By: Charlotte
Posted: 28/04/2016

Service Design Training: 20 industrial designers explore the role of digital in students’ mental wellbeing

We have a tradition going on here: since 2009, industrial design students from Auburn University come over for a visit and a Service Design training workshop. Charlotte and Eve facilitated these intense two days of researching, prototyping, testing and iterating. And, of course, there was a rubber chicken. Here’s an overview of what happened.

The Brief

We challenged the #AuburnSnooks to re-imagine mental wellbeing for students. Based on the Aye Mind project, we asked how to improve the mental health and wellbeing of young people by making better use of the Internet, social media and mobile technologies. This gave the students an insight into a real industry brief and encouraged them to tackle a difficult problem that might affect them and their fellow students.

Let’s Discover

We kicked off with a presentation of design methods and teaching the students the Double Diamond design process. Most of the students were unfamiliar with it but pretty eager to learn more!

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100 ways to destroy an Iphone

The first challenge was to come up with 100 ways to destroy an Iphone in under a minute. This was a brilliant way to get everyone’s brain thinking about generating ideas quickly and easily.

The Discovery

We moved onto researching the problem. Research methods included interviews, group discussions and surveys to gain a deeper understanding of students’ mental wellbeing. The important element here was research planning, understanding of what’s out there and exploring/thinking about how younger people behave online.

It was also key to talk to strangers, or each other about how mental wellbeing effected them, the challenge was to go deeper into the problem, and find out from real people how this issue effected them. Gaining this understanding would be key to designing solutions that really worked later on.

Teams had an opportunity to think about what questions they wanted to ask and which methods would be best suited for this. The questions ranged from ‘What does mental wellbeing mean to you?’ to ‘What makes you smile?’ As both Charlotte and Eve work on the Ayemind project, it was interesting to hear the discussions #AuburnSnooks were having – for example, a common theme was the difference between ‘mental wellbeing’ and ‘mental illness’ and the stigma attached to language surrounding these.

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Get Defining

From speaking to their peers face-to-face, online and talking to people on the street about the topic, groups gathered many insights. At this stage, it was important to get ALL of these insights out on post-its notes while chatting within groups. We chose a few insights and generated ideas around them using the Lotus Flower Idea Generation technique.

Teams were encouraged to go around and comment on each other’s post-its. We then encouraged students to really quickly Freeze Frame four ideas, and prototype one. The Freeze Frame involved taking an idea, and showing a still of how it would work with your body as a group. That way, they could bring their ideas to life. The emphasis was on having fun and being speedy (plus silly) – an important part of workshops and hack events.

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Now Develop

Rapid idea generating and prototyping allowed the teams to hone in on one idea. They used Opportunity Cards to outline the idea, explore the problem it addresses and how it looks like. The User Journey Map allowed students to think about all the touchpoints/interactions of their service and how the user would experience it.

After developing a rough prototype of the idea, the rubber chicken walked everyone out of the door and thus, encouraged further testing and iteration of the prototype and idea. For some of the groups, this meant going out onto the street to see what people thought of their idea, for others it meant observing how people interact and react to the idea.

Getting early feedback allowed the students to come back for more iteration. They experienced the process of iterating an idea/product/service with the user in mind.

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Aaaand Deliver!

The close of our two-day workshop was called ‘Show & Not Tell’ – show us your idea, don’t tell us what it is, let us feel it, smell it, interact with it. The #AuburnSnooks presented their prototypes back to each other, their tutor and three designers from Snook. They received feedback on what they had developed. And a big round of applause for working so hard over the two days. Here are the five ideas teams developed:

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Friendr App

An app that allows you to connect with people when you arrive at a new place, like a new University.
This group encouraged the use of technology in terms of ‘making social media social again’. Insights gathered during research and testing showed that we are all human beings and we love interactions. When we’re trying to find our feet at a new location, we like talking to friends and meeting people with similar interests.

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Happy Coffee Cups

Positive messages on coffee cups and cup warmers to help us feel positive about our day.
What makes you smile? This was one of the questions the group explored during research. It’s all about the little things in life and making your day. Even though the team struggled to test these at the coffee shops in Glasgow, we definitely have been enjoying seeing them on our Snook mugs! Smiles all the way.

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Sports App

An app that helps young people find other people to play their favourite sports with, based on location. The group found that sport could have a positive effect on mental wellbeing. They found that playing team sports on campus was difficult to organise, especially when students first arrived. They developed a prototype of their app and tested it at Sports Direct, and found people who were willing to use it.

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Solitude Campaign

A campaign encouraging students to enjoy spending time alone.
Self-awareness and reflection can do wonders. It’s important to stop every now and again and not being afraid to be alone for a bit. During research here, it was raised that social media/technology doesn’t sleep so we might feel overwhelmed by it all at different points of our lives. But it’s me time now!

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Reflect

A journal where students can write their diary entry, and highlight the positive parts.
During research the group learned that the process of writing in a journal allowed for reflection, which is positive for mental wellbeing. When you look back at your diary entries only the highlighted part will appear. Reflect can be an app, a physical diary, or this group even tested out using a google form.

We’ll be excitedly following what happens with the ideas now and whether teams will be implementing them back home. It was fantastic to have this bunch of #AuburnSnooks! We wish them all the best and we look forward seeing you again soon.

If we got you interested in Service Design training workshops for students, why not get in touch with the Snook Training team? Drop us an email: training@wearesnook.com