Designing new public services presentation
I've had lots of requests from people who heard me speak at conferences in the US recently for a copy of my slides. The presentation sets out why we need a new generation of public services and a new(design-led) method of creating them. I talked about our two healthcare projects, designing for behaviour change and transformation design. Click here for a pdf of the presentation and a (very) rough transcript.
Hilary talks about public services with Jeremy Paxman
We've mentioned Newsnight's series on the world's best public services before. The series culminated with a debate hosted by Jeremy Paxman and including RED Director, Hilary Cottam, amongst a group of experts, academics and front-line public service employees. The show was on Newsnight on Wednesday, 13 September on BBC TWO, and you can watch a replay here.
The fall and rise of public services
Newsnight is sending reporters across the globe to seek out "the best public services in the world". The series culminates in a debate involving the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) and Policy Exhange on the future of public services in Britain. Here, Nick Pearce from the IPPR looks at the public service picture across the world.
PM embraces healthy living
RED set an ambitious agenda last year for healthy living. We set out to help people live well with diabetes and live active lifestyles as they grew older. Last week the PM made a speech embracing this agenda committing the government to action to tackle our unhealthy lifestyles. This is really welcome. Well done TB!
Who's got the best public services in the world?
Beginning tonight, Newsnight is running a series of films looking at the best public services in the world.
Newsnight viewers will be asked to tell Jeremy and Co where governments have got it right on health care, transport, education, criminal justice and so on.
Tune in for the first instalment tonight â€“ and check out the Newsnight website for more information.
One of our potential themes for future RED work is Ageing. There was an interesting article in the Guardian on a different approach to nursing homes and care for older people in the Netherlands which is in the extended entry here. What do you think about the potential for ‘designing-out’ the need for old people’s homes? Could new recreation and wellbeing services prevent or allay the ills of later life? Do let us know what you think or forward any other examples of innovation in this sector.
Card for learning has lessons for health?
Initial brainstorms on the health project raised questions around the potential for smart cards for health. It is interesting to see that findings of a recent evaluation
by the DfES and MORI has found the Connexions Card Project – aiming to encourage young people to remain in learning and improve career and lifestyle choices - has not reached it’s original aims. One observation is that the cards tend to be used only by the more highly qualified and accessible young people..
Every police force should have a Design Champion
"There needs to be nothing short of a revolution in the design of police buildings" according to Ben Rogers of ippr. Re-Inventing the Police Station: Police-Public Relations, Reassurance and the Future of the Police Estate, was published by ippr last week. The report claims that the design of police stations is a barrier to good public service, and has failed to keep pace with changing times. Police stations are intimidating and alienating places to visit and their design could undermine the Government's plans for more personalised and responsive public services - the report can be downloaded from ippr's website
Platforms for social innovation
The excellent brief is to 'design platforms for social innovation' - something that enables people to organise daily life activities in new ways. Our Health project is not going to be ready in time but you still have untill the end of the month to enter.
Find out more in this pdf
Open Welfare: designs on the public good
Hilary Cottam and Charles Leadbeater have co-authored a summary paper in the lead up to a Red pilot project in health later this year. The paper provides an overview of how an Open approach may be applied where traditional models of public service delivery are proving to be increasingly limited. The potential being for utilising broader social creativity to develop low cost, innovative and personalised services with a focus on self-management. The pilot project is due to commence in the Autumn and the Red unit welcomes any interest or comment. Download file
To get better answers you have to ask better questions
I spent last Saturday morning in a draughty school hall in Whitechapel for a meeting on crime and anti-social behavior. The 3 hour meeting was a chance for the council, the police and the local anti-social behavior unit (ASBU) to inform and consult the local community. A chance to make local residents aware of the services available to them and to understand what they perceive to be the issues around crime and anti-social behavior.
Ignoring the not insignificant problems with crime in this area (burnt-out homes, racial abuse, graffiti - the 'youth' are responsible for all of it), the 'consultation' itself was shocking. Although the meeting was pitched as 'the communities' chance to tell us what we should spend on to improve the crime situation', it quickly became an aggressive exchange between embittered local residents, the council and police bodies.
The residents felt they hadn't been listened to in the last seven years - why should they be listened to now. The ASBU defended everything they weren't doing and the local councilors were only concerned in promoting the things they personally had achieved in the last years. All thoroughly unconstructive.
The meeting was 'facilitated' by an independent agency, but it seemed facilitation was more about ordering the food and the video projector than creating the right context for constructive exchange. The key skills of the faciliator himself were to be the biggest person in the room with the loudest voice.
There must be an opportunity to improve this kind of consultation event. This is the only one I've ever been to but I suspect that it is not an isolated example of bad practice. The councils already have a rhetoric of listening to residents - but not one of understanding them. I also suspect that they don't have any experience of how events could be better than this, or how much value they could actually get out of them.
The methods and techniques designers use to create the right conditions for a productive workshop and a basic understanding of user research could go a long way of improving these event for all involved. Councils could be helped to ask better questions and get more value from the answers, they also need help in communicating what they have achieved. It's not that LAP3 hadn't done anything - they just hadn't told anyone about it.
Innovative Public Procurement - DARPA style
DARPA have been working on developing unmanned vehicles for the military for over a decade - and without much success. Now that the Pentagon want a third of their vehicles to operate unmanned by 2015, DARPA have had to search for a radical solution- so they're running a 'Grand Challenge': A million dollars for the fastest unmanned vehicle across a prescribed course between LA and Las Vegas on 13 March 2005.
Initially they expected 50 or so entrants - they've had closer to 200, including some of the leading figures in robotics, who admit they wouldn't usually work on defense contracts. $1 million might sound like a lot of money - but DAPA reckon one entry alone is already worth $25 million in donated time and hardware and nobody has crossed the finish line yet. What's more DARPA will reserve the right to military usage of the technology whilst the teams themselves maintain their IP for non-military applications. And we thought brainstorming was a smart way to get a lot of ideas fast.
Read more in Wired ...