Boost by Design: defining the problems and generating new ideas

A feature by Perrine Mercenier.

BOOST by Design is a new project – developed and led by Creative Dundee – for Dundee’s Social Enterprises who are keen to develop their understanding of design, innovation and digital skills. You can learn about the project here.

The second workshop took place on Tuesday 28th February and gathered the 13 social enterprises for a new service design focus for their organisations. We wanted to share this new boosting afternoon working with Open Change!  You can read about the first workshop and service design here.

After considering their customers’ needs and perceptions last week, many of the Boost by Design participants discovered that what you usually think about your customers can be just the opposite. Listening to your users – whether they are your customers, patients or volunteers is key and should be at the centre of service design methods.

The social enterprises were then ready to think about ideas and solutions to improve their own sustainability and growth.

Identifying a focused problem 

Participants started thinking about this question: “What is the problem I want to find a solution to?” – they were tasked to come up with one problem on a post-it, only one problem.  This is such a difficult exercise when you want to improve your organisation!

Each person played the role of “psychologist”, listening to someone else’s problems without judgement and helping to understand and define the problem.

Idea generation

The secret of developing good ideas is quantity. And to achieve a high number of ideas the second secret is to do this quickly! Working 15 minutes on the problem, jumping from one idea to another, and preventing yourself thinking “We tried that before and it didn’t work…” is an effective  way to generate ideas.

Social enterprises then flipped their thinking, such as “What if patients became doctors” or “What if airport management practices were applied to hospitals?”, and simply by thinking differently they came-up with many more ideas.

“We found new ideas to be more flexible!” “We found new ways to collaborate!” Boost by Design participants

You can find the tool that was used on the day – “Fast generation ideas” developed by Nesta – here.

New service proposal

The social enterprises ended by thinking about another future for their organisation: “What would my new offer would look like in the future?” this was guided by journey mapping.

Some participants realised that what they would like to deliver in the future is not that far from their current offer. Thinking in a different way, based on customers’ needs, led them to find reasons why they could change.

Insights of the day

Once participants were involved in the process, ideas erupted all over! It was really great to see how, after only two afternoons spent together, participants could create ideas and put themselves in the shoes of other organisations! We can’t wait to see the new synergies they will create during the next sessions!

“It’s always easier to solve everybody else’s problems, but actually it helps to solve yours!” Hazel White – Open Change

The social enterprises have now tools in hands to think differently and use them within their own organisations, keeping in mind the importance of:

  • Listening to people
  • Mapping things out
  • Having lots of ideas
  • Testing things out
  • Working fast and slow (rushing is better at the start, but come to your ideas slowly later to improve them)

We look forward to meeting the Boost by Design social enterprises again this afternoon for a new focus on design opportunities in the city and future planning. We’ll share a recap with you of course!