smallfire: design strategy, research & methods to support participation

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Design for Social Innovation


I’m currently co-organising the Design for Social Innovation Symposium along with Lee Ryan (Springboard Ideas), Billy Matheson (Auckland Council) and Desna Whaanga-Schollum (Nga Aho). The symposium, taking place on the 15th and 16th of July 2015, aims to explore the emerging intersection of design, social and impact in Aotearoa.

One of the catalysts for the symposium is the growing investment and interest in co-design and social design approaches in Aoteaora. We are hoping to bring together a range of practitioners from different sectors to connect and share learnings, as well as challenge ourselves around where we want to head in the future. We are particularly keen to explore what is happening at the intersections of different disciplines, what is needed for co-design to have greater social impact, and what co-design practices that are “of here” might look like.

Find out more on the website

Building Organisational Co-design Capability

This week was the first Design 4 Social Innovation Conference in Sydney. An amazing two days of indepth discussion and examples of the real-world application of design for social innovation in Australia and overseas (see tweets Storified here). On day two of the conference I gave a Master Class on Building Organisational Co-design capability. The Master Class was based on my work with health, social and education organisations, as well as generous contributions and input from other practitioners and organisations reflecting on their own experiences#.

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Integrating User Experience and Evidence-based approaches to Design

Both Australia and NZ suffer from distressingly high youth suicide rates. Much of the work and research being undertaken to address this centres around the potential of online technologies to connect with young people in new ways, and to enable the delivery of new kinds of health and wellbeing interventions and services. Online services create the potential for self-directed and anonymous engagement and move the conversation to “where young people already are”. They also require quite a different design approach to interventions delivered within a traditional clinical setting.

Co-designing these services in collaboration with the young people they are designed to benefit provides the opportunity to learn more about how young people experience these issues, and ensures that what is designed has relevance in the world of young people. The presentation above, delivered for UXNZ in November last year, describes our journey to bring together user experience design and participatory approaches with the evidence-based models which traditionally underpin health promotion, intervention and treatment.  The presentation was developed in collaboration with @MariesaNicholas and @KittyRahilly and it shares insights and learning from work with the Inspire Foundation and the Young and Well Cooperative Research Centre in Australia. The goal of these organisations is to develop effective evidence-based online, youth mental health and well being interventions in collaboration with the young people they are designed to benefit.

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