Becoming a thinkist.

This section reflects on some key areas of research, including conferences I have attended, places I have visited and influential people I have met during this project. These ventures have been critical to my development as a designer, how I interpret the design process, the design of services and design thinking. It is also important to highlight the Douceurs project was created in parallel with my dissertation, entitled; “The Evolving Field of Service Design”. This enabled me to learn more about my role as a designer, become service minded and develop an ability to understand complex systems. I have embraced the notion of design thinking, put it into practice and explored the concept as a subject itself.

Reflections:

  1. The Need
  2. Visualisation
  3. Project Reactions
  4. User Testing and creating the video.
  5. Event: Intersections07. Gateshead, Newcastle. October 2007.
  6. Event: Dott Festival 07. Newcastle Gateshead.
  7. Event: ISDN 3. Northumbria University, Newcastle. March 2007.
  8. Event: International Service Design Conference.24-26th Nov 08. Holland.
  9. Sharing Knowledge.
  10. Final Thoughts

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1. The Need

The responses from the newspaper advert highlight the market for Douceurs. The advert evoked an enthusiastic response from people ages 15-60+. Without knowing any details about Douceurs, all these people were keen to be involved and learn more purely because they all shared the characteristics of a typical service user.

“I empathise with your project, and I am glad to see you are pursuing this space as there is a lot of room for improvement” Hayes Raffle, interaction designer.

Regular contact with these people enabled testing on a wide range of age groups.

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2. Visualisation

Throughout Douceurs I have filled numerous sketchbooks; visualization and story telling have been key mediums to convey my thinking. The project has been enthusiastically documented via various blogs and web sites. This has encouraged personal reflection. Photography and film making have been a crucial tools in portraying my design thinking to members of the public.

sketch_book

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3. Project Reactions:

  • Gill Wildman: “Beautifully poetic…a great atmospheric way into the subject – not too emotional, and definitely a clear proposition. A real joy to watch.”
  • Focus Group Member: “Douceurs has the potential to become the most meaningful communication medium as it is such a thought provoking process.”
  • Graham Pullin: “Admirably simple and beautifully rich concept.”
  • Gillian Cramption-Smith: “The future is shifting pleasure, status and cultural status from what we have but what we do.”

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4. User Testing and creating the video.

Further interviews were carried out with the video participants. After they had written their letter to the future, I then visited them in their homes to find out more.

Margaret is aged 70+ years old, she divorced many years ago and lives alone – never having had any children. She lives an active life and is a keen gardener. Margaret has a strong relationship with her sister, they go for lunch every Sunday. Having studied for many years of her life and had a successful career as an English teacher she is very knowledgeable with regards to the english language and etiquette. She often writes letters and keeps diaries and journals.

Having recently completed a large project researching her family history Margaret wrote a letter of legacy to her niece to tell of her findings and encourage her niece to find the missing pieces in the family tree.

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Jonathan, is 18 years old, he lives in student halls of residence with four other boys of similar ages. Having recently moved out of home he has embarked upon life at University studying Physics. He is an excellent football player and a keen musician. He plays drums, piano and guitar. He is part of a band in which he plays drums. Jonathan is a very family person, with a close relationship to both his parents and his older sister. He is very intelligent and likes to make people laugh. Jonathan wrote a letter of future thoughts to himself as he liked the thought of capturing what his life is like now, at 18, and receiving it when he is ‘old and married.’

jonathan

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Shona, is 40+ years old, she’s in the process of moving house. She lives in Perth with her two children – Ally aged 22 and Nicky aged 19, whom she is close to. Shona has an identical twin sister and works in a pharmacy in town. She loves to cook and enjoys learning new recipes. Shona likes to travel and often goes on trips abroad. Shona wrote a letter of hopes and dreams to her son Alastair as he is soon to start a second degree at university. She wanted the letter to be delivered in 6 years when her son is soon to graduate again to remind him of her love for him.

shona

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5. Intersections. October 2007, Gateshead, Newcastle.

Groundbreaking designers from different disciplines told stories at Intersections about what they have learned lately, what they expect to learn next, and why. The conference also featured lively debate between path-finding designers and thinkers with different views on how designers should prepare for the future. As the only under-graduate at this event, it was an invaluable experience. Sharing ideas with John Thackara was a great opportunity and he really helped focus thoughts with regards to service design

intersections

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6. Dott Festival 07. Newcastle Gateshead.

This festival was an important landmark for the world of service design. The exhibition illustrated a year of community projects, events and exhibitions based in North East England that explore what life in a sustainable region might look like – and how design might help get us there.

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7. ISDN 3. Northumbria University, Newcastle (March 2007)

The ISDN3 two day conference researched emerging methods and practices within Service Design, placing people in the middle of a designed outcome and the process. Held at Northumbria University School of Design that has an international reputation for design education, innovation and real-world creativity.

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8. International Service Design Conference.24-26th Nov 08.Holland.

This was the very first International conference dedicated entirely to Service Design. This European conference took place in the beautiful city of Amsterdam, Holland. With 168 participants, 18 speakers and 7 workshops.header-photo

 

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9. Sharing Knowledge.

I was asked to share my insights from Intersections with the 2nd year Product Design/Interactive Media Design students. This was a new experience for me and interesting as it forced me to reflect on how my thinking had evolved in the past four years. I helped them identify key skills designers need in order to be successful in this new design climate. I designed a ‘creativity tool’ that involved writing continually for one minute all the skills and qualities they regard as critical for success. We then cut these words up and arranged them in a hierarchy – this enabled the students to create a tangible outcome to the session of design thinking.

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10. Final Thoughts

In conclusion, Douceurs has been an insightful and enjoyable project. Through the process of anthropological research and co-design methodologies I have met many amazing people and uncovered a forgotten love for the written word (myself and others).

As the world becomes more technologically advanced, I believe we all need reminding of the simpler beauties in life. Douceurs takes elements of the postal service to a new and contemporary level of user engagement. There is a strong future ahead for this service in others areas of society, such as the education system. I believe Douceurs has huge potential as it adopts a strong connection with people of all ages and backgrounds.

The insight for the service design has come from real people with real lives. Douceurs is a new and innovative response to the loss of post offices and has the promise of infiltrating our lives many years from now.

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