Wyndford is a community in the North West of Glasgow and is ranked the 18th most deprived area in Scotland. Until September, they had never met designers. That all changed in September 2009 when Getgo, a collection of designers from the Masters in Design Innovation course from the Glasgow School of Art began work for Audi’s Sustain our Nation competition in the area, later winning £20000 for the community.

Together, they used techniques and skills adopted from the service design process to create a ‘social enterprise’ for the community that tackled the issue of crime. The way in which the project was conducted relies heavily on visualisation skills, co-design, user centred processes and systematic thinking.

The enterprise is more like a service, designed with people, in order to create a valuable proposition for both community members and local stakeholders. Throughout the project community members, local stakeholder staff, management and politicians were all involved in the project, echoing the sentiment of service design with all users at the heart of the process.

The project saw designers question their role in such a heavily co-designed proposition; If this is service design, then what are we actually designing? Are we just facilitators of a creative process?

The project highlighted gaps in students’ skills in terms of creative facilitation, direct user contact and business knowledge to name but a few. In an increase of these types of projects dealing with ‘social innovation’

Further to this, it highlighted exciting ways of working with people and to what level designers stay involved. In this instance, it now challenging new methods of consulatation and funding models within the area, and exiciting prospect for replication in other areas.

With a new league of eager students wanting to ‘do something good’ with their design skills, how can we use service design to promote a pragmatic and skilful way of undertaking projects that promote social innovation.

You read more about this presentation in touchpoint: