Monday, 13 July 2009

This blog is moving

Hello peeps. I'm moving my blog to Wordpress cos it's better. Please see I've moved all the old posts so it's the same blog, just in a different place. Thanks!

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

NHS innovation expo

I was really impressed by the innovation expo event last week. Enough
to warrant a more complete posting, to cover the main points:

1. Why does social care appear to be the poor cousin to health care? I
attended a great talk by David Behan, Director General of Social Care
where he frightened everyone with demographics (the rate at which we
can keep people alive longer is outpacing the rate we can keep them
healthy longer), expectation (baby boomers aren't going into care
homes quietly) and technology (where he basically said WTF!). All in
all it was a brilliant call to arms, to defuse a service timebomb, but
his frustration was palpable. Very few had read his centrepiece
document, so he was struggling to have the debate. I'm hoping to speak
to him again soon.

2. Design: it's a chick thing. I couldn't put my finger on what was
different about this conference until it clicked. About 60% of
delegates were women. This made for a different feel to the whole
event. And a few discussions with the other service designers out
there confirmed my suspicion that it's female NHS staff that are spear
heading the growth of service design in the UK. They get it faster and
more intuitively. Which doesn't mean we shouldn't shy away from
converting captains of industry, but useful to know the softer markets.

3. Service design. No really! I sat watching Lord Darzi get laughs
from an audience of 1,000 people as he mapped a typical journey
through the healthcare system. All the to'ing and fro'ing was
ridiculous. All the mistakes tragic and wasteful. But what a great
message to deliver so close to his pubchlubr - "the NHS must innovate
or die." service design was truly centre stage.

And Chief Exec David Nicholson added more the next day, admitting that
the staff had it right all along - it's the patient stupid! Not the
targets. If we chase targets we'll end up in a perversion of
healthcare, aimed less at wellness, and more at box ticking. And as
everyone had got by that stage, that way lies NHS bankruptcy.

4. Tele health. With a father and father in law both ill with long
term conditions, this really interested me. Within about 10 years I'll
be able to monitor the activity and health of ageing relatives on my
laptop and phone, via a host of widgets tracking all sorts of things.
A bit big brother maybe, but a compromise for continued independence.
I'm also really interested in the opportunities this opens for service
designers, taking away some of the environmental restrictions of
hospitals. Add in the ambulances of the future (minor surgery on your
doorstep) and you begin to wonder...

Friday, 19 June 2009

NHS Innovation Expo 2009

Attended both days of this great conference. Was impressed with the thirst for service design, even more so than last year's event. More than 60% of delegates were female, and I hope I'm not stereotyping when I say women just get service design quicker and more intuitively than men.

Anyway - fully energised. Will digest the material and post more later.

Thursday, 28 May 2009

1900s service design

I was at a National Trust house a couple of weeks ago, and found this great little bit of early 1900s service design in the kitchen. I say "the kitchen" as if it was just a kitchen, but it was a collection of 4 rooms, used on a daily basis by 15 members of staff. Clearly the challenge with so many people making use of all the kitchen supplies, it was very difficult for the supplies manager to keep tabs on what's in or out of stock. This Household Wants Indicator is a very nifty solution. If you notice something is running low, you find the product in the list and flip the indicator from white to red. Simple, effective and far neater than a scruffy blackboard.

I used it as stimulus when I got my colleagues to redesign the office kitchen, which holds a limited range of supplies. Could you image how big it would need to be for a domestic kitchen, with the massive range of products available these days?

Anyway - a cool bit of service design...

Look outwards, not upwards

A great call to arms by the Health Service Journal for PCTs to look to their service users rather than to central government in a quest to make change. Power to the people.

Scene recognition engines

Quite blown away by this scene recognition demo. I heard some chap from Cisco talking about it last year, but to watch this demo, is to believe it. Find out more on the chap's blog. An obvious next thing. Might need to improve iPhone batteries though;)

Friday, 15 May 2009

Some cool things from the week

I've kept returning to this all week - a blog post by Mike Arauz about how agencies should offer 100 sparkly digital ideas, and not so much one big fat website. I like this idea very much.

I also mean to watch this, hopefully once I've actually watched Us Now!

And I need to write up the results of the little service design challenge I gave my colleagues yesterday - to re-design the office kitchen. Lots of designers with lots of great ideas. From the conversations in the pub last night, it worked.