WP_Query Object ( [query] => Array ( [s] => ) [query_vars] => Array ( [s] => [error] => [m] => [p] => 0 [post_parent] => [subpost] => [subpost_id] => [attachment] => [attachment_id] => 0 [name] => [pagename] => [page_id] => 0 [second] => [minute] => [hour] => [day] => 0 [monthnum] => 0 [year] => 0 [w] => 0 [category_name] => [tag] => [cat] => [tag_id] => [author] => [author_name] => [feed] => [tb] => [paged] => 0 [meta_key] => [meta_value] => [preview] => [sentence] => [title] => [fields] => [menu_order] => [embed] => [category__in] => Array ( ) [category__not_in] => Array ( ) [category__and] => Array ( ) [post__in] => Array ( ) [post__not_in] => Array ( ) [post_name__in] => Array ( ) [tag__in] => Array ( ) [tag__not_in] => Array ( ) [tag__and] => Array ( ) [tag_slug__in] => Array ( ) [tag_slug__and] => Array ( ) [post_parent__in] => Array ( ) [post_parent__not_in] => Array ( ) [author__in] => Array ( ) [author__not_in] => Array ( ) [ignore_sticky_posts] => [suppress_filters] => [cache_results] => 1 [update_post_term_cache] => 1 [lazy_load_term_meta] => 1 [update_post_meta_cache] => 1 [post_type] => any [posts_per_page] => 100 [nopaging] => [comments_per_page] => 50 [no_found_rows] => [order] => DESC ) [tax_query] => WP_Tax_Query Object ( [queries] => Array ( ) [relation] => AND [table_aliases:protected] => Array ( ) [queried_terms] => Array ( ) [primary_table] => wp_pbc_snook_posts [primary_id_column] => ID ) [meta_query] => WP_Meta_Query Object ( [queries] => Array ( ) [relation] => [meta_table] => [meta_id_column] => [primary_table] => [primary_id_column] => [table_aliases:protected] => Array ( ) [clauses:protected] => Array ( ) [has_or_relation:protected] => ) [date_query] => [queried_object] => [queried_object_id] => [request] => SELECT SQL_CALC_FOUND_ROWS wp_pbc_snook_posts.ID FROM wp_pbc_snook_posts WHERE 1=1 AND wp_pbc_snook_posts.post_type IN ('post', 'page', 'attachment', 'work', 'jobs', 'people') AND (wp_pbc_snook_posts.post_status = 'publish' OR wp_pbc_snook_posts.post_status = 'acf-disabled') ORDER BY wp_pbc_snook_posts.menu_order, wp_pbc_snook_posts.post_date DESC LIMIT 0, 100 [posts] => Array ( [0] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 19669 [post_author] => 94 [post_date] => 2020-09-11 09:58:32 [post_date_gmt] => 2020-09-11 09:58:32 [post_content] => Outside of Snook, you’ll likely find him out for a run, listening to podcasts, watching Marvel movies and spending time with his family and ever growing number of animals [post_title] => Harry Potia [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => harry-potia [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2020-09-17 14:17:45 [post_modified_gmt] => 2020-09-17 14:17:45 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://wearesnook.com/?post_type=people&p=19669 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => people [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [1] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 19666 [post_author] => 94 [post_date] => 2020-09-11 09:56:20 [post_date_gmt] => 2020-09-11 09:56:20 [post_content] => Eleanor has extensive experience in designing with accessibility and inclusivity at heart, from traditional digital products to accessible brands. Her design capability spans user interface, user experience, and interaction design as well as graphic design, branding and illustration. She has extensive experience in design leadership and working in multi-disciplinary teams. Eleanor brings empathy, curiosity and bravery to her work delivering design for everyone. Eleanor thinks by drawing and enjoys making things; literally getting her hands dirty with gardening, ceramics, woodwork, and general fixing and fettling. A lover of nature, Eleanor likes to get outside and spend time with critters large and small, and loves to share that passion with others; ask her about efts. [post_title] => Eleanor Howell [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => eleanor-howell [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2020-09-11 09:56:20 [post_modified_gmt] => 2020-09-11 09:56:20 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://wearesnook.com/?post_type=people&p=19666 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => people [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [2] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 19662 [post_author] => 94 [post_date] => 2020-09-11 09:53:59 [post_date_gmt] => 2020-09-11 09:53:59 [post_content] => Perla loves that her job means talking to many different people, understanding what they need the most and making sure that the services that affect them are designed to be easy to use. She is a big picture thinker and gets frustrated by the barriers to end-users that are created as a result of siloed working, so will bring the right people together to make sure positive change happens. Perla completed a masters in Digital Anthropology where her ethnographic research focused on the barriers older people face accessing public services online; she is passionate about digital inclusion. She loves quantitative research too (once upon a time she studied Maths and Philosophy) and finds nothing better than a good spreadsheet. She paints in her spare time, but her real guilty pleasure is reality TV. [post_title] => Perla Rembiszewski [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => perla-rembiszewski [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2020-09-11 09:53:59 [post_modified_gmt] => 2020-09-11 09:53:59 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://wearesnook.com/?post_type=people&p=19662 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => people [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [3] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 19659 [post_author] => 94 [post_date] => 2020-09-11 09:00:51 [post_date_gmt] => 2020-09-11 09:00:51 [post_content] => Rhiann is a bit of a duracell bunny, only sleeping 6 hours a day max! You can often find her at the gym, the athletics track or in the pool collecting all those exercise-related endorphins. If she’s not there she will either be singing, songwriting, playing her guitar or trying to learn a new language. This year it is Portuguese and Japanese! 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She led a complex research programme aimed at defining the future of policing services across the UK. She also has extensive experience working with retail banks to shape their services around a more realistic and empathetic view of customer’s financial reality. You can talk to her about how design can enable more people to adopt sustainable behaviours and habits.  An islander from Tahiti, Aurelie loves spending time in nature and near the sea when the sun is out. When it gets cold, you’ll also find her expressing her creative self through embroidery, weaving, pottery, and maybe one day DJing. [post_title] => Aurelie Lionet [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => aurelie-lionet [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2020-09-11 08:59:24 [post_modified_gmt] => 2020-09-11 08:59:24 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://wearesnook.com/?post_type=people&p=19656 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => people [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [5] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 19640 [post_author] => 94 [post_date] => 2020-09-10 14:58:41 [post_date_gmt] => 2020-09-10 14:58:41 [post_content] => Outside of Snook, Sophie loves to sing. You will often find Sophie going to gigs and eating falafel. When she gets time, Sophie designs cards and donates the profits to charity - something that comes in handy for colleagues last minute without having to leave the office! [post_title] => Sophie Rankin [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => sophie-rankin [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2020-09-10 15:04:51 [post_modified_gmt] => 2020-09-10 15:04:51 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://wearesnook.com/?post_type=people&p=19640 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => people [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [6] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 19632 [post_author] => 94 [post_date] => 2020-09-10 14:22:08 [post_date_gmt] => 2020-09-10 14:22:08 [post_content] => Matthew studied Political Sociology at The London School of Economics and Political Science and has since built his career working in design and research agencies in London. He has conducted research across the globe for public, private and third sector clients, working on a broad range of projects from the future of work to informal education. Matthew has a keen interest in Art, Design, Music and Photography. Outside of Snook, you can often find him designing and building furniture, rock climbing and taking pictures of the people and places around him. He is also an avid reader and is always looking for a good book recommendation. [post_title] => Matthew Moutos [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => matthew-moutos [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2020-09-10 14:22:08 [post_modified_gmt] => 2020-09-10 14:22:08 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://wearesnook.com/?post_type=people&p=19632 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => people [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [7] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 19630 [post_author] => 94 [post_date] => 2020-09-07 15:02:23 [post_date_gmt] => 2020-09-07 15:02:23 [post_content] =>

About the company

Snook are on a mission to design a world that works better for people. We work with organisations to design more effective services which help people thrive. We do this by engaging with users, building digital products, training our clients, and much more. This year we’re ten years old. In the past five years, we’ve scaled to more than double our original size when we started up in Scotland. We’ve opened a London office and our team is approaching 70 people. And we’ve worked with brilliant clients — from Cancer Research UK and Tesco to Hackney City Council and the Scottish Government.

About the role

As a Principal Developer at Snook, you will lead the new and growing team of developers within our Digital team, and set the standard for our coding approach. You’ll report to our Head of Digital to provide oversight of technical delivery, and provide coaching for technical specialists.  You will:   You will help create a supportive team and a culture of partnership, consistency, operational excellence and delivery.  You will foster good engineering practices, rhythms and rituals, team dynamics and delivery within the Head of Digital’s team. And you will help the team make brilliant connections with the other designers and researchers across the rest of Snook. Principals are our most senior practitioners, but you’ll also work with other Principals across service design and user research to help set and raise the standard of human-centred design across Snook and the sector. 


You should be able to demonstrate that you have experience of some or all of the following responsibilities:

Your skills and experience

We want to hear from a range of people who can demonstrate some, or all, of the following skills and experience:

What we offer 

Snook offer a competitive salary, 29.5 holidays per year (including public holidays), additional annual Christmas closure and a supportive maternity leave policy. We are working remotely by default during the pandemic, as a distributed team. We provide the kit our staff need to work effectively, and the flexibility to help work and life remain in balance. Our London studio space is open for our staff to work in if they prefer not to work from home, and we have a booking system to make sure people can work at a safe distance. Our Glasgow studio is awaiting confirmation following the Scottish Government guidelines. We provide an annual training budget for external opportunities from talks and conferences to more bespoke hands-on training. We respect that people have commitments and provide flexible working hours through discussion. We spend a day together every quarter as a studio to run show and tells. We have an annual team-away retreat for us to come together as a company, taking time out to learn, reflect, and eat snacks. We are an equal opportunity, Disability Confident and Living Wage Foundation employer. We have a bike to work scheme and free membership to HeadSpace the mental health app. We support you with a Snook buddy when you join to get you started. We strive for diversity in our team. If we’re going to design services for the public we need to ensure our team is inclusive. We welcome applications from people of all backgrounds and ages, however all applicants must have the right to work in the UK.

How to apply 

Please submit a CV, cover letter and details of your notice period, by Friday October 16th 2020. Please also let us know your preferred pronouns (she/her, they/them, he/him, etc). In your covering letter, please tell us a little bit about yourself, why you want to work at Snook and what sort of design problems you’d be interested in tackling with us. Send your CV and cover letter pdfs to ‘apply-f0fe13d0220301@snook-ltd.breezy-mail.com’ with the title “Hire me: Principal Developer”. At the current time, we anticipate that all interviews will be conducted remotely. We will offer interviews at times that suit you, so if you have children, caring duties, or other circumstances affecting your availability for an interview, we’re happy to offer convenient times outside of work hours.  [post_title] => Principal Developer [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => principal-developer [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2020-09-17 14:55:41 [post_modified_gmt] => 2020-09-17 14:55:41 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://wearesnook.com/?post_type=jobs&p=19630 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => jobs [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [8] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 19575 [post_author] => 57 [post_date] => 2020-07-01 16:40:27 [post_date_gmt] => 2020-07-01 16:40:27 [post_content] => Away from Snook you will probably find Jane in search of the most obscure South Asian food to be found in the markets and restaurants of Newham  or watching the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills through what she claims to be an anthropological rather than aspirational lens.  Jane likes to think she’s the only Snook who has worked with The Krankies. 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[post_title] => Alex Cleator [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => alex-cleator [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2020-07-10 10:37:15 [post_modified_gmt] => 2020-07-10 10:37:15 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://wearesnook.com/?post_type=people&p=19573 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => people [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [10] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 19571 [post_author] => 57 [post_date] => 2020-07-01 16:37:56 [post_date_gmt] => 2020-07-01 16:37:56 [post_content] => [post_title] => Jake McCann [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => jake-mccann [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2020-07-01 16:37:56 [post_modified_gmt] => 2020-07-01 16:37:56 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://wearesnook.com/?post_type=people&p=19571 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => people [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [11] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 19569 [post_author] => 57 [post_date] => 2020-07-01 16:36:47 [post_date_gmt] => 2020-07-01 16:36:47 [post_content] => Zeeshan is a seasoned IT professional with over 12 years' experience in the industry. He began his career with a multinational consultancy after graduating with a BSc (Hons) Computing and Information Technology from the University of Surrey. During his career he has gained experience with commercial and public sector clients in telecoms, health, government, MoD and MoJ. Outside of work Zeeshan likes to participate in technology meetups. He is into health and fitness, loves racquet sports and most evenings he can be found weight training at the local gym. His favourite sport is badminton, it is unlikely that he would decline an invitation to a game or two after work. [post_title] => Zeeshan Wali [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => zeeshan-wali [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2020-09-11 08:21:49 [post_modified_gmt] => 2020-09-11 08:21:49 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://wearesnook.com/?post_type=people&p=19569 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => people [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [12] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 19567 [post_author] => 57 [post_date] => 2020-07-01 16:34:31 [post_date_gmt] => 2020-07-01 16:34:31 [post_content] => Throughout his career, Tom has worked with a diverse range of contexts including workplace strategy, sustainable mobility, domestic energy use, building retrofit and has volunteered with community organisations focusing on food campaigning. More recently, Tom has been designing services which incentivise the adoption of sustainably oriented services in parts of Milan, Lisbon and London. Tom has a particular passion for design practices that support environmental and social regeneration and is a huge believer in the importance of design in creating compelling and desirable futures. Away from Snook, Tom loves being on his allotment or searching for secluded routes around the chiltern hills on his bike. Tom has two very energetic daughters who try their hardest to prevent him from doing any of the above. 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She loves exercising and getting outdoors with her Jack Russell and four horses. She also has a penchant for carbs and coffee. [post_title] => Rebecca MacEwan [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => rebecca-macewan [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2020-07-10 10:40:43 [post_modified_gmt] => 2020-07-10 10:40:43 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://wearesnook.com/?post_type=people&p=19549 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => people [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [17] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 19547 [post_author] => 57 [post_date] => 2020-07-01 16:09:01 [post_date_gmt] => 2020-07-01 16:09:01 [post_content] => Gillian is a graduate from Glasgow School of Art, where she studied Communication Design (BA Hons) with a specialism in all things Photography. Since graduating in 2018, Gillian worked with Outspoken Arts Scotland LTD, an arts production company in Paisley, who celebrate equality and those with protected characteristics through the arts. Her role was ‘Digital Marketing Officer Intern’ as well as designing everything from merchandise, poster design to a limited edition archival publication. She has experience within Retail, Digital Marketing and Design throughout her early career. She is passionate about self-love, sustainability, helping others and making a positive impact on the world.   Outside of Snook, you will probably see Gillian documenting the world around her through her Photography, describing herself as a Photographic Storyteller. Gillian is a Vegetarian and is always on the hunt for new Veggie/Vegan products to try and recipes to cook. When she isn't cooking, she loves to explore all the amazing Veggie/Vegan restaurants where-ever she goes. So if you need any suggestions on all things veggie, Gillian is your gal! [post_title] => Gillian Lochhead [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => gillian-lochhead [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2020-09-14 08:07:16 [post_modified_gmt] => 2020-09-14 08:07:16 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://wearesnook.com/?post_type=people&p=19547 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => people [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [18] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 19545 [post_author] => 57 [post_date] => 2020-07-01 16:05:26 [post_date_gmt] => 2020-07-01 16:05:26 [post_content] => [post_title] => Phee Kinnear [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => phee-kinnear [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2020-07-01 16:05:26 [post_modified_gmt] => 2020-07-01 16:05:26 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://wearesnook.com/?post_type=people&p=19545 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => people [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [19] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 19543 [post_author] => 57 [post_date] => 2020-07-01 15:56:23 [post_date_gmt] => 2020-07-01 15:56:23 [post_content] => Olivia has experience in a variety of fields, from health products to working with charities, and across different design disciplines. Projects have taken her all over the world - from studying design in San Francisco, pitching to investors in Shenzhen, working with remote communities in Chitwan and delivering essential advice services in London. This has allowed her to understand the design process through the lens of different cultures, communities and industries, to see first hand the positive impact design can have. Originally from Ireland, Olivia is a proud speaker of the native Irish language - or Gaeilge as we call it! Outside of Snook you will find her playing with dogs, twisting like a pretzel in yoga or taking in a scenic view. [post_title] => Olivia Holbrook [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => olivia-holbrook [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2020-09-11 08:51:58 [post_modified_gmt] => 2020-09-11 08:51:58 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://wearesnook.com/?post_type=people&p=19543 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => people [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [20] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 19541 [post_author] => 57 [post_date] => 2020-07-01 15:54:24 [post_date_gmt] => 2020-07-01 15:54:24 [post_content] => [post_title] => Javier Gutierrez [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => javier-gutierrez [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2020-07-01 15:54:24 [post_modified_gmt] => 2020-07-01 15:54:24 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://wearesnook.com/?post_type=people&p=19541 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => people [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [21] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 19539 [post_author] => 57 [post_date] => 2020-07-01 15:50:55 [post_date_gmt] => 2020-07-01 15:50:55 [post_content] => After studying Graphic Design, she boarded the digital world almost by chance. Vanda believes that creating accessible and sustainable interface solutions is the key to balancing the relationship between users and technology in the future. That’s also why she enjoys learning about users and talking to people. From a very young age, she has also been obsessed with form and colour and she explores this in her spare time through illustration and photography. It is easy for her to find beauty in every corner. 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Unsurprisingly 27 of our team had completed undergraduate degrees in design and you can see the different courses they took outlined below. Seventeen of our Service Design staff also have Masters degrees and 12 of these are specifically in design-related subjects. We have always been fortunate in our ability to recruit staff from across the world, giving us a strong international perspective, and we currently have staff from Australia and New Zealand, Taiwan, all across Europe (from Sweden to Portugal), and also Central America. Valerie Carr, our Director of Strategy shares her personal story of her introduction to service design by reflecting on who she learned from and what she learned. I’m the single Interior Design Graduate in the chart above and, after graduation, worked in Interior Design until I had my first son in 1989. I then completed a Masters in Computer Aided Design and worked for a while doing computer generated graphics for architects before moving into lecturing part-time.  I continued lecturing right through the birth of three more sons,  then decided to embark upon a PhD when the youngest was four.  We obtained funding from NHS Estates  to conduct a joint Project involving the School of Design and School of Nursing and Midwifery at the University of Dundee.  The project aimed to evaluate the impact of the built environment on birth mothers, their partners and staff in maternity units. I had the great privilege of being supervised by Tom Inns, a pioneer in Design for Innovation, and learning research methods from the team at the Social Dimensions of Health Institute.  I also learned a lot about evidence-based design and the importance of rigour in user research from the team at Center for Healthcare Design. Anyone interested in the outputs from the project can find my thesis here - but I warn you, it’s very long! It was while evaluating the impact of the built environment that I became interested in how we might design organisations and services to better meet the needs of those who access them. It  became clear that some elements of the interior environment which have been designed for specific  benefit did not achieve the desired impact because of organisational constraints related to how services were delivered.  After taking a midlife gap year in Burundi, Central East Africa, in 2009 we relocated to Lancaster where I worked as Research Associate on an 18 month research project “Design in Practice”.  This project built on the foundations of the Design Council Red Programme, the NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement experience-based design approach, and the work of Ezio Manzini and team at Politecnico di Milano. It also gave me the opportunity to work with and learn from an amazing team at Imagination Lancaster.  Prof Rachel Cooper has been instrumental in defining the role of designers in the 20th/21st century (check the link to see another familiar name in Scottish Service Design circles). Daniela Sangiorgi was one of the first academics really exploring Service Design as a discipline in its own right, tracing the origins from other disciplines. The other members of our project team, Sabine Junginger and Monika Buscher brought valuable insights from Design Management and Sociology. Our reflections on the development of Service Design can be found in the papers we wrote.  In 2012, I joined Snook, who were the first (and only at that time) Service Design company in Scotland. Over the past 8 years I’ve had the privilege of working on a wide variety of projects across the UK and beyond. We've seen our team grow from 5 to over 50, and the breadth, depth and impact of our projects increase. We’ve seen User-Centred Design and Service Design become mainstream with the establishment of Government Digital Services and the Scottish approach to service design. Meeting user-centred design criteria has become mandatory for government services in both Scotland and the wider UK. I think back to the absolute bewilderment and frustration expressed by one of the GPs involved in our Design in Practice project in 2009, “I just don’t understand what design has to do with clinical practice!’ and hope more people across the public, third and private sector value the contribution design can bring to making services work better for everyone. 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This post is the first of a series in which we’ll look at how the UK social landscape has been shaped by COVID-19 and especially government, healthcare and communities. Our focus in these posts will be to share insights and tools that people can take away to help address their own challenges. 

  At Snook, one of our missions is to work toward a kinder and smarter next era of government, and so we have an immediate interest in current shifts in how public services work. Some of these services are new and very visible, like financial support mechanisms for people and organisations in crisis, or contact-tracing initiatives.  Others, however, might be less visible, but ultimately represent longer-term changes in the relationship between government and public.  In this post, we’ll share insights that we’ve gained from developing a tool that enables local councils to run official meetings online – an example of how everyday processes of democratic decision making are being forced to change by the crisis, and what long-term impacts might result

The democratic process, live from the kitchen table 

Before the pandemic only about 12% of the UK workforce regularly worked from home, with less than 30% having ever worked from home, so relatively few people or organisations had systems in place for staff to work from home. While it attracts little mainstream attention, how best to work from home takes on a different significance when it includes core parts of our democratic process.  In the UK, local government meetings are involved in granting permits, licenses, and planning permission, as well as allocating resources and budgets in their area; and a pandemic has meant local governments  needing to find ways to hold such meetings online Defining a service that would meet the legal requirements of a democratic process in a virtual space is more complex than it might first appear. From the second week of the lockdown, Liam Hinshelwood and Liv Comberti from the Snook team began to work with Neil Terry and Chris Cadman-Dando from Adur & Worthing Councils (A&W) to do so. We wanted to describe some of their insights from the development process, and launch a set of reflections for further conversations. 

How do meetings work in physical versus virtual space?

The meeting script. Council meetings run to a tight script. Adhering to an agreed structure is what makes these meetings legally binding. Although some functions of a meeting could be done in writing rather than in person, this would remove the opportunity for everyone to express their opinion as easily, make ‘responding’ in real time more difficult, and limit public participation. Finding ways to take the script online is preferable.  The physical space. Council meetings tend to occur in purpose-built chambers. These spaces are usually organised around a hierarchy, with the person chairing the meeting and their deputies in the centre, and the legal officer seated nearby to offer guidance where necessary. Those who will present, and those who are eligible to vote on arguments, are arranged around them. This makes it easy to see who is guiding the process. The virtual space. All this changes in a virtual context. Here, everyone is ‘on the same level’. The performative characteristics of space have changed, and adjustments to behaviour are necessary – people talk over each other, need to remember to mute microphones, and we also tend to see more casual dress and participants’ homes in the background. The whole atmosphere changes.    [caption id="attachment_19474" align="aligncenter" width="1549"]The need for rapid adaptation from a built for purpose physical space to working from home is not limited to the UK. Left: An image of the empty Hackney Town Hall, UK. Right: A recent council meeting in Clinton, USA The need for rapid adaptation from a built for purpose physical space to working from home is not limited to the UK. Left: An image of the empty Hackney Town Hall, UK. Right: A recent council meeting in Clinton, USA[/caption]

What are the practical problems and solutions of moving council meetings online?

Who is responsible for tech and training? Currently there is no dedicated software to conduct either council or any other democratic meetings. Software decisions usually fall to the IT department, however, because of the urgency of moving online, the responsibility for these decisions fell to the Democratic Services Support Team at A&W. They found a need to train councillors and members of the public who were due to participate in how to use the video conferencing software and digital devices to participate in virtual meetings. Chris says “In some cases, councillors have had comparatively low exposure to modern digital technology, and it is essential that we make sure the training they receive in the necessary applications allows their other, more traditional skills (debate, scrutiny and decision making), to shine through”. Training 70 councillors was, in itself, very resource intensive – imagine what it would be like to train hundreds at larger councils.   Scale and roles have an impact. Council meetings are of different sizes, depending on location and even the subject under discussion. For example, A&W meetings are often 30-60 people, which is relatively small and can work on a call. However, for some other councils these meetings can be much larger (e.g. Birmingham Council with around 300 councillors). As Neil from A&W observes: “In a remote context you can easily control a planning committee of 8 participants, but as the numbers increase, so do the challenges, exponentially.” The roles needed in a virtual context will be, to a degree, highly connected with their scale – facilitating a call with 20 people is not the same as facilitating one with 200+!  New roles. “There’s a need for new roles and new responsibilities in these virtual council meetings,” Liv from Snook says, “and we are only just beginning to understand what these are ”. As Chris describes: “We have identified new technical roles that we would not normally have to consider at traditional meetings. This has meant that we have had to identify additional resources outside of our small Democratic Services Support Team, and train and prepare those people we bring in. In addition to this, traditional roles such as that of the chairman now require different skills and knowledge which has been challenging.” Trade-offs between software and protocol. Most council constitutions require public visibility on how each councillor has voted. In A&W, this is done by councillors verbally confirming their vote. However, in larger councils, registering hundreds of verbal votes one at a time is impractical. The processes councils follow and the tasks required are tied in with the platforms they are using. Infrastructure limitations. Designing around participants’ internet connectivity is a huge challenge. At best it can mean councillors being forced to abstain from voting on issues where they haven’t heard the full debate. The risk increases when the chair or legal counsel’s connection drops. And that’s clearly not the worst that can happen

How can we enable the public to take part – and given that digital inclusiveness is always a problem, what new challenges might arise?

Technology shifts who is being included and excluded. Liv explains: “Physical meetings may exclude parents, disabled people, or simply those living busy lives. Virtual meetings are more likely to exclude older generations or those without access to the technology needed. But overall, virtual meetings may actually be more accessible.”  A less intimidating prospect. Members of the public can now see both the meeting and what participation involves much more easily than they could before. The formality and pomp of physical meetings disappears, making them more approachable and open to all.

How can issues like these be addressed?

The biggest challenge the Snook team found was not the ability of a council team to systematically come up with a solution to every issue outlined above – something they excelled at. It was the sheer amount to think about, and the risk of overlooking or not anticipating something that turned out to be critical. As Chris points out: “In some cases we have protocols for dealing with issues and we can adapt them to the online context. However, there are challenges that you would never ever think about.”  Some councils have been discovering these the hard way. This means greater demands on council resources in a time where they are already considerably overstretched. A new tool. With this in mind, we worked with the A&W team to create an extensive blueprint of every stage of the process – from meeting set-up through post-meeting admin – in granular detail. At every stage the team considered behaviours, hardware, software, governance, and legislative risks. “They shared that what they found incredibly helpful about that”, Liv says, “was that it ensured there was nothing they hadn’t thought about – it was a very comprehensive lens. It wasn’t about putting something in each cell – in a way the blueprint acted as a checklist for them to make sure they’d thought about everything and proposed solutions”.   [caption id="attachment_19472" align="aligncenter" width="1999"]A&W Remote Council Meetings Blueprint A&W Remote Council Meetings Blueprint[/caption] A user manual for governance. Ultimately, a blueprint is a difficult thing to follow, and not every participant needs to know the whole process. Liv told us, “We need a big picture of the whole process, broken down into the different roles required, so that people can see where their role fits in, including members of the public. What we really need to exist is a user manual for each member of a council meeting”.  [caption id="attachment_19473" align="aligncenter" width="1999"]Sketch of A&W remote council meeting process by roles Sketch of A&W remote council meeting process by roles[/caption] Local variation. Such a blueprint would be different for individual councils. “ While there is a centralised Local Government Act 2000 that outlines a strong common framework for what should and shouldn’t be done, implementation is different at a local level. They are currently changing the governance to reflect the current situation”, Liam says.  At Snook, we are deeply interested in understanding what kind of long-term impact will result from these changes and interventions. While it’s likely that many councils will move back towards physical meetings, there are aspects of online provision that we would like to see pursued, especially its ability to make meetings more approachable and accessible. We see digital not just as a lever to transform delivery channels, but as a creator of new activities and roles which will shape what governance will look like around the world.  As Neil puts it: “Whilst the current legislation allowing remote meetings is only in place until next year, we’re planning on some form of remote participation being here to stay. Before the lockdown, we had pressures from those who welcomed remote participation and those who opposed it. In demonstrating what is possible, the opposition has dropped and we’re in the process of shaping the new normal”.  We’d like to thank Adur and Worthing Council for involving us in this interesting piece of work, and Benedict and Marta from Rival for partnering with us on the research for this post. If you’d like to get involved in discussing redesign of democratic processes for inclusion and accessibility in the digital age, please get in touch. [post_title] => Reflections on Covid-19: Exploring remote democratic decision making [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => exploring-remote-democratic-decision-making [to_ping] => [pinged] => https://wearesnook.com/our-principles-for-digital-inclusivity/ [post_modified] => 2020-05-18 15:36:45 [post_modified_gmt] => 2020-05-18 15:36:45 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://wearesnook.com/?p=19451 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [28] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 19441 [post_author] => 2 [post_date] => 2020-04-30 16:17:46 [post_date_gmt] => 2020-04-30 16:17:46 [post_content] => We are excited to share with you that an early version of the service recipes for charities platform is now live and is the result of the collaboration of Catalyst with FutureGov, Snook and CAST It collects practical examples to help charities reuse and learn from one another’s digital services. We have been referring to those as recipes: they show the ingredients and steps needed to deliver a service. By charities, for charities, for inspiration or straightforward implementation. These recipes can be reused as they are, or tweaked as necessary. We believe that re-using existing tools and code can help charities solve service design and delivery problems more quickly than building a tool from scratch. It can save time and money, and build a team’s confidence along the way. The platform is in Alpha stage: that means it’s a real thing, it is publicly available and can be used by people, but it is still likely to develop further in response to feedback. We have been sharing this concept with some charities over the last few months and decided to build it, as the feedback we received was overwhelmingly positive. We are aware though, that the devil is in the detail. That’s why we are sharing it openly. By getting it live, we are hoping to boost our learning process for what works and what doesn’t so that we can iterate more quickly based on the findings. We are launching it today with a small but exciting collection of service recipes, with more to follow in the next few weeks. The recipes were contributed by a range of charities, some who have had a strong digital focus for years and others who are just starting out. We Are With You are offering webchat services in order to support people dealing with addiction and mental health issues. It took one week to get the web chat services up and running and demand for the service has remained steady at 50-70 sessions a day. With You's recipe includes how they selected their tools, set up and are staffing the service as well as guidance around how to implement web chat successfully. Young Somerset support young adults with 1-to-1 therapy. In response to COVID-19, they quickly shifted their service online and were able to find a solution that met NHS governance and security requirements. In Young Somerset's recipe, you’ll find how they made the decision to move online, what tools and software they used and risks they considered due to the now remote delivery of the service.  Being Woman offer women digital skills training  to increase inclusion and equality. To help people stay connected during lock down they distributed tablets and laptops and helped them gain skills and confidence to get online. Being Woman’s recipe covers the learning resources and digital inclusion schemes they partnered with, such as  Learn My Way, Make It Click and  Devicesdotnow. We want to thank all the charities who have already provided us with service recipes about the challenges that they’re currently facing and services they are providing.  We will add more recipes every week and we need organisations like yours to share the digital solutions you have had success with or that you are trialling at the moment. With each recipe shared, the library will grow and it’s our hope that you’ll also benefit from it too in the near future.  To share your recipes, you can fill in this form in or send us an email at recipes@thecatalyst.org.uk For platforms and initiatives such as this around reuse, to succeed we need to know if the recipes have helped you and your organisation build a new service, or improve an existing one. We would like to hear from you, whether for general feedback or to share how you used an existing recipe.  Finally, if  you want to learn more about service recipes and our thinking behind it, we talked about service patterns and life events here. This was originally posted by the wonderful team working across the catalyst. [post_title] => Service recipes: our new tool to help you get inspired by how other charities deliver services [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => service-recipes-our-new-tool-to-help-you-get-inspired-by-how-other-charities-deliver-services [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2020-04-30 16:17:46 [post_modified_gmt] => 2020-04-30 16:17:46 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://wearesnook.com/?p=19441 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [29] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 19392 [post_author] => 92 [post_date] => 2020-04-16 11:18:02 [post_date_gmt] => 2020-04-16 11:18:02 [post_content] =>

Imagine going about your normal day without access to the internet. At the time of writing, during the COVID-19 lock down that’s more inconceivable than usual with most of us relying on it to do our work, shopping and socialising. But for many, even in ‘normal’ times, access to digital services is highly problematic and contributes to their exclusion from essential services.

Those who depend on the government’s digital services need internet access to sustain their lives. Snook have met people who couldn’t log into their Universal Credit accounts and lost benefits as a result, and there are countless children who are expected to do schoolwork online but have no suitable device to do so at home. By excluding people digitally, we are excluding them from society.

The crisis has precipitated a lot of progress in digital inclusion. From Government Zero to DevicesDotNow to No One Left Behind. A lot of organisations are working together to quickly help people get online and get the support they need during this crisis. Their work builds on decades of experience of working to bridge the digital gap.

The Scottish Government commissioned Snook to synthesise existing research into recommendations for digital inclusion. This research, much of which is Snook’s own, ranges from digital rights with parents and carers, to digital exclusion of children in poverty, to the experiences of getting online for older people.

This is a summary of our findings, which can be found in full in our report, unpacking the complexity of digital inclusion. We see it as a useful resource to provide context to the work going on today.

