We’re just back from the dmi: 19th Academic Design Management Conference where our paper on Project 99 was accepted, ‘Moving Beyond the Consultancy Model’.

It was a real honor to attend and present at DMI.  For Snook, as practioners, it was an interesting experience to be surrounded by so many academic theories and papers looking at the development of design and the advent of design thinking as a method organisations and individuals are adopting to cope with a world in constant flux.

The conference gave us the opportunity to reflect on our wide practice in Scotland where we’re developing outside ventures, consulting on the edge with organisations and embedding our team into charities and governments, we’re taking a tiered approach to consider how design can fluctuate from straight up idea generation and development of concepts to quite complex entrepreneurial forms of design management and strategy.  For Snook, we are seeing our designers use their rounded skills of prototyping, visualisation, story telling to develop strategy and vision for organisations over and above the development of products and services. Some of the presenters at DMI provided us with evidenced conceptual models to look at how our work can be categorised and communicated succinctly even though some of it can be messy and disruptive, never really following a linear business process.

We’ve always been a fan of writing up our work, the thing is, when you run a business and are out delivering work, the time to write, particularly in a critical or academic fashion does not come along often.

Our paper revolved around our experience of being the design partner on Project 99, and reflected on a new form of consultancy where as a design agency we’re getting further involved in the early stage framing of issues and exploration of user needs to inform new work streams or project initiation documents.  For my presentation, we focused more on telling the story of how we explored internet based approaches to support youth mental health in Glasgow with Young Scot and Mental Health Foundation  for NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, showcasing our approach to co-design and supporting young people to become designers themselves.

We reflected on the new forms of tender coming out, in the case of Project 99, we were delighted to see an exploratory approach looking for co-production methods and collaborative work as opposed to the usual tender that already articulates the final solution.

You can find our paper here on page 1629 (the paper only here) and our presentation of the paper above.

A massive thank you to Valerie Carr and Dr Trevor Lakey who co-authored the paper with me and I’m looking forward to spending some time consolidating my thoughts from the variety of papers I saw presented from the conference.

Thanks for having us DMI!