Building innovation capacity of the council by introducing service design skills and developing new ways of working
In 2016, Innovation Unit worked with Brent Council to run outcomes based reviews using a design-led approach in the areas of employment support and welfare reform, housing vulnerable people and regeneration.
We built the innovation capacity of the council by adapting service design skills and new ways of working. We supported the team from conducting community research including ethnographic research and co-design workshops, to engaging stakeholders, including visioning and prototyping workshops. During the process, we identified the principles and ideas for new models of resident support.
MY ROLE - I planned and designed community research and ran it with the team in Brent to build their capabilities in doing this by themselves. I coached the client team to adapt design thinking into their practice through coaching calls and workshops. During the process, I liaised with the clients and built a strong relationship with them.
1. The Hub
We created The Hub, where we facilitated a series of capability building workshops, to build a practical understanding of new methods and approaches that support design-led innovation. We shared a set of tools in these workshops and the team learned by testing with users.
These capability workshops also happened outside of the Hub, for example, I also ran data visualisation workshops to help the Brent team design data infographics themselves.
2. Community research
We designed and facilitated community research including ethnography research, pop-ups and focus group workshops. We equipped the teams with the skills and tools they need to facilitate the workshops themselves.
I led the design process of the final outputs from the research and the design includes ethnographic posters, insights maps and data visualisations.
3. Visioning workshop
We invited over 100 stakeholders to join us for a day-long workshop in order to:
- Share stories of residents
- Share data and insights
- Analise the research together and draw out principles
- Generate ideas
I prepared and designed materials to share with people in this session and facilitated small groups.
After the session, we produced a report with the Brent team and created a film that tells a story about the project.
Some early outcomes of this work include:
- An appetite to test new approaches to service design centred around the individual.
- Greater understanding of the issues and challenges facing residents and the things that would support and enable them.
- Development of new working relationships with colleagues, partners and residents involved in the work.
- Service design informed by a set of principles developed with residents, local organisations and partners.
- Grown capabilities, skills and expertise in using design methods, tools and techniques.