The key factors in digital inclusion

1. Low cost and accessible connections

Access to the internet is the foundation of digital participation, and people often have limited power over this. Home broadband packages can be confusing, with hidden fees and people feeling forced into contracts. Public Wi-Fi provisions lack bandwidth, block access to certain applications such as streaming services, and are time limited. We met a woman who knew all the hotspots, — as well as their time limits — at cafes and other public spaces on her route to work. She would plan her journey so she could get access to essential services on her commute. Smartphone data, particularly on pay-as-you-go, is the most expensive way to access the internet, and people report struggling to manage their data usage.

“Some people will go without claiming benefits because they have to apply online. People don’t have the IT skills to do this, or access to computers or internet at home. Out of the 50 people we support, only 2 people have home broadband and Wi-Fi, although half of the young people have data on their smartphones.” — Carr Gomm support worker (Online Identity Assurance, 2018)

2. Motivations to get online

People who don’t currently have access need a good reason to go through the rigmarole of getting online. Personal needs such as contacting relatives, shopping or doing homework are strong motivating factors. When people feel forced to go online by certain services they feel disempowered, which isn’t the best place to start learning from. Even when given access to devices, new users without a clear drive of their own are unlikely to use them. For people living with a disability, there is a greater motivation to use digital services, as they are often more inclusive and user friendly by default. However, more is needed to make services accessible and joined up, for instance by encouraging more face-to-face interactions..

3. Access to appropriate (connected) devices

Owning a device allows a person to use it at home and in their own time, and usually increases their digital skills and confidence. Issues are raised around privacy and security if they have to share a device. In families, children are often the driver for acquiring a device to help them with school work and to feel included in their peer group. Providing devices is a quick and easy way to contribute towards digital inclusion, but it needs to go hand in hand with the provision of an internet connection.

4. Skills, confidence and safety

The fourth piece of the puzzle is about giving people the skills and confidence to get online. Most adults worry about how organisations access, process and share their personal data. Technology can be seen as a tool for abuse, but that doesn’t stop people from sharing information, opinions, and photos freely on social media. Despite high levels of concern for child safety, parents don’t trust safety measures such as parenting controls. All these fears can contribute to an aversion to getting connected.

What needs to happen to include everyone in the digital world?

Training needs to be offered and exchanged

Some people get digital skills through employment or education, while others rely on those in their immediate circle. Every person’s needs and motivations are different. This suggests that tailored, task-based training works best. Learnings from community-centred initiatives need to be shared, and skills could be exchanged between user groups.

Our digital rights need to be clear

As more services become digital, we can expect to see more people encouraged to use technology. Concerns for online safety can be a barrier for people choosing to go online. More knowledge is needed around how people can protect themselves online so that they can navigate the online world safely.

Connectivity is a basic need

People make light of the idea that digital should be the most basic of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs — over food, water, shelter, and warmth — but there is evidence that people do, to an extent, prioritise connectivity over food and comfort. Some refugees, for instance, are known to have asked for Wi-Fi or charging services ahead of food or water on arrival in a new country.

When people lose access to the internet though disruptive life events such as unemployment or illness, their connectivity is not addressed as a key need to help them get back on their feet. Regulating connectivity as the fourth utility will help reduce inequalities and allow more and more people to maximise their digital impact.

The full report can be found here.

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A crisis like Covid-19 requires urgent emergency responses. With crises come feelings of panic and we see lots of people running quickly towards the problem to help. But we know those feelings of panic tend to inhibit us to short-term thinking only.

There are various practical ways we’ve been addressing just getting on with the work we’re already doing at Snook. We’re conducting remote user research with control room operators — designing a rapid response to emergency calls seems more pressing than ever when the volume of calls they’re handling is unprecedented. We’re also continuing our work with British Sign Language communities and the National Citizen Service to improve their services. We’re running workshops using video conferencing-delivering a training session in service design for NHS National Services Scotland and convening with 100 designers and charities to look at ways to combine forces in their response to Covid-19. But it’s not just approaches to working remotely. There’s a bigger picture emerging of a world that may have to be restructured radically and will require a considered, long-term strategy to solving all the challenges which we will face globally in the wake of this.

Setting our response principles

We’ve been holding working sessions to discuss our response as a team to Covid-19. At first, we all felt a sense of panic — what can we do to help now? Apart from staying indoors and joining our local volunteer networks, where can we help? The usual questions came up, like asking if civic society needs an app to better organise themselves or building smart emergency response services? The answer was, and is, no. In the second week, we started to understand the scale of the challenge hanging over us and help clients organise and think through their emergency response. As we hit our third week of working in this ‘new normal’, we recognised we needed to set some principles about how we can support our clients past and present. We need to move from a crisis response state to being a calm supportive partner who’s looking ahead.

Our principles and approach to designing in times of crisis:

1. Show what’s possible

  Person shouting through a megaphone There are a huge number of things that need to be completely rethought right now, but bringing about these types of changes can seem overwhelming. For example, making internet access universally free to all those who are currently classified as vulnerable seemed like a pipedream. But we’re taking an approach to change a small thing and seed the bigger idea. We worked quickly with Nominet to get mobile phone operators to zero rate access to nhs.uk, so everyone can access accurate, up-to-date health information during the pandemic. A small win — and now they’re stepping up to provide access to a whole host of sites with new data packages. But this is just the start of a wider job of ensuring everyone is included in a world where there’s a growing assumption that just putting everything online is the answer. It’s not that simple. An estimated 1 in 10 households in the UK have no access to the internet. There are school pupils and students who are currently being told to do their lessons online and are simply unable to. Many elderly people feel they lack the skills to use computers, and the number of homeless is steadily rising, and while some may have phones, they frequently run out of data. These people are being allowed to fall through the cracks right now. But, with this challenge, many small prototypes working in the open can seed the change, and we’ll continue to press for these, linking them to wider positive agendas.

2. Balance immediate needs with the long-term view

Covid-19 will have a dramatic impact beyond the next week, and the month after. Not only specifically in the new normal of physically distancing that has been forced upon us but also in our ability to think, connect and live differently in the future. Who would have thought that in a matter of weeks, we could house everyone who is homeless? Or reduce our C02 emissions so quickly? In the short term, we’re supporting organisations to rethink service delivery with new Government regulations in the now — to support the people at highest risk (the elderly, the immunocompromised). But with this, we must ensure we also take a longer-term view and consider what might come next. There’s then the medium term. What’s coming in the next 4–6 weeks. Data from some of the most highly affected areas in the world such as Italy, shows us that the coming month is about to get much worse and we’ve heard from clients that workforces are depleting by up to a third in vital services like children’s social care. How we staff and continue to deliver vital services needs to be considered now and over the next few months as staff self-isolate or go off sick due to the virus. In the longer term, we’ll see much bigger impacts. How will people who’ve been in self-isolation for months feel? What are the long-term mental health impacts? How will a frontline workforce working in emergency mode feel in six months time after experiencing death, sickness and fear every day? What will happen to our food chains when we rely on much of our produce being imported and transport has been halted? What happens to homeless people we’ve housed in this period when the curve flattens? There are so many questions that need a longer-term view but need to be considered now, so we can start designing for these new needs and scenarios before they arrive on our doorstep.

3. Listen first, look second, build last

Our perspective is to listen first, understand needs, look at what exists then build if needed. We don’t know best. There are vast networks of grassroots efforts, civic sector organisations and charities that know their people and areas well. There are service providers who are experts in what they deliver and the people they support. We’ve seen a host of new services spring up, sometimes outside the organisation’s core expertise, because they saw a need and tried to fill it. We’re keen to help organisations understand their specific skill sets and how they can be put to use alongside others, stopping them from pivoting everything to solve the immediate crisis. If there’s a clear need for something new which no one else can meet, then build it. But listen first, and find out whether someone already does what’s needed and connect them up. Developing a new product or service at this time isn’t needed unless it helps with convening safely or delivering an existing service online. It will just add to the noise.

4. Meet immediate needs safely

Where there is a need, and something does need to be built, it must still meet regulations and good design principles. Yas, research and design will need to move at pace to meet new daily Government announcements or emergent societal needs. But a crisis doesn’t mean throwing out all data, ethical, privacy and accessibility principles. We have basic accessibility guidelines and tools to build quick services that work for people. We have data ethics workbooks to help us ask the questions we should ask to ensure that what we’re doing safeguards users. Organisations like the Information Commissioner’s office have provided supportive statements to help organisations get online at speed — assuring them that they won’t be penalised, but careful to ensure privacy and data standards are not dropped entirely. Even in a crisis, we should not ignore safeguarding and ethical data practice. We must think through our service designs to ensure we put no one in harm’s way.

5. Shape challenges, convene responses

Through our listening, we’re hearing common challenges from all types of organisations. Some of the simpler questions are how to deliver a support programme online. Or get digital access for the people they support. Or figure out how to support people paying for goods delivered to them who aren’t online.We can help by finding common problems and shaping these, convening the right people to solve them and publishing this knowledge. We’re about to bring this principle to life in our work across the Catalyst. This is an alliance of civil society organisations, funders, and digital agencies, incubated on behalf of the Centre for Acceleration of Social Technology. We’ve been working with them and Futuregov to build a list of common transactions that charities and civil society organisations might deliver and how these might be delivered online. We’re going to convene groups of service providers to discuss, share and publish how they’ve taken their services online so others can learn from this, in a series of patterns.

6. Stimulate learning loops

In a crisis, we have a tendency to deliver at speed then rush off to put the next fire out. But many of us are delivering services in ways we have never delivered before. We are learning what works, what doesn’t and what to do differently. We have a role to play in stimulating learning cycles and sharing them with others. Only together, can we learn how to meet the present and near-future needs well. We’re encouraging our clients to keep a short learning log during this time so they can look back and share what’s working and what needs to change. Last week, we held an online conversation involving charities, digital experts, designers, change-makers and commissioners. Someone said after the call that they’d been inspired to make sure they document their learnings, as they’re trying out lots of new ways of delivering their service remotely. Let’s keep inspiring those learnings.

Looking further into the future

We’re mindful of how often great shifts in society can happen after upheavals like this. The NHS was founded in the wake of the second world war. It cost an enormous amount of money — but aren’t we grateful for it now? It also took a great long-term vision and a commitment to the common good. The belief that things can be different and that we can design them to be better for everyone and everything on the planet seemed like a fantasy only a few weeks ago. But in the past two weeks, people are having to face a new reality that’s being foisted upon them. There’s a future to plan for beyond the pandemic. We need to reflect on what we want to keep from how we used to live and what must change to make a fairer, more sustainable future for all. We’ll be considering this in a series of posts soon. In the meantime, do get in touch if you’d like to get involved in designing the best response to the present — and the future — together. [post_title] => We need long-term thinking now more than ever [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => we-need-long-term-thinking-now-more-than-ever [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2020-04-06 16:43:05 [post_modified_gmt] => 2020-04-06 16:43:05 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://wearesnook.com/?p=19326 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [32] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 19269 [post_author] => 91 [post_date] => 2020-03-18 19:42:13 [post_date_gmt] => 2020-03-18 19:42:13 [post_content] => UK mobile operators give free access to NHS websites As service designers, our job is to design services — for the people who use them, and the staff and organisations who deliver them. We research user needs. Analyse impact. Look for new solutions to improve experiences for everyone involved. But we need to go further. It has to be our duty to tackle the barriers that keep users from accessing services, even when those barriers are outside of our remit. If that means pushing an idea to the heart of government, stakeholders and corporates, then that’s what we need to do! We are absolutely thrilled to hear that one of those ideas has come to fruition: Government Zero; a simple but effective idea to give free access to essential services.

The NHS has announced that “Vodafone, EE/ BT, 02 and Three are giving all their mobile customers across the UK free access to www.nhs.uk so that they can get the latest health information without worrying about data costs.”

The digital transformation of services has delivered value to the majority of users, but places services behind what feels like a paywall for those who don’t have appropriate access to the Internet. Digital exclusion goes hand-in-hand with social, economic and political exclusion. It is also complex: people need the appropriate device, connection, skills, confidence, motivation and the ability to maintain those through changing circumstances. Addressing these complex needs will take time, so we need to look for intermediate solutions. Time and time again, whilst doing research, we’ve met people who had a mobile phone but couldn’t afford a monthly contract, and frequently ran out of data on their pay-as-you-go. Their stories stay with us: the woman in Scotland who had a mental map of all the wifi hotspots she could access on the way to work, hopping on and off buses to use a cafe’s free wifi for a bit before moving on to the next location. The estimated 1 million children who are routinely set homework that requires access to the internet, which they don’t have at home. The man in West Sussex who missed the deadline for submitting his application for universal credit because he ran out of data and ended up homeless. Just a few of the people who make up a huge sector of society who struggle to use digital services. Zero-rating means users can still access essential services even if they don’t have data on their phones — just like they can call 999 or 111. We know it’s feasible, as mobile operators let customers access their website to top up their account. It’s also been done before with projects such as Wikipedia Zero and Facebook Zero, or for Childline. We need to tread carefully and comply with the net neutrality principle. This requires Internet service providers (ISPs) to treat all Internet communications equally so that users can freely choose from a wide range of information sources. For this reason, ISPs must self-report zero-rated pages to OFCOM. The concept of Government Zero focuses on the services where there is one source of truth: there is only one place to apply for a passport or for a given benefit, so net neutrality doesn’t apply. It’s a ‘big picture’ idea that was propelled to the forefront in the past week by the current Coronavirus situation. UK residents have an urgent need to access reliable information in order to reduce misinformation, and potentially lighten the load on health services. Government Zero will mean that anyone with access to a device can obtain reliable, accurate information from the NHS about the coronavirus situation whatever their circumstances. Over a number of projects, Nominet and Snook have built a strong relationship. Together, we reached out to partners across industry, government, health and organisations involved in digital inclusion to enable Government Zero to be brought to the fore at this critical moment. A whirlwind week saw a growing network of stakeholders, mobile operators, government departments and health services work together, share their knowledge, reach out to their contacts and explore the technical feasibility — leading to today’s announcement. This is the product of a 10-day relay between people with a single-minded commitment to making sure that the national response serves everyone in society. Prototypes come in all shapes and forms, and this is certainly an unusual way to test a new concept! It will enable mobile operators and service providers to evaluate the traffic, cost, impact and implementation of this initiative — paving the way for a more permanent solution to open access to all government digital services, in particular those serving the most vulnerable. Now the real work continues to tackle the wider issue of digital inclusion systematically. Until then, keep washing your hands! https://medium.com/wearesnook/government-zero-how-might-citizens-have-unfettered-access-to-government-digital-services-564f65f2c767 [post_title] => Digital inclusion in times of crisis  [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => digital-inclusion-in-times-of-crisis%e2%80%8a [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2020-03-19 10:09:59 [post_modified_gmt] => 2020-03-19 10:09:59 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://wearesnook.com/?p=19269 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [33] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 19308 [post_author] => 92 [post_date] => 2020-03-18 14:45:09 [post_date_gmt] => 2020-03-18 14:45:09 [post_content] =>

About the company

Snook are on a mission to design a world that works better for people. We work with organisations to design more effective services which help people thrive. We do this by engaging with users, building digital products, training our clients, and much more. This year we’re ten years old. In the past five years, we’ve scaled to more than double our original size when we started up in Scotland. We've opened a London office and our team is approaching 40 people. And we've worked with brilliant clients — from Cancer Research UK and Tesco to Hackney City Council and the Scottish Government.

About the role

As a Senior Interaction Designer at Snook, you will be responsible for taking a lead role in projects with a focus on creating intuitive, inclusive and accessible design solutions.  Your work will include designing holistic services that work for a wide range of people, and the design of digital products and supporting the digital design team and wider disciplines to embrace the importance of accessible interaction design.  Your work will require collaboration across our user centered disciplines and go beyond the screen.  You will design in the open, leading the communication of design decisions within the project team and clients, championing the importance of design and user needs.  You’ll relish working closely with our clients and partners, supporting our approach to new business opportunities, and in co-designing services and products with users.


We’re keen to hear from a range of applicants, not just those who have worked in the design or creative industries. You should be able to demonstrate that you are able to meet some, or all, of the following requirements:

Your skills and experience

We’re keen to hear from a range of applicants who can demonstrate some, or all, of the following skills and experience:

What we offer 

Snook offer a competitive salary, 29.5 holidays per year (including public holidays), additional annual Christmas closure and a supportive maternity leave policy. We are working remotely by default during the pandemic, as a distributed team. We provide the kit our staff need to work effectively, and the flexibility to help work and life remain in balance. Our London studio space is open for our staff to work in if they prefer not to work from home, and we have a booking system to make sure people can work at a safe distance. Our Glasgow studio is awaiting confirmation following the Scottish Government guidelines. We provide an annual training budget for external opportunities from talks and conferences to more bespoke hands-on training. We respect that people have commitments and provide flexible working hours through discussion. We spend a day together every quarter as a studio to run show and tells. We have an annual team-away retreat for us to come together as a company, taking time out to learn, reflect, and eat snacks. We are an equal opportunity, Disability Confident and Living Wage Foundation employer. We have a bike to work scheme and free membership to HeadSpace the mental health app. We support you with a Snook buddy when you join to get you started. We strive for diversity in our team. If we’re going to design services for the public we need to ensure our team is inclusive. We welcome applications from people of all backgrounds and ages, however all applicants must have the right to work in the UK.

