8 years, 2 months ago

Service design jams and social housing

I had the pleasure of attending a service design ‘learning by doing’ workshop last week. It was a really enjoyable half day, whilst i didn’t learn anything particularly groundbreaking it was fun to put some of the techniques i’d read about into practice. I think there is a lot that could be gained by applying service design thinking to enterprise architecture (which is my primary interest). This isn’t a post about that (sorry) that will be a post for another day.

Several of the attendees were part of the wider design community, of those attendees some were planning to attend (or involved in organising) the global service jam. I’d heard about it before and really liked the idea, unfortunately I can’t attend, but will be catching up on the blog and vids after the event.

I currently work for a company involved in social housing (amongst other things) and during the workshop I started putting two and two together and coming up with a question:

What would a service design jam look like for social housing?

Social housing organisations (and their customers) are going through some interesting times at the moment, factors such as increasing competition or government benefits changes threatening revenue streams and significantly impacting customer’s lives. Some organisations are reacting to these new pressures but my view is for the most part the sector is still delivering the same services to customers using the same processes. Everyone does tenancy sustainment, everyone does financial inclusion, everyone does tenant engagement. What I don’t see is much design more design by default, the design that fulfils the business expectations of the service to be delivered rather than the customer’s need. I’m not putting down the work that is done to engage customers in decision making and the delivery of services, I just wonder whether the ‘How’ could be improved and maybe service design is an additional ‘how’ that can be used in conjunction with the traditional techniques to make much better experiences for our customers.

So, to answer my own question this is what I think of when i think of a service design jam for social housing

  1. Participants from different organisations within the sector coming together for a day/weekend
  2. Participants coming from different departments/functions within social housing organisations
  3. Participants from the same organisation being split between teams
  4. Teams facilitated by ‘expert’ service design people
  5. Design challenges crowdsourced before the event (I know this breaks one of the SDJ principles, but figure being able to contribute to the challenges will help people feel like they will get something tangible from the jam
  6. Each team focuses on a challenge for the duration of the jam.
  7. I wonder if one of the participating organisations has a space large enough to facilitate the jam?
  8. I wonder how we could introduce ‘the voice of the customer’ into the jam? integrate them into teams? invite some along for design teams to access?


So this is what is buzzing around my head at the moment. I’d love it if anyone has any thoughts on this. Is it practical? would there be any demand for this sort of thing? Please leave a comment or @bakedidea on Twitter