I have a hypothesis about product success: users are far less important than we think. How and where a product intersects with other systems is far more important for achieving outcomes.
Human-centred design, the dominant mindset for product design, places the user as the most important consideration, but this, I think, is built on the assumption of the user as separate from the world around them. If we think of the user as just one actor in the network of systems that makes up the product, then this
Rightly or wrongly, charities are often held to a higher ethical standard than commercial enterprises for how they design and build products and services, and I think as the ideas around systems-shifting design take hold we’ll see more charities designing for how to products interact with other systems to affect change and achieve outcomes rather than the user-centred approach for products that seek to change behaviour.
It’s easy to leap to solutions without understanding what the problem is that you’re trying to solve. This week was busy with trying to get an understanding of what problems we’re actually trying to solve with the products we’re being asked to build quickly for projects with tight timelines. I heard someone say (on a podcast, I think) ‘make the right things to make things right’, and it stuck with me. I also talked quite a bit about us trialing products purely with the intention of learning. I feel like we have lots to learn, so the sooner we start the quicker we’ll figure out the things we need to in order to help young people get effective training online.
Does digital creativity differ from non-digital creativity?
I finished my assignment ‘Does digital creativity differ from non-digital creativity?’ Spoiler: It does. I’ve learned about lots of interesting things in this module, and for this essay, about digital media. I’d really like to have time to go back over some of the ideas and write blog posts about them but that’s going to have to wait until after my dissertation is finished.
Digital Scotland Service Standard
The service standard aims to make sure that services in Scotland are continually improving and that users are always the focus. I like the idea of service standards. Although they seem quite aspirational and a little immature at the moment with few real-life examples of how standards have been implemented effectively, they are a great way to help others understand what it means to be ‘digital’. I know it’s a very different thing, but the standard that explains how to manufacture a bolt is very specific about measurements, tolerances, etc., but maybe it that’s just my understanding of the word ‘standard’, which isn’t the point here. The point is that even though some of the standards in the Digital Scotland Service Standard feel a bit context specific, overall it’s brilliant.
I had a thought that maybe a measure of influence is how many times someone has to say something for people to take notice of it. I could repeat the same message time and time again and no one would take any notice, because I have low influence. Seth Godin says something once and thousands of people listen to it, because he has high influence. On a smaller scale, it might be an interesting way to measure your influence at work.
After some conversations with Jonathan Holden on Twitter, I’ve been thinking a bit about how our use of militaristic (and so masculine) language relates to our mental models about work and groups of people organised to achieve common goals. Do creative/artistic endeavors offer a better way to think about it? Musicians can play alone, in perfectly in-sync large orchestras, and improvising in jazz bands.
This is the first iteration of my Charity Service Model Canvas.
The good thing about a canvas is it encourages you to think about how the things on each box connect and support each other. Are the outcomes realistic given the funding and resources? Are the marketing channels going to be effective for those beneficiaries? Will the outcomes actually meet the need?
What needs will the service address?
Is the service being commissioned by a local authority, for example? If so, what conditions will there be to adhere to that will shape the service?
How are the right people going to know about the service, including beneficiaries, refers, supporters?
Who is the service for?
Who will benefit from access the service, just the beneficiaries, or also their family, school, local community?
What is the service going to offer?
Do the Activities require any Resources or Supporting services?
Will these activities contribute to achieving the Outcomes?
What else is required to run the service that the charity itself cannot provide, e.g. taxis, building hire?
What will the service achieve? How will this be measure and reported? Will the Outcomes match the Needs?
What aspects of the service will have costs, e.g, staff wages, admin time, consumables, building hire?
What sources of funding will be available?
Will the funding provide full cost recovery?
Over what time period of funding available, and how will the service be funded after that?
Staffing – Will extra staff have to be recruited?
Skills – What skills are needed to deliver the service? Do we have them, if not how are we going to get them?
Technology – What technology will the service need? Do we already have it or will we need to build/buy it?
Time – How much time will be spent delivering the service, e.g. 8 hours a day, 1 day a week? How much time will be spent administering the service? Include support functions such as finance? How long is the service expected to last?