How to apply 

This recruitment has a deadline so please don't wait to submit your application. We will be shortlisting w/c Mon 14th September. Please submit a CV, cover letter, your notice period and a portfolio of your work highlighting key projects. If you do not have a portfolio, we have created a simple template that you can use. Send your CV, cover letter and portfolio as pdfs to 'apply-d589d8545fed01@snook-ltd.breezy-mail.com' with the title “Hire me: Senior Interaction Designer”. In your covering letter, please tell us a little bit about yourself, why you want to work at Snook and what sort of design problems you’d be interested in tackling with us. Due to the current Covid-19 epidemic, we anticipate that all interviews will be conducted remotely. We will offer interviews at times that suit you, so if you have children, caring duties, or other circumstances affecting your availability for an interview, we’re happy to offer convenient times outside of work hours. [post_title] => **CLOSED** Senior Interaction Designer/UX [post_excerpt] => As a Senior Interaction Designer at Snook, you will be responsible for taking a lead role in projects with a focus on creating intuitive. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => senior-interaction-designer-new [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2020-09-14 14:56:32 [post_modified_gmt] => 2020-09-14 14:56:32 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://wearesnook.com/?post_type=jobs&p=19308 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => jobs [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [34] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 19268 [post_author] => 92 [post_date] => 2020-03-18 14:42:36 [post_date_gmt] => 2020-03-18 14:42:36 [post_content] =>

About the company

Snook are on a mission to design a world that works better for people. We work with organisations to design more effective services which help people thrive. We do this by engaging with users, building digital products, training our clients, and much more. This year we’re ten years old. In the past five years, we’ve scaled to more than double our original size when we started up in Scotland. We've opened a London office and our team is approaching 40 people. And we've worked with brilliant clients — from Cancer Research UK and Tesco to Hackney City Council and the Scottish Government.

About the role

As a content designer, you’ll work with our project teams to design end-to-end services for our clients at Snook. This role focuses on content design, which combines copywriting with UX design. You will be designing accessible content to guide users through a service or product from start to finish, working with service designers, interaction designers and user researchers.  You’ll design written content that the user intuitively grasps across a variety of digital and analogue channels and meets the needs of everyone who will use it. 


We’re keen to hear from a range of applicants, not just those who have worked in the design or creative industries. You should be able to demonstrate that you are able to meet some, or all, of the following requirements:

Your skills and experience

We’re keen to hear from a range of applicants who can demonstrate some, or all, of the following skills and experience:

What we offer 

Snook offer a competitive salary, 29.5 holidays per year (including public holidays), additional annual Christmas closure and a supportive maternity leave policy. We are working remotely by default during the pandemic, as a distributed team. We provide the kit our staff need to work effectively, and the flexibility to help work and life remain in balance. Our London studio space is open for our staff to work in if they prefer not to work from home, and we have a booking system to make sure people can work at a safe distance. Our Glasgow studio is awaiting confirmation following the Scottish Government guidelines. We provide an annual training budget for external opportunities from talks and conferences to more bespoke hands-on training. We respect that people have commitments and provide flexible working hours through discussion. We spend a day together every quarter as a studio to run show and tells. We have an annual team-away retreat for us to come together as a company, taking time out to learn, reflect, and eat snacks. We are an equal opportunity, Disability Confident and Living Wage Foundation employer. We have a bike to work scheme and free membership to HeadSpace the mental health app. We support you with a Snook buddy when you join to get you started. We strive for diversity in our team. If we’re going to design services for the public we need to ensure our team is inclusive. We welcome applications from people of all backgrounds and ages, however all applicants must have the right to work in the UK.

How to apply 

This recruitment has a deadline so please don't wait to submit your application. We will be shortlisting w/c Mon 14th September. Please submit a CV, cover letter, your notice period and a portfolio of your work highlighting key projects. If you do not have a portfolio, we have created a simple template that you can use. Send your CV, cover letter and portfolio as pdfs to apply-21ab17cb4db501@snook-ltd.breezy-mail.com with the title “Hire me: Content Designer”. In your covering letter, please tell us a little bit about yourself, why you want to work at Snook and what sort of design problems you’d be interested in tackling with us. Due to the current Covid-19 epidemic, we anticipate that all interviews will be conducted remotely. We will offer interviews at times that suit you, so if you have children, caring duties, or other circumstances affecting your availability for an interview, we’re happy to offer convenient times outside of work hours.  [post_title] => **CLOSED** Content Designer [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => content-designer [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2020-09-14 14:56:50 [post_modified_gmt] => 2020-09-14 14:56:50 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://wearesnook.com/?post_type=jobs&p=19268 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => jobs [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [35] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 19265 [post_author] => 92 [post_date] => 2020-03-18 14:42:10 [post_date_gmt] => 2020-03-18 14:42:10 [post_content] =>

About the company

Snook are on a mission to design a world that works better for people. We work with organisations to design more effective services which help people thrive. We do this by engaging with users, building digital products, training our clients, and much more. This year we’re ten years old. In the past five years, we’ve scaled to more than double our original size when we started up in Scotland. We've opened a London office and our team is approaching 40 people. And we've worked with brilliant clients — from Cancer Research UK and Tesco to Hackney City Council and the Scottish Government.

About the role

As an Interaction Designer at Snook, you will be responsible for participating in projects with a focus on creating intuitive, inclusive and accessible design solutions.  Your work will include designing holistic services that work for a wide range of people, and the design of digital products and supporting the digital design team and wider disciplines to embrace the importance of accessible interaction design.  Your work will require collaboration across our user centered disciplines and go beyond the screen.  You will design in the open, communicating the design decisions within the project team and clients, championing the importance of design and user needs.  You’ll relish working closely with our clients and partners in co-designing services and products with users.


We’re keen to hear from a range of applicants, not just those who have worked in the design or creative industries. You should be able to demonstrate that you are able to meet some, or all, of the following requirements:

Your skills and experience

We’re keen to hear from a range of applicants who can demonstrate some, or all, of the following skills and experience:

What we offer 

Snook offer a competitive salary, 29.5 holidays per year (including public holidays), additional annual Christmas closure and a supportive maternity leave policy. We are working remotely by default during the pandemic, as a distributed team. We provide the kit our staff need to work effectively, and the flexibility to help work and life remain in balance. Our London studio space is open for our staff to work in if they prefer not to work from home, and we have a booking system to make sure people can work at a safe distance. Our Glasgow studio is awaiting confirmation following the Scottish Government guidelines. We provide an annual training budget for external opportunities from talks and conferences to more bespoke hands-on training. We respect that people have commitments and provide flexible working hours through discussion. We spend a day together every quarter as a studio to run show and tells. We have an annual team-away retreat for us to come together as a company, taking time out to learn, reflect, and eat snacks. We are an equal opportunity, Disability Confident and Living Wage Foundation employer. We have a bike to work scheme and free membership to HeadSpace the mental health app. We support you with a Snook buddy when you join to get you started. We strive for diversity in our team. If we’re going to design services for the public we need to ensure our team is inclusive. We welcome applications from people of all backgrounds and ages, however all applicants must have the right to work in the UK.

How to apply 

This recruitment has a deadline so please don't wait to submit your application. We will be shortlisting w/c Mon 14th September. Please submit a CV, cover letter, your notice period and a portfolio of your work highlighting key projects. If you do not have a portfolio, we have created a simple template that you can use. Send your CV, cover letter and portfolio as pdfs to 'apply-4456795eac5e01@snook-ltd.breezy-mail.com' with the title “Hire me: Interaction Designer”. In your covering letter, please tell us a little bit about yourself, why you want to work at Snook and what sort of design problems you’d be interested in tackling with us. Due to the current Covid-19 epidemic, we anticipate that all interviews will be conducted remotely. We will offer interviews at times that suit you, so if you have children, caring duties, or other circumstances affecting your availability for an interview, we’re happy to offer convenient times outside of work hours. [post_title] => **CLOSED** Interaction Designer/UX [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => interaction-designer-2 [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2020-09-14 14:57:10 [post_modified_gmt] => 2020-09-14 14:57:10 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://wearesnook.com/?post_type=jobs&p=19265 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => jobs [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [36] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 19238 [post_author] => 93 [post_date] => 2020-03-12 17:48:25 [post_date_gmt] => 2020-03-12 17:48:25 [post_content] => We're hiring at Snook - not just a few roles - lots of them. We’re looking to grow our team in a number of areas because we’ve got a big challenge on our hands.

Why is Snook here?

We’re on a mission to design a world where people and planet thrive. We think deep and look wide to transform the systems that shape our world. That means everything, everywhere – from exploring healthcare’s digital future to tearing down barriers to accessible transport. Bit by bit, we’re making our world more human – so everyone can thrive. We believe that when our world is built around people, it makes everyone happier, healthier, and more productive. Right now, parts of our world aren’t like that. They’re not designed for or with the people who live in them. This creates barriers that make life harder – from small, everyday experiences, to the bigger systems that shape our lives. We’re looking for people to help us make the world more accessible, more sustainable, more effective: more human.

What are we shooting for? Our 5 mission areas

Our missions are like shared dreams we are chasing. They are still in development but we’re crafting key questions that help us aim towards realising them. They are;

1. Thriving planet

2. Next-era government

3. Good business

4. Healthy lives

5. Communities for all

If all this sounds good to you, then come and join our team. We work both in the practical stabilising space (doing the hard work that needs to be done now to make things accessible in the current system) and the emergent space (thinking and articulating what a different system might look like in the future). Thanks to Cassie Robinson for her articulation of emergent models and roles.

What are we working on right now?

Who are we looking for?

We have lots of roles going as our team grows. We break down our roles into: Heads of - support the studio discipline and offer to grow  Principals - leading experts in their field with significant experience  Senior/Leads - experienced practitioners who can take a lead on projects Mid-weight - experienced practitioners Associate - entry level roles  We’re on the lookout for;

Delivery Managers

To support our design teams in delivering project outcomes and work with our amazing clients.  View our Delivery Manager job role.

Head of User Research

To grow and manage our user research team, building and developing our user research practice. View our Head of User Research job role.

User Researchers (entry level to senior) 

Looking for great researchers of all kinds with knowledge in the user research discipline and backgrounds in social sciences or experience in the field. View our User Researcher and Senior User Researcher job roles.

Head of Service Design

To grow and manage our team of service designers, building our practice in Service Design. View our Head of Service Design job role. 

Service Designer

We’re looking for people who are great at designing holistic services that work for a wide range of people. View our Service Designer job role.

Head of Digital 

To grow and manage our digital design team which consists of interaction, developers, technical leads, developers, building our practice in digital design. View our Head of Digital job role.

Content Designer

We need people who have experience of designing and testing language in the context of product and service design.  View our Content Designer job role.

Interaction Designer (entry level to senior) 

People who are great at designing accessible products and services, with a flair for great online experiences and a consideration for the user experience around them. View our Interaction Designer and Senior Interaction Designer job roles.

Digital Product Designer

Experienced designers who are great at shaping product and service direction to join our digital design team.  Job role details coming soon!

Technical Lead (senior/principal) 

A great all rounder who understands and has experience in technical development, data and enjoys unpicking complex challenges and can make simplifying complexity. Job role details coming soon!

Accessibility and Inclusion Design Lead and entry level/specialist 

People with a passion for products and services that are inclusive and accessible to all. We’re looking for people with specific experience in helping design and audit digital services that are WCAG 2.1 proficient but also go beyond this into considering inclusive design practices in all of our work View our Accessibility Specialist and Accessibility & Inclusive Design Lead job roles.

How does this all fit together?

We’re happy to share our organisation chart above. We’ve recognised a need for a new phase of growth which ensures we have a wider range of skills to meet the emergent needs of our clients and ensure we have the right support in place for our team by hiring heads of our disciplines to grow, nurture and train our teams.

How can I apply?

When our adverts go out they will specify requirements and skills for each role. But, we’re looking for a range of people and are open to all kinds of experience so please do apply.  If you’ve applied before, please do so again.  They will all be appearing on our jobs page and linked to this post as they go live. We recently overhauled our recruitment process to help ensure we’re building a diverse and inclusive team. Throughout the recruitment process, we’ll be providing applicants with any support they need. We actively encourage applications from a diverse range of backgrounds.  Please send your application to jobs@wearesnook.com with the title Hire me: Role Title (and your role you’re shooting for). All our jobs are advertised for at least 6 weeks but we are undertaking rolling recruitment so please do send in your applications. We will keep the posts open for as long as we need, to find the right people. [post_title] => We're hiring! [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => were-hiring [to_ping] => [pinged] => https://wearesnook.com/inclusive-recruitment/ [post_modified] => 2020-04-17 14:02:36 [post_modified_gmt] => 2020-04-17 14:02:36 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://wearesnook.com/?p=19238 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [37] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 19191 [post_author] => 93 [post_date] => 2020-03-06 11:19:42 [post_date_gmt] => 2020-03-06 11:19:42 [post_content] => Snook is excited to announce that we are the Home Office's user centred design partner. The team will be working with Katy Arnold, Deputy Director for Design and Research at the Home Office and her excellent research and design teams. We’ve long been fans of the HO Digital Blog. We’ll be supporting them with capabilities in design and working on a range of their portfolio projects. This is a significant partnership for Snook with the Home Office, over two years, working on the inside of Government to design and deliver critical services that are used by the whole population. 11 years ago, Snook first walked through the doors of the Home Office with a new product we were developing - MyPolice, the UK’s first online feedback tool which we successfully launched in Scotland. Since then we’ve worked on projects helping housing organisations consider the journey of asylum seekers, worked with senior policy makers on security and worked with operatives in control rooms to design the software and services that manages 999 calls. It's a big landmark for us and we can't wait to get started.   [post_title] => Home Office + Snook [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => home-office-and-snook [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2020-03-09 09:25:02 [post_modified_gmt] => 2020-03-09 09:25:02 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://wearesnook.com/?p=19191 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [38] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 19153 [post_author] => 90 [post_date] => 2020-03-05 15:37:50 [post_date_gmt] => 2020-03-05 15:37:50 [post_content] => Here at Snook we love books. So much so that we didn't manage to keep it to a top 5 as originally planned. So, for World Book Day here are 13 books about design and the world that we love: 1. Hope In The Dark: Untold Histories, Wild Possibilities — Rebecca Solnit 2. The Craftsman — Richard Sennett 3. Design as Politics — Tony Fry 4. Good Services — Lou Downe 5. The Death & Life of the Great American Cities — Jane Jacobs 6. Braiding Sweetgrass — Robin Wall Kimmerer 7. Exhalation — Ted Chiang 8. Doughnut Economics — Kate Raworth 9. From What is to What If — Rob Hopkins 10. Radical Help — Hilary Cottam 11. Wabi-Sabi for Artists, Designers, Poets & Philosophers — Leonard Koren 12. Thinking in Systems — Deborah H. Meadows 13. Dark Matter & Trojan Horses — Dan Hill [post_title] => 13 books about design and the world for World Book Day [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => 13-books-about-design-and-the-world-for-world-book-day [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2020-03-05 16:23:41 [post_modified_gmt] => 2020-03-05 16:23:41 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://wearesnook.com/?p=19153 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [39] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 19016 [post_author] => 91 [post_date] => 2019-12-19 12:54:39 [post_date_gmt] => 2019-12-19 12:54:39 [post_content] => We turned 10, so we’ve been celebrating and reflecting on everything we’ve learnt along the way. And of course, we’re always looking forward - thinking about how we’ll build for the next 10 years.  Firstly, we became part of the Northgate Public Services family. This move gives Snook the opportunity not only to scale as a company but to scale our impact. From discovery to build, Snook is now positioned to go deeper into projects and work on large scale services from national policing and control rooms to the benefits system.  We also went through a strategic re-brand. This wasn’t about just designing a new logo. We wanted to find new ways to talk about and re-define our purpose. It's allowed us to better articulate why we’re here and act as the starting point for defining our missions and culture.  We’ve worked on too many projects to write something about all of them. So we’ve cherry-picked some highlights here, aligned with our mission areas. We hope they convey something of the breadth and depth of our work and our commitment to making the world more human.

