BRIX

»It’s easy to complain about the ­financial­ situation, and we do complain about the financial situation, but things weren’t perfect when we did have money, we were still letting young people down«

 

Manager Young Lambeth Coop

PROJECT OVERVIEW

Project Title // BRIX

Keywords // Service Design // Public Sector Innovation // Co-design // UX

Collaborative Partners // Young Lambeth Coop (Lambeth Council) // University of the Arts London

Time & Location // February-April 2017 // Lambeth, London, UK

 

Young Lambeth Coop (YLC) and University of the Arts London (UAL) worked on a collaborative project to review and improve the ­relationship amongst service providers for Lambeth’s youth services. YLC is an organisation founded by Lambeth Council in London. The organisation was the result of collaboration between Lambeth Council and young people from the Borough looking at a new way of organising the provision of services for children and young people. UALis ranked one of the best design universities in the World. The design team was constituted by MA Service Experience Design & Innovation students.

 

We, the design team, were briefed by YLC to review and improve the relationship of service providers for Lambeth’s youth and play services with a particular view to enabling deeper integration of service providers. The research and design focus was on Brixton; one of London’s most vibrant and complex areas.

 

Through extensive research, we identified that the root of the problem concerning the lack of integration between YLC and service organisations, actually had to do with a lack of value creation for the service organisations. The aim was to design a system that would cater to enhacing the value of the YLC for service providers within the Bourough.

THE DESIGN: 'BRIX'

BRIX is a sharing platform for the community of Brixton hosted by Young Lambeth Coop. BRIX is a community building platform that allows local service providers and individual people from the community in Brixton to crowdsource resources for their projects, events etc. The foundation relies on 4 key features:

 

+ create + connect + support + inform +

 

BRIX seeds for bottom-up community collaboration. Empowering existing structures and organisations to spread their work further.

It aims to create a level playing field for service providers and community activists that emphasises transparency and mutual understanding. It is focussed on people, not faceless institutions and is designed to enable human-centred events and projects.

A key part of it’s function is to encourage user-generated celebration of Brixton’s successes and oppose the negativity that so often crops up in discussion of the area. Finally, it is flexible and scalable so that it can be adapted to just about any purpose for the community. It’s central mission is simple:

 

- help people help themselves -

User Journey //

Flowchart: Create Event & Apply for Community Support //

Flowchart: Support //

Usage flow and App UI //

Service Blueprint //

THE PROCESS - AN OVERVIEW

The process was constituted by a range of different research and design methods and tools; all aiming to inform the process and the final solution. We were constantly iterating - jumping back and forth between the stages, as the timeline indicates below. The process was rooted in design thinking and the double diamond model; moving from disvovering and defining the core problem, to developing and delivering a final solution.

Timeline

Research Overview //

 

Extensive secondary and primary research was conducted. Desk research covered amongst others YLC's business model, CCTV maps and Police open data, cross media sources and user produced content. Field research included a wide range of ethnographic methods. Observations were conducted primarily in the beginning of the project; this helped us get a sense of the people and the context we worked for and within. We conducted more than 16 extensive interviews representing different stakeholders - from client representatives to direct and indirect users; we did more than 16 miles of walk-abouts; and we visited around 30 venues - some of which became key venues and was visited repeatedly for research and design sessions. The map below illustrates the field research conducted.

Research Overview

Designing //

 

Co-discovery tools were vital to further explore the problem space within the context of Brixton and relevant stakeholders. We conducted two co-discovery activities with our users to gain deeper insights into their desires, needs, and pains. This allowed for participants to express themselves in creative ways and allowed us to surface vital insights that may not reveal themselves in traditional interviewing methods. We used 'card sorting' to gain information about ongoing activities in the area, and what was prioritised. Additionally we created a 'