Horizon Scanning

I’ll be in Nottingham next week giving a lecture as part of the intriguingly  named Horizon Scanning Lecture Series, for  MA/MSc Smart Design & MA Product Futures Lecture series at  Nottingham Trent University. 

This is the blurb:  Hazel White develops products and services to demonstrate how we can usefully embed technology in our lives. In 2012 she was supported by the Scottish Funding Council to develop KISTproject with the Children’s Hospice Association Scotland (CHAS) and children with life-shortening conditions, their families and carers to develop systems using bespoke, playful objects to enable independent access to online communication.

In 2009-10 she developed Hamefarers’ Kist, a networked interactive device to enable older people, health and care professionals re-imagine products and services for older people. It has been exhibited and disseminated through public and professional health seminars and is the subject of a case study in a forthcoming book from the Center for Assistive Technologies and Environmental Access (CATEA) at Georgia Institute of Technology. In 2009 she led research to develop tools for Deutsche Telekom, Berlin to engage multi-disciplinary teams in the development of information and communication products and systems for older people. In 2007 she won an AHRC grant for a project which used jewellery artefacts to gain insights from a range of users into new uses for wearable technology. Hazel’s research and practice is moving into Design for Services – her students have been working on forensic jewellery identification systems, re-use of tents at music festivals and digital accessories to comfort those going into care.  In the last 12 months Hazel and her students and graduates have facilitated workshops with representatives from the Scottish Government, all 14 Scottish NHS Boards, the Police, the Crown Prosecution Service and Social Services using design methods to elicit insights and future visions. She was recently a keynote speaker at the launch of the Global Service Design Network in the UK.  Hazel is Director of the Master of Design for Services Programme at the University of Dundee.


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BBC R&D Internet of Things

Quick notes on the BBC R&D unconference event in early November. The purpose of the event was:  to share ideas and capture thoughts about ‘playful’ IoT futures to advance IoT thinking in new domains like media, entertainment, storytelling, games and toys. The invite was extended to leaders and disruptors in this area, from makers, researchers, and academics to toy and game designers, artists and writers.

It was great to hear Durrell Bishop talking about a number of projects with Luckybites for berg, including the moshi mosters app and plush monsters – both toys which have an iphone inserted and with an app delivers content.  The plush monster can play podcasts of children’s stories., which made  me think of possibilities for Jo Hodge’s PhD research into toys and accessories to help children and parents who are seperated through illness, work or family breakdown keep in touch. Luckybites had also created the moster app for a moshi monsters toy, available at Argos, where the app enables:

four fun ways to play in Monster, Dress-up, Super Moshi or DJ Mode. Poke your monster in the eye, dress him, even listen to music through him!

The toy becomes part of a services connecting the hardware ‘toy’ with updatable content.  The conversation continued onto Toy talk – an Internet enabled toy by a couple of people who have left Pixar – to be released next year.

Another interesting talk was a short and to the point one from Steve Benford from the Horizon Digital Economy Research Centre at the
University of Nottingham on aestheticodes. These are a kind of QR code, which follows simple computational rules, enabling patterns and illustrations to to be computer readable markers. Steve talked about how it had been used by London restaurant Busaba on placemats and other items to create an experience both whilst in dining in the restaurant and afterwards (recipe downloads etc.). This may potentially have some application for our KISTproject with the Children’s Hospice Association Scotland (CHAS), enabling children, their families and carers to create their own codes on objects to link to the stories of their lives.

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Child death review: learning the lessons, differently

Each year in the UK around 260 children die or are seriously harmed and £5 million is spent “learning the lessons”. The same “lessons” have been emerging since the first UK child death inquiry in 1945 without noticeable impact on child fatalities.

Child Death Review (CDR) processes in the UK have evolved almost exclusively from social work. The Scottish Universities Insight Institute are hosting a knowledge transfer event headed by Alyson Leslie, Linda Walker and Professor Sue Black from the University of Dundee. The aim is to think about child death review processes differently, bringing together expertise from the fields of forensic investigation, psychology, education, design, statistics, policing, law, social work and health.