Thriving Planet

In April, after an inspiring Design on the Inside (DOTI) event, about sustainable environmental action, we set up the Design+Climate Community.  The aim is to work collaboratively with the wider community of designers and related disciplines to develop ways of considering the environment at every stage of the design process. We've started in Glasgow and London and are looking for people to host in cities and towns across the world next year. If you’re interested in joining us and seeing what we can do together, click here. We’re currently working with Climate-KIC, supporting them to develop and test their ideas for organisation design as they reorganise around their new mission. Design-led approaches have played an important role in making sure they have the internal functions and structure that will enable them to continue delivering important climate innovation work. DOTI Fest 2019 was a platform for honest, system-wide conversation and collaboration which was designed to embody our commitment to environmental awareness. We wanted to walk the walk, not just talk the talk, so as well as lining up a whole day of amazing speakers, workshops, forums and fun we made sure that everything from the breakfast pastries to the name tags and decorations was sourced zero-waste, recycled and reusable. [caption id="attachment_18885" align="aligncenter" width="578"]People discussing something at DOTI Fest 2019 DOTI Fest 2019[/caption]

Next-era Government

In April we led a discovery with OpenCommunity, a group of local authorities pioneering data standards for community services. Off the back of our research, there are now 10 councils actively piloting implementing the standards to help people find services that help them live a fair, healthy and equal life.  A great example of the Local Digital Declaration to #fixtheplumbing in action. The real benefits and savings of standards adoption will come from improved availability and quality of data about community services. Better access could play an important role in preventative health and social care. People have joked that digital should be the basis of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs – over food, water, shelter, and warmth – but in fact, there is evidence that people do prioritise connectivity over essentials and comfort. The importance that refugees attach to owning a mobile phone is a reminder of that. As more public services go online, digital exclusion is expected to drive inequality gaps. We worked with the Scottish government on a report which concludes that the seamless integration of digital and human engagement is essential as Scottish public services expand.

Good Business

We’ve been working with a global company that delivers around 100 services in areas ranging from defence contracts to leisure facilities. They wanted to improve the catering service they provide to large institutions like schools, hospitals and universities. We focused on a higher education college in the UK, conducting research and co-design with students and the client. We’ve come up with prioritised recommendations based on feasibility and the areas that align with their business plan. Like the work we're doing with Climate-KIC, the focus on enabling them to adopt user-centred design as the way they do business as usual is key. We help organisations to develop these capabilities in-house.

Healthy Lives

We’ve worked on several projects that address the impact on young people’s health of poverty and the increased demand for mental health support.  Not all of those eligible to receive free school meals actually get them. We worked with pupils in Scotland to understand their experiences of school lunches whilst also seeing how the Child Poverty (Scotland) 2017 Act gets implemented on the ground. Ultimately we wanted to see how we could make a difference - effectively working to flip the benefits model on its head by bringing services to people instead of waiting for people to come to services.  Meanwhile, in London, we worked with Hammersmith and Fulham to address the impact of food poverty on children and young people. We went out to communities and engaged with local volunteers, residents and children to research, co-design solutions and start building an alliance. We’re now working to explore how these ideas can be delivered in practice and to ensure the alliance continues to flourish after the project. In order to tackle the root causes, we’re supporting staff in children’s services to connect with other parts of the council to harness existing resources and explore how to improve the whole system response. We’re working in partnership with Barnado’s and Public Policy Lab to develop a library of best-practice guidance for developing digital mental health products for young people. This is part of the recently launched #RESET online Mental Health funding Programme. We’re thrilled to have partners to go on an open and exploratory journey, to build something new that we hope will ensure that young people can access effective support when they have difficulties with mental health.  We’ve done a lot of work around mental health over the years, so in the spirit of putting our own oxygen masks on first, we also trained the whole Snook team in both studios to become Mental Health First Aiders.

Communities for All 

One of the ways in which communities thrive is in the work of many volunteer organisations run by and for members of the public in their spare time. This year we achieved a long-held ambition to work with the Scouts! They asked us to look at improving the adult volunteering experience and we sent members of our team out to meet with people all over the UK, often at weekends (because that’s when volunteers are doing their thing). We learnt that Scouts the energy and enthusiasm that drives people to volunteer can lead to burnout or feeling under-appreciated in the end.  We’re currently prototyping solutions to explain the realities of volunteering, open the communication within the Scouts community and help Scouts feel recognised. We’ve been working with Renfrewshire Council, in partnership with Dartington Service Design Lab and funded by the Life Changes Trust, to ensure all young people in care have their voices heard. We've worked with them all the way from user research and co-design through to testing and implementation. Research with young people revealed that good conversations are key enablers for many important decisions in a young person’s care experience. We’re now building a framework to improve the quality of conversations and will be testing a shared resource, co-designed with young people and practitioners to improve care experiences from early 2020. Another great experience of being involved in creating a fully built service from research to delivery was with Hackney Council. After finding out that over 50% of applications fail, we worked with them to design and launch a new digital service for household planning applications. We met with planners, citizens and housing experts to understand their needs. In alpha, we developed a series of recommendations and prototypes, designing an end-to-end service using the GDS Design System. In beta, we’ve designed a new data-led service and re-worked the user experience to include dynamic forms to make the submission process easier and effective. 

The next decade is about systems 

As you can see from above, no one project we run is simply a ‘health’ or an ‘environmental’ challenge. As Dahlgren and Whitehead pointed out, your health is connected to your socioeconomic level. Many issues are determined by economic factors or the environment. When we talk about designing a world where people and planet thrive, we recognise this isn’t the challenge of one organisation alone, but a systems challenge. Our new missions are purposefully wide and we’re proud of that. We want to work across systems in the next decade, working with multiple partners who connect together to build alliances that will tackle the tough inequalities and human and planetary health problems that exist today.  We’re here for that. If that sounds like something you want to do - get in touch, we’re planning out 2020 and beyond as we type.  But for now, 2019 has been an epic adventure. We’ve grown in size and impact and are so excited about what we can achieve. 2020 will see both the London and Glasgow offices moving to new premises. We’ve got big plans to do even more with DOTI (watch this space) and tons of exciting project work coming in.  But now it’s time to turn off the laptop and have a well-earned break. We hope you’ll be enjoying a relaxing, joyful, harmonious holiday and look forward to seeing you in the New Year. See you in January 2020!   [post_title] => Snook 2019: A year in review [post_excerpt] => From co-designing services and training charities to sustainability and our 10th year as Snook - these are our highlights of 2018. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => snook-2019-year-review [to_ping] => [pinged] => https://wearesnook.com/design-like-theres-a-climate-crisis/ https://wearesnook.com/free-school-meals/ https://wearesnook.com/sharing-knowledge-to-build-better-mental-health-services/ https://wearesnook.com/put-oxygen-mask-helping-others/ [post_modified] => 2020-01-17 13:00:49 [post_modified_gmt] => 2020-01-17 13:00:49 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://wearesnook.com/?p=19016 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [40] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 18999 [post_author] => 91 [post_date] => 2019-12-10 12:25:51 [post_date_gmt] => 2019-12-10 12:25:51 [post_content] => Matilda’s background spans youth work, activism, education and creative event production. After graduating in English Literature, Matilda spent time in Athens working in a community centre, supporting refugees with language lessons, childcare and legal needs. When she came back to London, she completed Year Here - a post-grad committed to tackling society's toughest problems. When she’s not at Snook, she runs Split Banana; a social enterprise that provides relevant and inclusive sex and relationship education to young people. Matilda is passionate about equipping young people with the skills and knowledge they need to navigate the complexities of adult life. Outside of work, you’ll find Matilda campaigning for environmental justice, organising fun, cycling on London’s quiet-ways, putting the world to rights over pints and spending time with her four younger siblings. [post_title] => Matilda Lawrence-Jubb [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => matilda-lawrence-jubb [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2020-02-18 14:10:47 [post_modified_gmt] => 2020-02-18 14:10:47 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://wearesnook.com/?post_type=people&p=18999 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => people [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [41] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 18201 [post_author] => 90 [post_date] => 2019-12-04 21:46:39 [post_date_gmt] => 2019-12-04 21:46:39 [post_content] => [post_title] => Building Ireland’s first public sector service design centre [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => irelands-first-innovation-centre [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2020-01-07 16:05:05 [post_modified_gmt] => 2020-01-07 16:05:05 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://localhost/snook-dev/?post_type=work&p=18201 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => work [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [42] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 18558 [post_author] => 90 [post_date] => 2019-12-03 21:24:37 [post_date_gmt] => 2019-12-03 21:24:37 [post_content] =>
Sarah Drummond talks about learnings and best practice in procuring service design.

I’ve been responding to requests for bids from clients in the form of ITTs, RFQs, Briefs, Proposal requests — for over 10 years, across the public, private and third sector for my company Snook. Even after all this time, I’m still surprised at how some of the small things that our clients do at this stage often make it very hard for them to get good results from the work they commission later on.

Procuring design can be a tricky business if you’ve never done it before, or you’re having to explain what it is and what you need via a procurement department.

It’s even more difficult when you are protected by rules that ensure you don’t discuss the job in hand with potential suppliers .

The market is increasing in size with more people eager to commission Service Design, and even more people trying to sell it.

With an increase in the popularity of Service Design (and ‘design thinking’), I’ve seen a growing trend towards clients asking for service design without necessary knowing what it is or how to integrate it with the other outcomes they want to achieve from a given scope of work. ‘Service Design’ has become a catch all for any kind of change, making it increasingly hard to buy as a service from an agency or supplier.

I want the people I work with to get the best possible results — so I’ve written a 16 (awkward) part guide on how to buy service design.

It’s not exhaustive, but rather a list of some helpful tips that might help you if you’re involved in commissioning or selling service design.

I find that these elements help both sides reach a quicker understanding of what’s needed.


1. Be clear about what problem you’re trying to solve

Start with a clear intent, and don’t use ‘Service Design’ as a catch all for all ‘creative’ or ‘innovation’ projects.

Normally it’s good to start with a problem to solve that you have either evidence for but if you don’t know what the problem is, describe the issue you need to explore.

Here are a list of potential starting sentences and project types that I use to describe the different asks that come to us. They help us to define what kind of team we might put on our projects and how we might help answer the ask.

Problem defining and service design: We’re looking to understand why a service we run doesn’t work and how we can improve it

Digital channel shift: We’re looking to exploit digital as a way to scale our service offer

Proposition development: We’re looking to develop a clear product proposition and service to deliver it

Service Design: We need to design a service for the future

Product innovation: We need to think about the wider user experience of a product we deliver

Detail design: We’re looking to design the end-to-end service in detail at a delivery level

Technology driven innovation: We’re looking to understand an opportunity with a new technology we’ve discovered

Capability building: We’re looking to build our capacity to design services and re-align our internal structure to facilitate this

System and problem shaping: We’ve got a big challenge around X and we need to find a way forward to tackle it

User research: We need to better understand if we need to build a service or how we can better meet the needs of a user group.

We need to transform our organisation to centre around our customer needs and set a vision for where we are going.

This isn’t exhaustive but it might help you think about the intent of your project over the process of Service Design.


2. Set a budget or investment bracket

People often ask me ‘how much does service design cost’ and the honest answer is — it depends entirely on what you want to achieve.

Not setting a budget leaves an agency in a difficult position to consider how deep you want to go, for what length of time, if you can add on other deliverables that will enhance the final design. It’s like shooting in the dark.

Without a budget we can’t understand your level of investment and are left without understanding if you have the funds for a Ferrari or Fiat Panda. This isn’t about selling you dead time — we make our client’s budgets work to maximise the value they get for the time they can afford.

Budget can mean the difference in numbers of research participants to how long we spend on shipping the design. A budget range from x to x is fine but at least give the responders somewhere to aim for.

Without this, you end up with either unrealistic budgets where agencies try to over promise or proposals that shoot way beyond what you were looking for or able to invest in.


3. Focus on outcomes not outputs

Ensure your brief or tender focuses on outcomes not outputs. When you ask for a report at the end, you’re laying the focus on the delivery of the thing, not on the knowledge you need to make the right decision to deliver or design a service.

Try dropping reports out from your deliverables and instead focus on a KPI or outcome along the lines of ‘We need to have a concrete understanding of the existing user experience so we can take the right decisions on what we need to change’

Be flexible for that output to change, just ensure you map what you need to know at each stage of the project and work collaboratively with your partner to identify the right format as the project begins to close.

Treat the project as a learning experience and consider how your organisation can join the journey of knowledge development. I’m not adverse to writing reports, but if the focus is on an agency to write a report to meet your stakeholder needs, the richness and value of the original research and insight can get lost in producing something that is watered down to the ‘right wording’. If this is really needed, create a separate budget line to support you to write the stakeholder report.

You should place the value and emphasis on learning, rather than on the delivery of outputs. Raw deliverables are much better and ultimately more useful than over produced tools or reports.

When the output is the goal, we lose all value and meaning in what the intention of the project was at the end.

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="1920"] The team from Letchworth Garden City working with Snook on a design project, learning was baked in from the outset of the council’s team[/caption]

4. Make the space for your team to learn

Service Design is a knowledge and insight game. If you’re bringing someone in-house recognise that you will gain the most value from them by working with them.

Ensure there is time made available for your team, in particular a product lead, delivery manager or individual closely related to delivering the thing you’re working on to join that team’s journey.

Look wider too, who would benefit from what this team are doing? Any good agency will support you to think about that at the outset, a RACI framework can help with that but it is good to look ahead and make the resource available on your side.

This doesn’t mean looking over their shoulder, but join in their research, attend their stand ups and make sure there are regular show and tells for you to hear about the work first hand.

5. Give us time, commission early

It’s down to an agency to only pitch for a job if they know that they can deliver it. However, I’d be worried if anyone can say confidently they can start within two weeks. Does this business have no other work on? I’m regularly being asked to tender within a two week window and ‘start’ the week after.

We say we can start because ultimately, there are always delays. Contracts, recruitment, finding first dates for meetings, the list goes on, and usually by the time it is all worked out everyone is ready to go, so it usually works out. But it isn’t the best start, it’s good to get that all out the way so our prime focus is the job in hand and our team have had time out from the project that just finished to decompress and ready themselves for the next job.

This could all be smoother.

Try to look ahead in your commissioning cycle by thinking two to three months before you want to start. This means you’ll get a fresh team ready to work on your project without trying to finish off other projects.

Ultimately, this is an agency’s responsibility to be ready to deliver, but just look ahead and commission early, it could make work better for everyone.

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="566"] At Snook we often map hypothesis across the project at kick off, building ideas and testing prototypes but they can be really helpful at the outset of a tender process from clients[/caption]

6. Tell us your hypothesis upfront

At the start of any project I map the hypothesis of the project team to gain an understanding of what they think we might find out through the research or what the outcomes of the project might be. It helps us to understand any bias, pre-conceived ideas and recognise any agendas at the table.

It would be really helpful if we knew this when writing a proposal upfront. It helps us to understand what we might want to validate or question from the get go and write a proposal around. Again, any good agency should go through this with you at the outset, however, it is helpful to give the agency more understanding of where your head is at and what they will need to do to validate or break your hypothesis.


7. If you’re trying to win a battle make it clear

Often once we’re commissioned, we find out that our work is more of a political piece than a straight up service design project. This is ok, I understand that part of design can be a democratic tool to validate a user need or perspective with evidence, but it’s good to know upfront. When our work needs to be more persuasive then it’s good for us to think about who is good at that kind of work.

If you aren’t going to be open with a brief, find a way to help an agency understand the wider context of what’s going on. There needs to be budget for some of that understanding and context setting so we can do our work well by understanding the politics of the situation early on.

Design skills can be different from consultancy skills and if you’re going to need a persuasive critical friend, we need to look at our team carefully and think about who right people are to help both surface that insight but then communicate it. That is often not the same person.


8. Beware over delivery promises

We all lose proposals, but nothing stings more than being told someone else promised double what we did for the same budget.

For me, if someone promises you the world for far less than the majority of other bids, this is a red alert.

I’ve been on the commissioning side and been burned early on in my career when someone promised everything.

Ultimately, they couldn’t deliver, and I found they were working all hours to deliver, which meant in turn, the work was sloppy, they were late for meetings and generally didn’t do a great job on any of the project because they had other projects on to bolster their income.

I’d listen to people who push back on the budget, they probably have enough experience to tell you it’s tight. It’s then yours (and theirs) discretion to go forward with the work on the identified budget or bolster it.


9. Remember you’re hiring talent not a process or methods

I’ve lost pitches because ‘our methods’ weren’t clear enough and the competitor had ‘more innovative methods’. Now, I’m not crying over spilled milk here — but it’s really important to remember if you’re hiring designers, you’re hiring good people with experience who can navigate complexity and turn it into direction.

In the modern market of Service Design, it’s pretty easy to pick up a book, learn some methods and dazzle you with the latest buzzwords and methods.

In reality, design means sitting together in a room and working out a route forward by asking the right questions. Those questions come with experience and skills from a design team, not a book.

In commissioning, focus on what they’ve done before, where they’ve done it, what their clients thought, what it helped them to achieve and how they did it. Find out about their process, but don’t weigh this too heavily.

No project is the same with repeatable ‘methods’. Remember it is the quality and experience of the people you are buying, not a process.


10. Don’t expect the answer upfront

We’re exploring together so don’t feel nervous when a design team doesn’t know the answer. The best answer is we’ll find out together but we’re here to guide you.

I’ve been asked a lot for ‘the answer’ or ‘the concept’ in tender documents and the reality is there is no possible way I can tell you. What I can do, is show you where we’re tackled a similar problem but until we get stuck into your organisation and users, I can’t tell you the right route forward.

That is what service design is about, we’re here to take you on a journey to find the right insight and help make a design decision.

This doesn’t mean a design team shouldn’t have ideas. Ask them what questions they would have for you. You want them to be curious and to be ‘thinkers’ who will help uncover the right route forward.


