“What is a design sprint and how do they work?” you ask. I had the same questions before my first foray into the sprinting world. So if you are uncertain about what service design approaches can really unlock for your company, this blog is for you — come and dip your toe in with me…

By Caroline Ingman — Marketing Manager, Spotless

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At Spotless we like to practice what we preach. We believe that design sprints can unlock powerful insights into your service; What better subject matter to sprint on than that of our own company? Last week, we took ourselves off to sunny Derbyshire do some meta-mini-sprinting — design sprints about design sprints- and also about our working methods, culture and our USP. Get your mental trainers on!

As a business, we are a tight-knit team of 20 people; We are made up of Service Designers, Experience Consultants, Researchers, Project Managers, Clients Services directors, Business Development execs and Marketers. We discuss what we are working on but the nature of design thinking means that we can often go full-ostrich into our own projects, get dispersed through remote user testing, and rely heavily on sharing insights via cloud based documents and Slack. It was time to apply our own methods and tools to our own business, become more collaborative, and boot out the inertia that can creep into the process of turning great ideas into part of our business practices. …

Is the sharing economy a lot of hot air?

By Caroline Butler

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How has the Airbnb effect impacted long term renting, communities, and tourism?

Airbnb started in 2007 with Joe Gebbia and Brian Chesky blowing up air beds and renting out of their floor space, taking advantage of demand outstripping supply. The first two guests to enjoy ‘air bed and breakfast’ were conference attendees unable to get hotel accommodation in Denver.

Since that first air bed was blown up, Airbnb has ballooned into a multibillion-dollar global phenomenon. It is cited as one of the companies that has helped shape the ‘sharing economy’, a new way of tapping into unused capacity and providing goods and services. …

by Ben Logan

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Ben Logan

This was my first Agency Summit event, held at The Ned on August 2nd, which pitched itself as ‘A Day of Inspiration for Agency Leaders’ and I have to say it very much lived up to this claim. The event run by Ian Harris, had a really relaxed informal vibe to it, with both the speakers and attendees being really open with their stories. Running an agency can be both an amazing and challenging thing, and participating in a conference aimed at people with shared experiences really struck a chord with me. As a business owner, not every topic you might want to explore can be posted on LinkedIn, without (sadly) the risk of being shouted down, or two plus two equaling five. …

…. In part two we look at how the design of a building can shape politics and a country’s future

By Caroline Butler

Too much order, order?

British Parliament is one of the oldest continuous representative assemblies in the world. The House of Commons, in the Palace of Westminster, UK is based on the design of Convocation House, at Oxford University. With its two groups of facing benches and the speaker’s chair, the design was created to stimulate tension and encourage lively, heated debates. …

by Caroline Butler

Who gets left out in user-centred design?

Through my work as a UX designer and now as a Service Designer at Spotless, I have helped to craft products and services centred around the user — with their needs and the needs of the business being the focus of the design decisions.

As designers, researchers and strategists we’ve been talking about the merits of taking this user centred design approach for sometime now. This approach has created winners; those people who can successfully use and be delighted by products and services that support them to achieve their goals.

However, having a target audience at the centre of the design also creates losers. It creates problems for those left behind, for those not considered in the design process and is causing wider issues for society .

How we worked with Saint-Gobain to facilitate the design of more liveable, enjoyable spaces

As a designer, it’s easy to want to control the entire process from end to end — no matter what you’re designing. But the harder task, often, is implementing a robust system that facilitates great design.

This was our challenge when we worked with Saint-Gobain, a major construction brand with around 300 sub-brands operating in the UK and globally. Saint-Gobain’s aim was to make it easier for their customers — architects, quantity surveyors, procurement and estate managers— to design for wellbeing in spaces.

We worked with them to understand how these key customers make decisions about modelling and materials, leveraging internal knowledge and distilling contextual interviews to design a robust future roadmap for the company. …

Last year on 2nd August 2017, humans had already used up their allowance for water, soil, clean air and other resources on Earth for the whole of 2017, according to environmental groups WWF and the Global Footprint Network. This is known as ‘Earth Overshoot Day’ and the date last year was earlier than in 2016, which means humanity was surviving on “credit” until 31 December 2017.

“This means that in seven months, we emitted more carbon than the oceans and forests can absorb in a year, we caught more fish, felled more trees, harvested more, and consumed more water than the Earth was able to produce in the same period,” reported WWF and the Global Footprint Network. None of this is really sustainable in the long term. As a father of a two year old son, (who is soon to have a brother), these things start to enter your conscience more, thinking about the world they will be growing up in 30 years from now. …

What service design can learn from (good) graphic design

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Service designers are often asked if their roles are visionary or practical, broad or technical. Should the service designer simply be a charismatic advocate of the “users-first” mantra, or should he be an experienced researcher with the ability to turn analysis into high-fidelity outcomes?

The answer to this question is simply “yes.” While the definition of service design has yet to fully coalesce, one word that comes up in nearly every definition is holistic. Service design is concerned with end-to-end journeys; it takes a step back to view the forest. But it also sees every single leaf on every single tree. It sees how the sun affects those leaves, when they fall, who eats them. …

When it comes to ethnography, clients can unknowingly interfere with the collection of reliable data. Learn the best ways to run ethnographic research when you have clients present.

As a researcher, I love ethnography. It’s a fantastic research method that gets me out of the lab and into a participant’s real-life environment. This allows me to gather rich feedback about context of use, which is not always possible to replicate in an artificial environment. Good ethno takes a lot of planning. There’s the logistics of transporting and setting up the necessary equipment in a short space of time and ensuring that you are respectful of the fact that you are in someone’s home or workplace. …

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“Keep Calm and Carry On”, the famous British motivational poster first espoused in 1939. Such messaging was thought up by the UK government to keep us proud of our stiff upper lip as we dealt with the drudgery of daily life. And we do. But the lives of those living in the UK have changed immeasurably since the advent of the famous poster, and the recent mid-winter NHS crises is reason to shake our Keep Calm attitude and start taking action in healthcare innovation.

In 1942, we saw the birth of the National Health Service, a public institution framed as “medical treatment covering all requirements [that] will be provided for all citizens” by Sir William Beveridge. As honourable as his sentiment was, Beveridge’s intentions have not carried through to today. For an individual attempting to navigate this complexity and use NHS services, the experience can seem a bewildering and frustrating one. Extracts of a leaked government taskforce report published in the Guardian (though later claimed by NHS England to not be a final version of the report), starkly set out some of the challenges faced by those seeking help from England’s mental health services, often considered to be less important than physical health within the NHS. The task force’s study revealed that medical needs are not being attended to early enough. Ten percent of young children, it found, are having their appointments cancelled as a result of staff shortages. The study also reported that more a quarter of people with severe mental health problems need more support than is currently on offer, and many are at serious risk of self-neglect. …



Spotless are a London-based Service Design agency situated in the heart of the thriving digital district in Shoreditch. https://www.spotless.co.uk/

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