Next week I’ll be responsible for design facilitation at the first of four CDR events over the coming months at the Lighthouse in Glasgow. Recent Master of Design graduates Sara Nevay and Angela Tulloch will be working with me to enable participants to use  design techniques to quickly understand the roles of the forty national and international co-participants, mapping their relationship to the child at the centre of the Child Death Review and exploring the information that they collect pertaining to the life and death of a child.

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Dredd to Hope

When the first Judge Dredd film, starring Sylvester Stallone was in production, I was working for London prop-maker Martin Adams – I band sawed out the formers for the armour, cast and engraved the epaulettes, and did the polishing strategy for the helmets. As the second Judge Dredd film is released I’m sewing  fabric fobs to enable children who can’t communicate share their stories online, teaching co-design – enabling everyone to be involved in designing the things that make our lives better and working on design strategy with the NHS, Social Services and businesses. It’s the same thing in a way, you make things to help people imagine a different world.

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Transforming Outpatient Services

Transforming Outpatient Services – Design for Service

Recently I’ve been working with NHS Scotland and the Scottish Government and colleagues and students from the Master of Design Programme at the University of Dundee to re-imagine outpatient services.

In the year ending March 2011 there were 4,558,000 visits to outpatients in Scotland. This is the equivalent of almost every person in Scotland being seen in outpatients once a year. To create a service which meets the expectations of users, providers and commissioners, some radical re-thinking is necessary.

In 2012 the Scottish Governments’ Government’s Quality & Efficiency Support Team (QuEST) and NHS Scotland brought together consultants, GPs patient representatives and service managers from Scotland’s 14 health boards in two half-day workshops with the objective of a radical re-think of outpatient services. I was invited to facilitate the two innovation sessions to develop principles for the 2020 vision of Outpatient Services as outlined by the NHS Primary Care, Community and Outpatients Quality and Efficiency Support Team. A range of design methods were used, including RIP + MIX, speed networking, patient personas and backcasting to enable participants to think creatively about the future. My key takeaways were that the people that we want to take the flak when things go wrong are the people who have the best ideas about how we can be enabled to move beyond a patriarchal system to a place where we can understand and manage our own health. We need to listen to them.

A paper I’m preparing for the Faculty of Pubic Health conference discusses the results of the two workshops, both in terms of the efficacy of the methods which led to rapid sharing of leading-edge practice and the development of themes focussing on empowerment, flexibility and the creative use of technology and draws conclusions on the role and value of design as part of an innovation process in healthcare.

Keywords: facilitating innovation, outpatients, design, innovation methods

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Pecha Kucha

Thanks to Gillian and Lyall at Creative Dundee for organising and doing such a great job of bringing Pecha Kucha to Dundee and making it one of the best reasons to get a babysitter. You can see my talk here about our new Design for Services course.

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KISTproject gets underway

The KISTproject brings together design researchers from the University of Dundee with The Children’s Hospice Association Scotland (CHAS) to co-design, develop and test a prototype of a system which enables access to the internet using simple hand held objects as ‘remote controls’. Many CHAS residents have conditions which cause their motor functions to diminish over time, making it increasingly difficult for them to use computers for socialising and entertainment, without assistance.

Craft workshops in March and May 2012 bring together children, parents and carers at CHAS to imagine and make toys and accessories which enable children to independently access their favourite websites.

The outcome of the this stage of the project is a prototype device which enables young people in CHAS to independently access online content using engaging co-designed toys and accessories.

The project is funded by the Scottish Funding Council through the Interface Innovation Voucher Scheme

The project has been co-developed by Hazel White, director of the Master of Design programme at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art (DJCAD), University of Dundee and Jo Hodge, PhD student at DJCAD.
CHAS have contributed time, expertise and enthusiasm through CEO Maria McGill and activities co-ordinator Alison Blair and the many CHAS staff and volunteers.
Paul MacKinnon from DJCAD has looked after the programming and technical development
Sara Nevay, Master of Design student at DJCAD is project managing.

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