Civic Dollars & Arthur — What can design deliver?

We had our last Designer in Residence session yesterday. The focus of this was all about the delivery phase of the design process. To kick things off we heard from Jo Blundell who shared with us their work with the Design Age Accelerator, it was so interesting to see how their work is progressing there. Jo shared with us where the Accelerator is right now and the service-led process they took to get there.

We also welcomed Stephen McPeake, founder of Civic Dollars who are currently working on a Smart Cities project to improve the health of citizens using a Social Currency and gamification. He shared with us his journey from initial idea to a final developed app through a commission with Smart City’s.

We also welcomed Adam Vaugn, Head of Design @ Arthur. Who design products for people living with Arthritis. He shared with us their current product which is a toilet riser — that raises people’s toilets to be higher to make it easier for people living with Arthritis to use them.

Adam shared with us the conversations with manufacturers, and the many challenges he faced in getting the right materials at the right cost. This phase of delivery often involves sacrifice — as Adam shared very honesty — he had to compromise when it came to materials and the style because of the way the material could be processed.

Together both Adam and Stephen had interesting stories of their work on different projects but at similar stages of the delivery phases and perfect to showcase. It stoked much debate and interest. I enjoyed the shifting view of both a digital and physical product for conversation and comparison.

Together they shared their determination, grit and resilience to pivot, again and again in order to get their ideas into the world. It was such an enlightening session which shared real truth about the challenges of this stage which is that it is hard work, and a slog, but it is so important to keep true to the principles and the reasons behind the work.

We talked through many of the trade off’s necessary in order to get the product out which essentially means scaling back on functionality and the full vision — but enough to make it sellable and still attractive to their customers.

We are going to send some time thinking and reflecting on our residencies so far as we start to imagine another version of them later in 2021. If you attended our sessions and have any thoughts on this — please do drop them here.

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