11. Respect the time to think and design

Often tender documents focus on exact days we will ‘deliver’ and what the output is at each stage. For example, for a day of ‘Sensemaking’ what is the output?

The output is a team with the knowledge to design the right thing. But we’re pushed to create outputs that symbolise we’ve ‘done’ this.

I’ve been genuinely queried on ‘time’ that we’ve baked into a proposal for the team to actually design. What they’re doing here is sketching, discussing, researching, prototyping and it doesn’t always need an output.

It seems we’ve forgotten in the world of Service Design that people who are experts still need the space to think.

I 100% stand behind joined sense making workshops and co-design but we need to strike a balance. When we’re not with you, we’re still delivering and sometimes the researchers or designers just need time to think.

I know this point may sound ludicrous, but it happens fairly frequently in commissioning design, to not actually consider the budget to create freedom to just, well, design.

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="758"] In roughly 50% of proposals, we’re asked to break down projects by exact days[/caption]

12. Buy time not days

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve spent breaking down a day by day delivery to make a budget work. It’s painstaking, and I’d say 95% of the time changes as soon as we meet the client.

It looks a bit like this;

Phase One Prepare research framework — 0.5 days Recruitment framework — 0.25 days Recruiting — 2 days Data and platform preparation — 0.5 days User research x 12 interviews — 4 days User research interview write up — 1 days

You get the picture. Now do this across a project that requires multiple skillsets, lasts over 12 months and you’re breaking down every day down to 0.25 of days to make a budget work and satisfy the commissioner.

Buy time, weekly blocks of time where people work with you on a problem to solve. It’s better for both organisation procuring and agency.

For example:

Phase One Sprint week one: User researcher ( 5 days) Service Designer (5 days) Project Manager (2 days)

Ask what each block will focus on and what the outcomes and outputs are for overall phases. Use this flexibly as a sprint based model and pause (through negotiation and trusting contracts) with your supplier, there’s nothing worse than buying dead time. Getting down to the above level of minutia is really a painstaking approach to negotiate how someone will work for you. Re-frame that to how someone can work with you.


13. Clarify what you mean by ‘on-site’

There’s an increase in asking agencies to work ‘on-site’. I totally get this, and we do it fairly frequently but clarify what you mean by this.

When we see on-site requirements we either a) don’t bid as we don’t think the team can travel daily to the site or b) tip the budget on the travel time and expenses to get there.

What I’ve found, is the reality of ‘working on-site’ daily isn’t actually expected as we’re out researching anyway, and our client likes to come to our studio anyway.

During the tendering process, just be explicit on what this means.

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="1964"] After 3 days of writing an application for funding, we’re denied because we named one file wrong[/caption]

14. Usability test your procurement process

If I had a pound for every hour I’ve spent trying to understand how to respond, reading multiple documents and piecing together the ask, then responding into formatted templates that don’t work, I’d be rich.

It’s painstakingly hard sometimes when PDFs have input boxes that don’t work, codes for projects must be followed to the letter to save a file and there are complex questions without direct asks. It’s like a test in itself and that isn’t even about our response and proposal as experts.

Make it simple. Have a clear ask and make it easy to reply. Try giving your proposal to someone, even a few agencies to have a quick read and get feedback before formally putting it out.

Keep the questions and page expectations relevant to the contract cost.

Above all, make sure your submission forms work.

I have been close to tears at stages trying to fill in badly designed tender forms and that is not an exaggeration. Often it’s another 3 to 4 hours work.

I understand that this is often largely based on using outdated legacy technology to pass over briefs but there’s some simple techniques above in the documentation you provide to the questions you ask that could simplify the process greatly.


15. Tell us if you’ve done this before, and if it failed last time — why did it fail?

It is rare to find a client who hasn’t tried to do a major piece of strategic change before. It’s even rarer still to find one where that was a roaring success. Knowing what came before — what worked and what didn’t — is a great way to help an agency know what ideas or ways of working need to be avoided when delivering a piece of work.

Do people feel burned by a previous agency? Why was this and what should we do to ensure that doesn’t happen?

This is another helpful political question for an agency to gain an insight into who needs to be won over and how.


16. Meet the supplier

Above all, meet the supplier.

An initial phone call with potential suppliers either collaboratively or 1 to 1 is helpful for everyone involved. It may seem time intensive but in the long run will save resource by reducing any confusion of intent from the outset. Additionally, it allows organisations to decide not to respond.

Nothing works better than a follow up meeting to ask the questions you want answers to, and it helps the agency understand the full brief and what you’re looking for.

This can also be done, law permitting, by doing things like holding a supplier engagement call or recording a video of you and your team explaining the work. Overall it can help agencies to propose better teams and approaches.

I’ve written far too many proposals where we’ve been told that we haven’t been successful in the feedback call because what we wrote initially and what the client wanted were completely different.

Words can be a very ambiguous when it comes to mutually understanding a problem space.

I hope some of these are helpful. I don’t want this to sound like I’m crying over spilt milk — losing a tender is a natural part of any business and expected — but we could make it a lot smoother for everyone involved!

If you’d like to add any please tweet me @rufflemuffin and I’ll build them in with a repost.

I’d really like to thank Zoe Stanton at Us Creates for providing some good additions and eyes on this.

[post_title] => How to procure service design [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => how-to-procure-service-design [to_ping] => [pinged] => https://www.sinnaps.com/en/project-management-blog/agile-project-management-sprint-methodology [post_modified] => 2020-02-18 15:54:19 [post_modified_gmt] => 2020-02-18 15:54:19 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://wearesnook.com/?p=18558 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [43] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 18504 [post_author] => 91 [post_date] => 2019-12-03 17:23:31 [post_date_gmt] => 2019-12-03 17:23:31 [post_content] => We’ll be working in partnership with Barnado’s to develop a library of best-practice guidance for developing digital mental health products for young people. We’re able to do this because we’ve been allocated some of the funding from the Nominet #RESET online Mental Health funding Programme. This was set up with the aim of helping national charities increase the reach and impact of their mental health services.  At least 1 in 8 young people report struggling with mental health issues, with 99% of them spending at least an hour a day online. NHS services have been struggling to meet the demand, and over half of young people state there is no ‘adequate’ mental health support for them. It’s no surprise then, that there’s a growing interest in how digital can meet the increased demand across the public, private and third sector.

Experimenting and exploring

There’s been an explosion of new apps, digital channels and experimental technologies being used to connect with users on mental health and other challenging topics. At Snook, we’ve been experimenting - exploring what digital can do in this area throughout several project collaborations. In 2015 we worked with the Department for Education, Kent and Portsmouth University to explore new ways in which virtual reality could be used to create safe rooms for young people. It would allow them to work remotely with social workers to discuss traumatic experiences and prepare for leaving care. Across 2013 to date, we’ve worked with Young Scot, Mental Health Foundation and NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde. explored how technology and social media has affected young people’s mental health and built a range of prototypes to address this, including our launched information and guidance service, Aye Mind. More recently, we’ve been working with Samaritans and clinical experts in the development of a self-help tool, which will give people resources to cope with suicidal thoughts and make an ongoing support plan so they can stay safe in a crisis.

Sharing learnings

From working with charities like Addaction and Samaritans we know there is a huge amount of knowledge about what works in practice. When it comes to the delivery of digital and holistic multi-channel services,  we’ve learned by doing. We know what works (and what doesn’t!) The question is, how can we share this knowledge to design and deliver better services at scale? We’re seeing some poor products enter the market. They’re making which could be avoided by building on the rich knowledge that the charity or public sector often holds.  To address this, we started working with Public Policy Lab and an open community to develop a prototype of a free, public domain set of patterns for the design and delivery of digital services that address mental health needs. We launched a prototype in 2018. This was very much a first iteration to explore how a best practice library could work.  We needed more funding and, crucially, the support and expertise of a charity with experience of providing services to young people to work with. Partnering with Barnado’s and the #RESET funding is enabling us to develop the library’s full potential. We’ll expand it, creating a dedicated section for young people and of course testing to ensure it really works. The aim is is to make sure young people who need support can access it wherever they are and organisations that deliver it can tell that it’s working.  As well as Barnado’s, the other organisations receiving funding include The Mix, Chasing the Stigma, YoungMinds, stem4, Nightline Association and The Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families. They will deliver a range of activities, including improving signposting online, developing new digital products and digitally transforming their organisation to meet demand.   [post_title] => Sharing knowledge for better mental health services [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => sharing-knowledge-to-build-better-mental-health-services [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2019-12-05 01:48:23 [post_modified_gmt] => 2019-12-05 01:48:23 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://wearesnook.com/?p=18504 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [44] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 18509 [post_author] => 53 [post_date] => 2019-12-03 17:16:53 [post_date_gmt] => 2019-12-03 17:16:53 [post_content] =>
Senior Service Designer Ness Wright talk about the challenge and opportunity of designing services and products that people want to use. I’m a proud Fairphone owner (of the 17,248th to be precise). I personally was excited to support a start-up making modular, repairable smartphones from conflict free-materials. Persuading others to jump ship isn’t easy, the camera can’t compete with the latest Apple device and Wired described it as ‘ethical but ugly’.
When I switched to a green energy provider, it felt great knowing our electricity was coming from renewable source, but we received wildly inaccurate bills for the first year and struggled to navigate our way around complex online payment systems.
Picture of Fairphone
Image of a customer bill
Encouraging people to make sustainable choices is hard, from the phones we buy to the energy suppliers we choose (and everything in between), cost, speed, convenience, ease, simplicity, look and feel often trump sustainability. The opportunity here is for sustainability not to have to compete at all – what if the sustainable thing was also the best thing. Service design and its user-centred approach are key to this. We conduct research to understand the needs of our users. We find out what challenges they face, how the service help them and find out what context are they are using it in? We find opportunities to make the service easier to use, more helpful and more attractive, for all sorts of different users. Services can be designed really badly or really well. A well designed service increases the likelihood of someone using because it is genuinely helpful and enjoyable to use. Good service experience is a compelling incentive and plays a key role in making the sustainable choice the best choice.

How have we done this before?

Fishermen contend with the challenges of selectivity every time they go out to fish. Policy places restrictive bans to prevent overfishing of particular species implementing large fines in efforts to curb the insurmountable waste attributed to the industry. In attempt to fish sustainability and to mitigate the negative financial impact of these restrictions, fishermen have been creating their own hacks to modify their nets to help them catch the right fish. SafetyNet Technologies, a London based SME has developed Pisces, a new technology that retrofits to fishing nets and emits different colours and frequencies of light. Fish respond to light in different ways and by capitalising on their physiology, fishermen can attract or deter certain species based on their needs. All impressively innovative, but how might we ensure this technology lands in the hands of fishermen in a way that we can ensure it’s used?
Image of Snook researcher speaking with a fisherman
Looking at where Pisces should attach to the net so we can offer guidance to future owners of the device
For three months we worked with SnTech to understand the needs and motivations of fishermen to adopt this new technology. We developed an ongoing strategy for development of the product based on the needs of fishermen and articulated an ongoing vision of product development of ‘Pisces, built by fishermen, for fishermen’. Our research helped SnTech to modify the development of Pisces and view the product as a service considering everything from guidance for use to a marketing plan. We helped build the sustainable thing as the best thing ensuring the adaptation to new technology was easy and guided by the needs of users.

What’s next?

Sustainability shouldn’t mean compromise on service. Service and user-centred design can help ensure the sustainable thing is enjoyable, helpful and easy to use. Are you developing a sustainable produce or service? We want to work with you to make sure your service offering is the best out there. Email curious@wearesnook.com with the subject line “Sustainability Snooks” to get the conversation started.
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Building a network around Design for Sustainability
Back in April, Snook was overwhelmed by the energy in the room at DOTI: From Service Design to Sustainable Environmental Action. The sense of urgency and excitement from fellow designers and organisations left us keen to keep up the discussion. We should be using design to address our global climate crisis. In response, we invited everyone back last week to transform our discussions into actionable ideas. Together we mapped out our design processes – from scoping projects and building teams, to managing live products/services and navigating policy implications. We then identified points along the way that required intervention.

Our big questions were:

  • How can we adapt our existing tools and processes to make them more sustainable?
  • Do they need to be replaced with new ways of working altogether?
  • What might these look like, and how can we prototype them?
By forming thematic working groups, we identified a variety of new principles and prototypes to test out in our own practices. To name a few, we recognised the following as barriers and opportunities for further work:
  • Finding ways to ask the hard questions: to ourselves and our clients, and at all stages of our project processes. For example: should we be designing this in the first place? Encouraging clients and organisations to identify their sustainability representatives and environmental policies at the start of projects might support this.
  • Bringing futures thinking into conversations now: to consider the long term impact of our work, potential future users and their needs, and how to avoid unintended outcomes. Building time into our projects to free up thinking and consider possible alternatives with our clients was favoured.
  • Working between scales: to navigate policy constraints that often result in red tape. While designers regularly aim to derive impact by working with influential organisations and policy-makers, community engagement and citizen’s/people’s assemblies can offer more direct routes to projects that avoid restrictions and extractive business models.
Our ambition now is to spark the beginnings of a design network across the UK that is dedicated to sustainable impact through design. We’re calling upon individuals with design and sustainability experience to connect, share their knowledge, and plan new projects around design for sustainability. In particular, we want to develop new processes, tools, and principles to prototype and embed within our design practices at scale. Register your interest in joining us here and we’ll send information about our online platforms and upcoming events.
[post_title] => Design like there’s a climate crisis [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => design-like-theres-a-climate-crisis [to_ping] => [pinged] => https://wearesnook.com/doti-south-reflections-and-next-steps/ [post_modified] => 2020-05-18 14:49:57 [post_modified_gmt] => 2020-05-18 14:49:57 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://wearesnook.com/?p=18502 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [46] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 18485 [post_author] => 91 [post_date] => 2019-12-03 12:53:05 [post_date_gmt] => 2019-12-03 12:53:05 [post_content] => With a PhD in Healthcare Service Design, Val is motivated to improve health and social care services through co-design, improving both the experience of the citizen and the efficiency and effectiveness of service delivery. Previous clients include the Scottish Government, NHS24 and the Department for Education. Being Mum to four boys has prepared Val for anything life throws at her! Val previously lived in Burundi working as Project Manager on the construction of houses for orphaned children. This has led to a love of wearing bright, colourful African textiles, which is without a doubt the best way to feel happy on a Monday morning! [post_title] => Valerie Carr [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => valerie-carr [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2020-07-01 13:58:21 [post_modified_gmt] => 2020-07-01 13:58:21 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://wearesnook.com/?post_type=people&p=18485 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => people [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [47] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 18402 [post_author] => 90 [post_date] => 2019-12-03 00:33:00 [post_date_gmt] => 2019-12-03 00:33:00 [post_content] =>

Snook was founded 10 years ago this December. Sarah Drummond reflects over nearly a decade of great work, and where we want to be in the future.

We’re stronger now than ever before. We have a full portfolio of work for the year, doing the things we love best — working on some of the most significant Scottish and UK Government programmes around.

Over the years we’ve grown a team of over thirty in Scotland and London and recently, we have brought in more support roles to make it easier for great work to happen.

This year more than any other, Snook has hit its stride, and we’ve finally been able to take a step back and ask ourselves — how can we make an even bigger impact in the world?

Snook was founded on a mission to scale the design capability of the public sector and to make it more user-centered.

So many things have happened since the early incarnation of those principles, embodied in the slightly questionable poster above.

We have trained thousands of people and delivered hundreds of live products and services that have touched the lives of people across the world.

There are too many to list, but over the years we’ve helped Samaritans design ways for people to improve their mental health, supported Neighbourhood Watch to help older people facing fraud, worked with the NHS to redesign A+E, created new national care services with the Scottish Government, worked with housing providers to support vulnerable tenants, helped local authorities commission new homeless systems and launched award-winning platforms supporting young people to prepare for the world of work — to name just a few.

Alongside this, we’ve released our own products that improve the world in areas we’re passionate about. From CycleHack, an award-winning initiative to overcome the barriers to cycling in 50 global cities, to Dearest Scotland, a snapshot of the referendum which culminated in a book of letters written by citizens to the future of the country.

In recent years, we’ve pushed the design industry to be more accessible by running initiatives and events on inclusive recruitment and inclusive design. We also started ‘Design On The Inside’ a set of events, conferences and (soon to be) podcasts. It shares the knowledge of designers who work inside large organisations and furthers our mission of increasing in-house design capability.

We are beyond proud of the work we’ve done. I’m eternally grateful for the people who’ve employed us, and even more for those we’ve worked with. We are now hooked on the same mission — we want to design a world that’s more human.


So where now?

All of this is a huge achievement, especially for a studio that’s only been around for 10 years — but the world is changing.

Our mission is still the same as it was, but how we deliver it today needs to be different. The market and its needs are changing. I’ve been open and honest about my scepticism of the traditional design studio model in meeting the new demands and needs of the Government, our NHS and the wider public sector.

In the past five years, we’ve seen countless service design projects (both our own and those of other agencies) struggle to get delivered through consultancy, and it can be unsatisfying for both the team and the organisation investing in them.

