 'proof of the pudding' Delivering Public Services that Work is a book of Case Studies showing how Systems Thinking has been applied to a particular public service in six local authorities. Each case study – written by the manager or project leader responsible – describes what was done, how it was done and the results achieved.

'Someone rang me just to thank me this morning. They didn't want anything. They just wanted to thank me. I've worked here for 8 years and that's never happened before. I was so surprised I didn't know what to say.' Team member, Stroud District Council, quoted in Delivering Public Services that Work

Seddon's prescription then and now (for the UK and for any other country using the quasi free market model for public services) is this:

  • scrap the myth of 'choice' (because the public don't want a choice of hospitals, they want a good hospital)
  • scrap targets (because they don't work and people spend their time trying to massage the statistics)
  • scrap specifications (because they're wrong and they don't work)
  • scrap inspections (because they're expensive to do and to prepare for and they only serve to ensure that people are doing the wrong thing correctly – meeting bad specifications)
  • scrap 'deliverology' (because it's nonsense)
  • scrap the obsession with sharing administrative and back-office services in huge call centres and 'data warehouses' (because they don't work half as well as front offices where people talk to the public)
  • scrap the Audit Commission (because it's a white elephant)
  • scrap the centralised regime that oversees the disastrous public sector (because it is the problem)

Then use systems thinking to understand and fix problems and deliver joined-up public services that ...

  • work better
  • work faster
  • save money
  • delight the public and
  • delight the people who deliver those services.

This book offers practical examples of how 'systems thinking' can both save money and transform services.

"There is currently a lot of talk of 'designing services around customers', of 'better community engagement', and of 'innovation in the front line'; all laudable ideas but with little more than hope that they will produce improvements in services.  This book showcases exactly how to go about realising those hopes; it lays out clearly the method to be adopted and demonstrates the results that can be achieved. It should be the first thing anyone aspiring to improve our public services should read." Andy Nutter, Director of Governance and Transformation, Islington Council