I worked in London over one long weekend in February, as part small team we named ‘The Amazings’, to interpret the 2012 Global Service Jam challenge – “Hidden Treasure” – We co-designed and tested a new service concept in 48hrs.
The Amazings team, in which I was the only professional designer, materialised on Friday and collaborated over 48hrs to present, on Sunday afternoon, a new service proposition called ‘No Name – A Wayfinder’s guide to London’s hidden gems’
The problem | If you live in London, are a culture vulture, are mobile and spontaneously want to seek out new and exciting events, ‘hidden treasures’ venues and happenings, which are so underground that they are not published in Time Out, how do you know when and where to go, unless you are very well connected to a wider network of trendy Londoners, who make it their business to be culturally in-the-know?
The solution | The service we conceived is an API mobile app and website, which uses the geolocation data available through 3G networks to communicate to service users via their smartphone. Knowing your GPS location, the app can show you a choice of culturally interesting activities in real-time, that are sheduled in the present and future and often within walking distance of where you are now.
The content will be curated and managed by a network of No Name brand guardians, who design and manage the content on the app via the website, using just in time information provided by wider networks of the creators of culture – artists, musicians, dancers, actors etc.
The quality and accuracy of the content will be key to growing the service’s subscriber numbers and the service would be monetised by subscription and advertising by key cultural partners – all in a hyper-connected network of local bloggers, cultural promoters, small venues, artists and entrepreneurs.
To communicate the concept of the service, the team created a simple user scenario through an imaginary persona.
Anna is a 23 year old London fashion student, who is a culture vulture and a digital native. She’s socially well-connected, but completely disorganised and has a tendancy for spontaneity.
The App would show Anna relevant geolocated and curated content for local events, shows, eating places, bars and other categories of cultural interest, help her navigate to these local social touchpoints and allow her to share her plans using popular social media platforms to broadcast her intention to her network of friends and invite them to join her.
The app would also provide an event directory, where she can browse various listings categories (such as movies, gigs, and shows) for things going on nearby and afterwards leave ratings and tips using a Social Media integrated interface.
Although the GSJ challenge was constrained by our need to propose a new service in 48hrs, No Name’s creation and design development followed a fairly typical Service Design process:
Interpretation of opportunity / on-theme? / unmet need /problem identification /ideation of the value-creation concept / testing the concept with people, using paper prototypes and stories /value – idea modification based on feedback /generative idea iteration / customer journey mapping / usability scenario’s / a business model using BM generation tool /creation of a compelling communication to all stakeholders.
Outcomes | The design process served as a collaborative focus, which allowed participants from different disciplines, to collaborate and communicate. As the only Service Designer on the team, my role was to engage and motivate others on my team, introduce them to Service Design tools and methods and help keep an eye on the deliverables expected of us. Although I often facilitated the Amazings team through the various brainstorming sessions we had over the weekend, I enjoyed encouraging others to step up and lead brainstorming and mapping activities, using Post-it notes to give some structure to our thinking output. I supported those who were not familiar with Service Design methods to work together efficiently as a team towards a shared goal.
Learning reflections | My team were multi-disciplinary and highly motivated, so my role was mainly to guide them through the design-led process, facilitating their creativity, but stepping back to encourage each member to take the lead in the team in ideation sessions. I facilitated the structure and methods of co-design to channel and focus their creative activity. In return, I enjoyed being valued as part of a design team and participated fully over the 48hrs.