We’ve also noticed an increase in the number of technology companies with product oriented models being awarded work by designing multi-channel services. This is generally being done without having the in-house skills to undertake the work, or expertise to build capabilities of organisations, leading to badly designed services and unsustainable delivery models.

“We need the NHS’s staff and patients to benefit from this talent [in the marketplace] and we need this talent to see the NHS as a brilliant market for their innovation.

The new NHSX CEO, Mathew Gould summarised what the market needs far more succinctly than I could. For organisations supporting the NHS to deliver world class health services to work differently, he said; “We need the NHS’s staff and patients to benefit from this talent [in the marketplace] and we need this talent to see the NHS as a brilliant market for their innovation. All this means a clear approach — creating the platform for digital innovation and creating the standards that will allow that innovation to plug in safely. It means not competing against the market and resisting the urge to build or commission everything ourselves”

We are facing a reality where government, the public sector and many other large organisations have and will become platforms on which products and services are built. To do this we need open, ethical organisations who can take on this challenge, build real partnerships with these organisations and build their capability so that they are able to deliver these services sustainably.

More importantly, these organisations need to be able to make these partnerships well in the first place, and that means rapidly increasing their capability in design, from policy downwards.

The route of delivery

Right now, Snook simply doesn’t have the scale to be able to do this on our own. This is why we’ve chosen to take Snook to the next level by integrating with a partner that can help us achieve this mission.

There are two main options open to agencies looking to do this — work with a large consultancy firm, as so many other agencies have done, or work with a delivery one.

We chose delivery for all of the reasons I talked about above. The strategy, after all, is delivery — not more strategy.

Our exciting news

I’m excited to announce today that the partner we’ve chosen to join with is Northgate Public Services (NPS).

What we needed to find was an organisation who had a deep expertise, knowledge and platform for scaled delivery. That’s what NPS has.

If you don’t know NPS, they have helped to screen more than 10 million babies for hearing loss, maintained over 21 million people on the NHS Organ Donor Register, provided 50% of police forces in the UK with vital frontline information and supported 150 social housing providers to deliver efficient services to tenants across the globe.

They have the scale and technology, we have expertise in user centred-design that they want to bring deeply into their products.

This move marks a change in both the pathways of Snook and NPS. For Snook, this means scaling the level of delivery we’re able to offer, and for NPS, this means becoming a design-centred, user-led organisation.

The design studio model of yesterday is in danger of becoming obsolete for the type of capabilities the sector is calling for, and we want to ensure we’re listening to the patterns we’ve witnessed.

For me, this integration is about both Snook and NPS creating the type of organisation a 21st-century public sector needs in order to deliver great services.

Part of this means accelerating the independent initiatives we’ve started, like our work on inclusive recruitment, our Design Patterns for Mental Healththe User Research Library and Design on the Inside.

Working with NPS will provide us with the ability to invest in building these platforms in the open, with an aim to support wider sectors for good beyond our own work.

We don’t see this as ‘tacking’ design on, this is about fully integrating user-centered design into the heart of a delivery organisation that can not only innovate but sustain and maintain delivery.

What’s next?

Firstly, it’s important to say, Snook isn’t changing.

Our mission, name and services won’t change. We’re committed to continue the work we’ve been doing and will work with NPS to build a shared capability in Service Design, transformation and delivery.

We will still have our studios in Glasgow and London, and continue to invest in the skill development and pathways of our team to grow and hone their talent.

We are however growing, and we will be hiring.

We will be developing our skills and offer in digital product design and transformation more deeply by integrating our teams together.

We want to go beyond our client expectations and set the vision of what great looks like, and we can now do this at scale. There are a number of critical things we want to ensure happens in our work together with NPS;

  • All the services we design, past and present, consider user needs first, building services that work first time for those who need them
  • We live in a world where services work inter operably, exploring how our platforms can be open to enable this
  • Ensuring all of our products and services are accessible
  • Developing critical thought on user data

Further to this, we have always advocated for preventative models of care and service. With scale and data, we can begin to explore and test preventative health and care models and explore how to ethically bring these to life in the sector.

To make sure that all of these things get delivered, I’m going to support Snook in a new role as Chief Digital Officer for NPS, and join the executive team at Northgate. I’m excited to be operating at this scale and set the pace for a company to develop deep capabilities in Service Design and human-centered design.

Opportunities like this don’t come along often, and when they do, you know it’s right. I’m proud of Snook past and present who have taken us to this stage, and even more excited about what the future holds.

You can read the NPS press release here.

You can read my personal blog on the last ten years of Snook here.

It goes without saying, there are some people who I owe dear thank-yous to for being part of the Snook journey to date:

Lauren Currie — Co-founder with me at Snook who I shared many laughs and cries with for the first half of the Snook journey.

Cassie Robinson — A dear friend, confident and board member who helped Lauren and I start up Snook in the first place.

The early crew — Andy Young and Kirsty Joan Sinclair who really solidified the early portfolio of Snook.

Our first project ALISS — Peter Ashe, Christine Hoy, Andy Hyde who we shared our first project with and invested a whole lot of love into bringing people together to design a system to support people with Long Term Conditions.

Glasgow School of Art — In particular Gordon Hush who’s been a long time support and let us set up an office in the art school for our first six months and Irene Macara McWilliams who made me think hard during my masters year.

Open Change — Known as Mike Press and Hazel White who supported us during the early days and continue to be great friends in the world to build more design in Scotland.

Our board — Stuart McDonald and Scott Cain who have provided fantastic support and asked the hard questions of me.

My partner Lou — Who has shared the joys and the pain of this bumpy ride for the past four years and helped keep me sane, without Lou, I’d have given up.

Friends and family — There are FAR too many of you to mention, but you know who you are. Thanks for supporting this first part of the ride.

All of the Snook team and extended family — Snook is nothing without team and I’m eternally grateful you’ve joined the journey for however long or short in our mission. You know who you are and there are too many to name individually that would favour anyone, so a deepest thank you.

Valerie Carr — My longest standing Snook, super mum and all round fantastic role model. Thank you for standing by me and continuing to invest so much of yourself into what we do at Snook.

Simon Smith — Our strategy director who’s really supported me in turning the company around in the last year by investing so much time internally to get our wheels turning smoothly and helping to make this move happen.

NPS, and Steve — for making this an easily smooth ride. It’s been a pleasure this far and we’re looking forward to working with you.

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Not to brag but we’ve been hacking for some years now. Here we’ve updated and expanded on our 2015 blog post to let you know why we still love hacks (and why you should too).

Hacks defined:

A hack is a time-restricted, issue-exploring, and idea-generating event, where participants come together to create a series of potential solutions to a problem and quickly test them in the real world. The ideas themselves might be realistic or impossible, obvious or completely wild. In any case, the strength of a hack lies in the insight you can gain into why a problem occurs and in the transformation from thinking about what the solution must be to understanding the many solutions there could be. Hacks are never the end of a journey, but they are often the first step on the road to real change led by a group of enthused team members who can own the process and transform an organisation. Also, there is coffee and, quite often, cake.

20 reasons to hack – and love it

1. Tackle a wicked problem “That’s just something we can’t change”, “this same thing comes up again and again”, “we’re in a vicious circle”. Hacks are a great place to address your ‘wicked problems’; things which seem too big, too complicated, or too impossible to solve. You might not uncover the perfect solution right away, but it’s a chance to bring all actors, stakeholders, and knowledge together to move things forward and start addressing these ‘impossible’ issues. 2. Research against the clock Time is precious, especially when it’s comes to a hack. You can’t research the whole world, but if you use your time wisely you could find a golden solution. Hacks are a great way to help you recognise your limitations, prioritise, and know when to stop. 3. Test your skills in the real world It’s always healthy to get away from your desk and experience the world outside the office. Go on, step outside, see the problem in the real world and get to work on it. 4. Work with people with different expertise The best hacks bring together experts with different backgrounds from across society. Remember, we’re all experts in something and all have knowledge to contribute in a hack. Work alongside and learn from people working at every level of an organisation, with end-users, with people who work with your end-users, and with partner organisations. Have your mind and your network expanded. 5. Learn to use open data Data and datasets can be scary words if you don’t deal with them every day, and even scarier when you are trying to consider how to make use of this data in a meaningful way. Use a hack as a chance to rummage around in the depths of your organisation’s data and discover what it can teach you about your users or how it can help to make an experience better for them.
hack main image
6. Experiment with service design It’s a brave new world out there, and service design is part of the ever-growing landscape. Believe it or not, ‘doing design’ is very simple. It’s really just problem-solving in a way that puts the needs of the people involved first. At a hack you can have a go at using the tools that help designers solve problems. Paper templates, programmes, and methods will help you to understand and communicate a problem quickly and work through it with confidence. Tools aren’t mandatory and they certainly aren’t homework; but they can be a great way to kick off your thinking and create solutions to everyday issues. 7. Develop your business skills It’s one thing to have a good idea that fills a need but it’s another to turn it into a viable business. Polish up your skills in a friendly, fast-paced environment by iterating your ideas, developing your pitching skills, and meeting possible future collaborators or customers. 8. Brainstorm like never before There’s nothing like a good brainstorm to generate creative, radical solutions. It’s all about quantity over quality in a hack. You only have a few hours or days so don’t fret about landing on the perfect idea straight away. Have lots of ideas, have them often, and test them straight away. 9. Meet your future employers or employees Looking for your next big break or employment opportunity? Hacks can be a great space to seek out opportunities and identify exciting individuals for your next business adventure. They’re also a great place to meet other talented individuals and be inspired by how they work. Maybe they’ll be the next addition to your organisation? 10. Prototype at the speed of light Make it fast and make it now. Rather than having endless discussions on what exactly the right thing might be and what it might look like, hacks are the place to make it first and ask questions later. It will all get a little bit Blue Peter, but by building things, by bringing them to life, we can quickly understand how they might exist and work in the wild (…or how they won’t!). You’ll be amazed how quickly you can pull together a rough draft and how much you can learn from even your earliest prototypes.
11. Test ideas with real people When we try to solve problems, it can be very easy to make assumptions about what other people will respond to. The key is testing our assumptions and then adjusting them according to our findings. Until you’ve tested your prototype with ‘real people’, it’s just a model. It’s natural to want to ask people ‘what they think’ of your idea, but at a hack you’ll be persuaded to actually let them experience it, to observe how they interact with it, and to iterate based on what you learn. 12. Learn to pitch ideas Hacks are the perfect place to pick up and practise those all-important pitching skills. Practice makes perfect, and believe us, you’ll be pitching endless amounts of ideas throughout a hack; to your team, to ‘real people’, and to all the hackers. 13. Get inspired! Meeting new people, thinking on your feet, and discovering new ideas and solutions in a fast-paced environment is a great way to get the inspiration flowing. 14. Experiment with new technologies Whether you are computer shy or tech mad, hacks are the perfect setting to get to grips with new technologies and see where they could take you. Remember, you’re working against the clock; it will be messy, you will break things, but then you might just put them back together again. 15. Make friends Meet people who think and operate similarly or differently to you, learn from each other and you might just end up building friendships that last longer than the end of the day.
16. Develop leadership skills In such a team-based working style, which increasingly mirrors our working lives, you’ll all need to play leader at some point. A hack is a great place to experience and try out different leadership styles, and see how people respond to them. Which styles work for you? For your team? Is it better to lead from the front, behind, or in the midst? A hack lets you figure it out, creating a sturdy basis for the next time you’re in charge. 17. Give public speaking a go (if you want!) Hacks are spaces where failing is encouraged and celebrated. You’re all working towards the same goal, so your audience is always behind you. If you’re a nervous public speaker, it’s a great place to swallow that fear with the support of your teammates, fellow hackers, and facilitators, as well as learn from others. 18. Turn great ideas into start-ups Most hacks operate under the ‘creative commons’ concept; the ideas generated there exist in the public realm, available to all. However, don’t worry about ‘keeping your idea to yourself’. An idea is nothing without an audience and a movement around it, and particularly without an enthusiastic and varied team. Use hacks to explore your ideas with others and bring them to life. 19. Brush up on your team skills There’s no I in team, and there isn’t in hack either… The great thing about a hack is that in such a short timeframe you’ll quickly find yourselves divvying up the tasks, finding new ways to bring everyone’s ideas together. By the end of the event you’ll have no clue which idea was whose and you’ll be one slick, problem-busting team-machine. 20. Most importantly, have fun What better way to figure out problems than having fun while doing it? There will be rubber chickens, there will be moments of spontaneous hilarity, there will be the silliest of ideas. Creativity comes best to us when we are enjoying ourselves. We’re curious creatures and exploring problems and ideas with others really sparks our imagination. Even when things get tough, your facilitators will be there to help you step away from yourselves for a while and to reset your mood. You’ll laugh long and hard at a hack, even if you don’t think you find rubber chickens particularly funny.

“The experience of Snook guiding without intrusion and providing the right environment where all comments and ideas are potentially valid is one that could be mistaken for chaos, but is probably closer to genius.”

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In order to design effectively, we aim to understand what people truly need and how those needs fit into their lives.
Research interviews and workshops can lead to deep conversations and may tackle sensitive subjects head on. Some of these discussions will resonate with us more than others. When something touches us we may find that our mind wanders, we might even get flashbacks, feel stressed or find ourselves struggling to ‘shake off’ what we have heard. We might experience emotions that are slightly out of synch with what’s happening, be more angry or sad than the situation warrants. When that happens, we’re not available to those around us – colleagues or participants – or to ourselves. We need to be able to look after ourselves first so that we can support others. This doesn’t always come naturally so we need to prepare ourselves for these difficult moments. We need techniques to ‘ground ourselves’, to stay in the present – before we can respond. It doesn’t take long, often just a few minutes to breathe. This article is gathered from our own experiences. It does not constitute professional advice. If you are worried about your mental health or that of someone else, please contact your GP or some of the organisations mentioned at the end of the article. Some of the techniques below may feel very foreign at first, but they work. I would encourage you to practice them with an open mind and discover the techniques that work best for you.

5 techniques for self-care:

1. Breathe. Breathing is the cornerstone of self-care. Gradually extend your exhalation so that it becomes longer, then inhale. You can imagine that you are breathing slowly in and out through a straw. Some people like to exhale through the mouth, like a sigh. Just be aware of the the air coming in and out, either by placing your hand on your abdomen or by paying attention to wherever you can track the sensations of breathing. Find your own way to do as much of this as you feel comfortable doing – there’s no need to make yourself feel self-conscious. A few moments of awareness can make all the difference. Extending your exhalation sends a calming down message to your nervous system and can make a huge difference. Don’t worry about the in breath, it will take care of itself. 2. Feel your feet on the ground. If you’re sitting down, feel the chair under your bottom, the back of the seat supporting your back. Keep breathing out slowly. 3. Pay attention to your environment. If you’re on the train heading home, can you feel the wobble of the train? What can you hear around you? What else can you notice around you? Can you feel wind on your face? Keep breathing out slowly. 4. Shake it off. Animals who have escaped a danger tremble to release the adrenaline. Shake your hands, your arms, your legs, your head, as if you were trying to flick something off. Return to breathing out slowly. 5. Brush it off. Brush your shoulders as if you were brushing some dust of your shoulder pads. You’re letting the stories fall off your shoulders. Think of the expression: “you’ve got too much on your shoulders,” or, “to have a monkey on your back.” Well, flick them away. You can do the same thing on your back.

Open up to the experience

It’s hard, sometimes very hard. It’s tempting to escape that feeling instead of opening up to it. All feelings are legitimate and less frightening when we name and include them. If you feel yourself becoming reactive to what’s happening, see if you can open up to being curious, maybe by saying to yourself: “Well, that’s interesting.” That little sentence seems to create just enough distance to allow you to breathe and maybe remember the other four techniques for self-care. Practicing these techniques will hopefully help you stay grounded when difficult moments arise. What techniques do you use? Share them with us #snookthinking Read the rest of the research series post: 10 things to consider when planning a project on a sensitive subjecthow we look after ourselves after the research and how we care for research participants. There are also services and organisations that you can talk to. In the UK and Ireland: Samaritans offer emotional support 24 h/day – free phone 116 123 Breathing Space: 0800 83 85 87, 24h at weekends (6pm Fri – 6am Mon) and 6pm to 2am on weekdays (Mon – Thur) With thanks to Clare Crombie
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Anne Dhir talks about why data-and-design are brilliant bedfellows. I came to service design from a business background. Ever since I joined Snook 5 years ago, I have been keen to look at how service designers and data practitioners can work together to achieve greater impact.

It’s a two-way street

Service designers don’t need to become data analysts, and technologists don’t need to become service designers. However, we need to know each other well enough so that we can benefit from one another’s strengths.

We share a vision

When I talk to designers and data practitioners, in particular around open data, it strikes me that we often share a vision. The transparency and transformation agenda have a lot in common. We believe in evidence-based decision making, even if the evidence we specialise in – qualitative or quantitative – varies. We believe in open-ended innovation; that well-designed solutions benefit not only the immediate users, but have a positive impact on the wider ecosystem. We believe in continuous improvement.

We need to be aware of each other

As a project manager of a data project, do you ask your client: “Do you have a service design team we can involve?”. As a service design team, do you routinely invite a data team to your project kick-off? Or include them in your stakeholder mapping? To do: try to find these teams or people. It might not be a formal team; it may simply be someone with an interest. You might actually find allies who help you deliver better outcomes.

We need to better understand each other

We need to understand how our disciplines fit together, and what we can each bring to a project. Service designers want to design services as end-to-end experiences that help users achieve their goals, are practical for staff, and are sustainable so that organisations can continue to deliver them. Data experts help organisations manage their data efficiently, so that data can be an asset that enables evidence-based policies and decisions. To do: Interview data technologists to better understand them, in the same way that we interview users and stakeholders to design a service.

What data can we work on together?

When we talk about design and data, designers automatically think of quantitative data to support qualitative insights. However, what we’re talking about here is different. Firstly, it is about the data that the service needs to function. For example, a service that enables Council to collect council tax from residents needs data about the properties, such as size and location. It requires data about who lives in the property, their age and status. As designers, we need to pay more attention to the ‘inside’ of the form: the data that users enter into the forms that we create. Secondly, it’s the data that the service creates that might be used for the purpose of the service or for other purposes. For example, when businesses pay their tax to the Council, it creates a dataset not only about the businesses and their taxes, but also about the state of the local economy.

We need all the data

To design efficient and effective services, we need to consider the whole data spectrum, not just open data. Open data is the tip of the iceberg – the part that is visible to users outside the organisation – but policy making and continuous improvement require the full spectrum, including shared and closed data. If a Council is designing interventions to increase the resilience of the local economy, it needs to know about all businesses; including sole traders, unincorporated associations, and partnerships. Otherwise, it runs the risk of reaching erroneous conclusions. Service designers also need to include in their designs how the service might publish open data safely and efficiently to deliver benefits to wider ecosystem beyond the service users and providers. To do: Stay tuned! As part of a project funded by ODI, Snook created a toolkit to share service design tools with data practitioners interested in data-led service design. During the Service Design Network global conference, I facilitated a workshop with Sarah to build up the data skills of service designers. This is still a work in progress and if you’re interested, do get in touch.
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Play. It’s one of the core characteristics of Snook’s culture, and one we try to encourage when working, both internally and with our clients. At Snook we tackle serious issues with a sunny disposition. We believe that this attitude leads to innovative and creative solutions.
Here’s our thinking on why play, work, and creativity go hand in hand.

More laughter = more productivity

Work is not often associated with fun, or a place of laughter – but it should be. According to Robert Provine, a professor of psychology at the University of Maryland: “Laughter is the quintessential human social signal. Laughter is about relationships.” But why is this, and why is it important at work? Simply put, laughter creates better communication, fosters empathy and increases cooperation between colleagues. It’s a fundamental human communication tool that can create stronger connections between workers. At Snook we are huge fans of funny GIFs. We regularly invest time creating custom emojis for each other and are proud of our honorary ‘bants of the month award’. We take stock and laugh out loud at (and with) the colleague who brings the most banter each month. We see laughter as a valuable part of company culture and time.

Older and wiser?

As we get older, we can often become more reserved when it comes to playfulness. Why is this? Is it because we can’t be “bothered” with the frivolity of play? Or maybe we just don’t have the time. But we should make the time. As Bernard Shaw puts it, “we don’t stop playing because we grow old, we grow old because we stop playing.” When workshopping with clients we like to bring along our handy box of tricks. This includes building blocks, craft supplies, and play-doh. At first there can be some resistance to this as professionals wonder why their corporate boardroom is becoming filled with toys. However, as this resistance fades, it turns to playful interaction, prototyping, and collaboration. Workshopping with toys, making with unusual materials, and stepping away from computer screens allows participants to think outside of the box. This act of play can alleviate stress, creating a non-competitive and productive atmosphere – the perfect storm for generating new ideas and initiating creative conversations.

Answers come to those who play

Laughter and playfulness are creative fuel for your brain. Being able to experiment at work frees us from stress and anxiety, two things that are fundamental drains of creativity. Think about the last time you faced an issue at work? How did you tackle it? How did you relieve stress and anxiety, and what tips would you share? Imagine what would happen if you laughed about it! What if you were given time to play with the possibilities of the outcome? This thought process creates an atmosphere that is free from a fear of being criticised or judged. When given the space to think of creative and innovative solutions you can get excited with the possibilities of play.
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How design patterns can help deliver better journeys across providers.
We sit in a no-man’s-land. The contested space for bikes, buggies, wheelchairs, bags and the occasional pet. A man who has just been wheeled on board asks if I can pass his bags. The attendant has left them out of reach and he needs to work. He is smartly dressed and makes this commute twice a week. He travels to the city for work on Mondays and returns home on Thursday for the weekend. The attendants often leave his bags out of reach. Sometimes they put them on his lap as they push him through the station. This hurts his legs. He jokes that today he is glad to be on board. Sometimes he is left in the waiting room, watching his train departure time come and go without anyone coming to help him on board. He is forgotten. Occasionally, Passenger Assist forget to take him off the train. He remains on board, travelling up and down the line until someone helps him. [caption id="" align="alignnone" width="1892"] Illustration by Julia Scheele[/caption] Over years of conducting user research on buses, trains and planes, we’ve heard far too many stories like this. The Deaf student who ended up stuck on a train back at the depot after the service terminated early. He missed the audio announcement, and no one thought to check if there were people still on the train. The woman with the broken pelvis waiting for nearly an hour for someone to come and help her carry her bags between the train and taxi. The autistic child who was distraught at having to change trains three times in one journey and not being able to sit in the same seat. Too often we find out that people with a range of mental health issues consider navigating public transport too stressful. Negative experiences like these often lead to people giving up on public transport, feeling safer and happier in private vehicles. This though further segregates them from society. Once people have invested in a car, they are unlikely to switch back. There is some great work being done by the likes of NeatboxWest Midlands Railway and others to overcome many barriers to travel for people with a range of physical and mental health needs. These stories and many more have several common features:

1. Problems that could be designed-out in advance

Most of the issues could have been planned or designed-out in advance, by involving users in the design process and testing prototypes with a range of people before implementation. From physical challenges like the poles on trains that prevent wheelchair passengers from passing, or digital signs with road names being placed behind the wheelchair seat on some buses. To more complex challenges like the autistic child wanting to sit in the same seat number for a rail journey.

2. Friction at boundaries

The majority of challenges also occur in the changes between transport modes and providers. Where transport providers have a support service, this often does not cover the end-to-end passenger journey, only the part provided by that organisation. Providers need to help their customers reach their destination. This highlights a key opportunity for Mobility as a Service (MaaS) concepts to better connect multiple modes and create an easier journey for passengers with accessibility needs.
[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="1892"] Illustration by Julia Scheele[/caption]

3. Human error and misunderstanding

Things go wrong with human interactions, often unintentionally and due to a lack of awareness. The heavy bags that were placed on the wheelchair user’s lap, the driver who announced the train termination over audio without realising there may be a Deaf passenger on board. All of the stories are everyday journeys that people should be able to make easily and without unnecessary stress. This suggests that staff roles need redesigning to provide a great experience. Ensuring all customer-facing staff have the right training, such as specific disability awareness and mental health first aid. Enough time to help people and treat them as individuals, emphasis on empathy as a job requirement, permission to be flexible when necessary. Research is also needed into the organisational processes and rules that are causing the current challenges.
[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="1892"] Illustration by Julia Scheele[/caption]
We need to design services that meet the needs of people with both physical and mental health requirements. And this needs to be across all transport services, not just special apps that work in certain areas or for one provider.

Design patterns for accessible and inclusive transport

Service design patterns offer a great opportunity to create more accessible transport services. Design patterns stem from architectural practice, such as making sure steps on stairs are equally spaced for ease of walking. They have since been applied in the service design world by GDSProjects by If and here at Snook to ensure consistent experiences for users across multiple services. Defining accessible design patterns for transport services would enable all providers to adapt their services to meet a range of needs, without each provider having to conduct specific research or design individual apps. Good service experiences go far beyond apps and design patterns could be used for better experiences at stations, planning travel, face-to-face with staff and over the phone. Furthermore, a set of standards would help hold providers to account when things go wrong or fall beneath an acceptable level. At Snook, we want to develop service design patterns for accessible transport as part of our mission to help deliver better, more human-centred travel. We are looking for partners and are exploring funding options, so if you are interested in working together get in touch! Email curious@wearesnook.com with the subject line Design Patterns for Accessible Travel.
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Ten years ago we couldn’t have imagined the connected world we now live in. The possibility of MaaS (Mobility as a Service) and the integration of various transport services into a single, on demand product – was a long way off. It was a conceptual Northstar that didn’t have the right data infrastructure or technology to land on. The announcement in March 2019 that City Mapper would be launching a (rival) travel card to TFL offering cheaper tariffs plus a bus service, that utilises user data to run smarter routes, brings us closer to understanding what this might look like in practice. However, what cost will this have to our public transport infrastructure?
[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="1892"] Source: citymapper.com[/caption]
Whether commuting, shopping or making a one off trip, MaaS benefits when thinking about it from a door-to-door perspective (your home to place of work, or end location) and by asking how seamless journeys of value can be built for customers. As policies like ULEZ have finally become a reality in cities like London, traditional product companies (like car manufacturers) are having to quickly consider how to integrate their products with wider public transport systems whilst looking at all transport modes, as a co-operative interconnected system.

It’s always been my belief, that the major players in the system –  from public transport providers to car manufacturers – can benefit from Service Design.

Service Design helps us explore the end-to-end experience of users and the underpinning of the business model in how it is delivered, and what value there is for the user. The tools of Service Design give us a space to explore and develop these new joined up travel systems, all from the perspective of the end user leaving the front door.

Bringing Service Design to the world of transport

Our journey into transport began in 2011. We worked with the brilliant Dr. Steve Cassidy at MMM Group, a global mobility consultancy. With them, we developed the “MMM Doers toolkit” which sought to integrate the core tenets of design practice into MaaS. We adapted our service design methods that we were using at the time within Government and healthcare, and focused them on transport, developing training for Steve and his team.
[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="1892"] Source: mmmgroup.com[/caption]
Our adaptation focused on the testing side of design, detailing how the methods and approaches could be used to identify behaviour change around transport and how they could encourage more active travel. Working with their vision for a MaaS model, we were able to play around with strategies for business model design through a service lens with added user value. For example, we looked at being able to shop and order shopping on journeys home; to shared service models for carpooling. After this project, it became clear to us that transport can benefit from taking a user-centered approach. It can be used to reconsider how it constructs itself as a whole system around the user – providing vision on how partnerships across places could be developed to meet these needs. We still see a major lack of joined up travel options for users, particularly in rural locations. Much of this eventually comes down to a lack of visionary partnership in how needs can be met, and a joined up user journey enabled.

With a platform infrastructure, we can design alternative travel options

A big interest that evolved from this work was how to encourage active travel into an everyday journey. We had the fortune of working with MMM on prototyping an app that would encourage city commuters to walk an extra one or two stops whilst waiting for the next bus/train. In this scenario, by demonstrating more prototyping, a better case could be made for investing in these concepts as you can actively show potential behaviour change. This was only possible due to the emerging technological capabilities that utilise local transport data.
Our depth of knowledge in this field increased when we worked with the great team over at Run Friendly on The First and Last Mile – changing the everyday journey on behalf of Go-Ahead. We delivered the user research that showed the benefits that might be happen if people switched from car travel to public transport. Plus, we helped build a case for people to use active travel modes for the journey to and from the railway station or bus stop. Through this work we confirmed the value of taking a user-centered approach to travel and the benefits prototyping can provide – in understanding user needs and behaviour change in the door-to-door journey.

In the world of Maas, everyone is your user

Much of our disjointed travel systems are a result of conflicting politics. Service Design has a real role to play here. If we really are to engender seamless transport systems we need to look at how end-to-end journeys can be delivered through partnerships. By mapping the user journey we want to see, we can work back from the user experience to look deeper into how the system needs to operate in order to enable it. We can still disagree and protect our ‘share’, but by looking from a user perspective and needs, it provides us with a vehicle to discuss what ‘could be’ and root our own interests around this. This will be about openness and standards. These partnerships need to look at how they safely open up their systems and data in order to connect with one another. This requires standards, APIs, and a number of open system approaches that will allow innovators and companies to provide connected offers to customers. By bringing it to the perspective of the users, it will hopefully result in all players in a transport system developing integrated offers that give us seamless, cost effective and connected opportunities for travel.
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Last month, we opened our doors to DOTI: From service design to sustainable environmental action. We left with a sense of urgency, to reflect on our practices as designers to try and ensure our solutions are as sustainable as possible. As a community, we rallied in the belief that our practices can contribute to building what’s desperately needed to confront climate catastrophe.
Our brilliant panel of service design expects and sustainability champions from STBY, the Design CouncilBulb and Incredible Edible led an open discussion with our audience. We touched on:
  • The politics of the invisible (pollution, CO2, biodiversity loss) and the power of those with influence. Trust and power play a massive role here and we need to understand these as ‘materials’ for better design.
  • Our capacity to prototype, to make – the craft of design – means we can show what’s possible, which inspires movement. We need this creativity because we need to move fast.
  • As designers, we cannot get debilitated by the scale of the problem and political inactivity. We respond to problems by ‘doing not talking’ and we need to bring that ethos to this monumental challenge, bridging the gap between academia and reality.

From human centred design to ‘living-things-centred-design’

We’ve heard your feedback and have outlined a number of ideas. We know there has been plenty of work already done here by Sophie ThomasJohn ThackaraJonathan ChapmanEcoLabs and countless others. We want to bring together people who have been working in the space already, with others who are keen to mobilise. Our ideas don’t chart a route forward, but aim to address our practice and build accountability within our industry. We also know that we’ll need the support of those that hold positions of power, leadership and finance, and we are actively working to connect those dots.

Our big questions:

Next steps

We’re hosting another event in London to address these questions, plan our next steps, and aim to widen participation across the UK. Register your interest in joining us here and we’ll send more information soon.
  • “Design is the first signal of human intention”
    Daniel Wahl - Designing Regenerative Cultures
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We’re helping 5rights get the word out on their call to action to make a submission to the Information Commission Office (ICO)'s consultation on the Age-Appropriate Design Code.
The 5Rights Foundation exists to ensure that children’s rights are observed online. Children’s rights are not optional, however inconvenient.
The Age-Appropriate Design Code was brought into UK legislation by Crossbench Peer, Baroness Kidron, with the support of Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Lord Ashton of Hyde, Opposition Spokesperson, Lord Stevenson of Balmacara, Conservative Peer, Baroness Harding of Winscombe and Liberal Democrat Spokesperson, Lord Clement-Jones of Clapham.
It represents an opportunity to address the asymmetry of power between children and the technology they are using. 5Rights Foundation will make its own submission to the Information Commissioner’s Call for Evidence in September, their initial thoughts are here in a wider briefing.
Their key recommendations for the code are;
The Code must offer a high bar of data privacy by default.
This would reverse current industry norms and would apply, as standard, to all devices and online services likely to access a child or be accessed by children.
Routine failure by an online service to adhere to its own published rules including; joining age, community rules, terms and conditions and privacy notices, should be considered a breach of the Code and subject to enforcement penalties.
Geolocation must be off by default.
Unless a geolocation is service critical (to be determined by the Information Commissioner), it should be off by default.
Childhood Impact Assessments as standard for all existing services and products, and new services and products prior to launch.
The “move fast and break things” and “fail furiously” culture of the technology industry does not hold the best interests of the child as their primary consideration. Introducing child impact assessments before services and products are rolled out would circumvent some of the most obvious data risks. The Commissioner might consider using the Responsible Innovation Framework as defined by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council.
The Code must introduce universal reporting standards (RRP).
By which we mean the steps a child takes, the information offered, and outcomes of reporting should be similar and therefore become familiar to a child as they grow up. We do not mean that a site cannot use its own brand or speak in their own branded voice.
The Code requires a commitment from government for enforcement.
Unless there is a meaningful likelihood of enforcement, then the ISS are not incentivised to implement the Code in ways that are robust and effective. The ICO needs sufficient expertise and resources, and given the huge wealth of some ISS, the backing from the treasury to fund enforcement.
Making a submission
You can make a submission to the ICO's consultation on the Age-Appropriate Design Code (closing date 19th September), either as an individual or an organisation. Further information on children's privacy and the Age-Appropriate Design Code can be found on the Information Commissioner's blog.
The 5rights foundation is always open to hearing your questions, thoughts and any additions or corrections on their briefing paper, which can be sent to info@5rightsframework.com.
It is important for the Information Commissioner to hear from a broad range of people, so if you know other people and organisations in your professional or personal life who care about the experience children have online, please encourage them to engage with the submission. They may do so independently but are also welcome to attend a briefing session held by Baroness Kidron on the following date;
Tuesday 4th September, 12:30 - 14:00 in Westminster.
If you would like to attend the session, please email info@5rightsframework.com.
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