Hazel White worked with Dr Joyce Yee and Lindsay Lennon at Northumbria University talking to a range of public and not-for profit organisations who have been using a ‘design-led’ approach to innovation and change to understand what a range of commissioners, leaders, designers found useful about this methodology.
The 6-month project was sponsored by the UK’s Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC).
We chose the general term – ‘design-led approach’ as opposed to specific terms like ‘design thinking’ or ‘design process’ as a ‘catch-all’ phrase to describe the cognitive, social, emotional and physical activities linked to the act of ‘designing’.
Key aspects of the approach which were valued were:
- challenging preconceptions
- creating a safe space to innovate
- having critical friends and welcoming feedback
- comfort with complexity
- methods for distilling and synthesising research
- imagining the future using visualisation and stories
Organisations involved include Tyneside Mind, NHS Scotland, Futuregov, The South London and Maudsley NHS Trust, Snook, Edinburgh City Council, Taylor Haig, Scarf, Uscreates, the Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV),
The projects examined ranged from short ‘workshop interventions’ to six year long programmes and encompassed mental wellbeing to integration of health and social care to increasing young people’s employability. You can read the full report here.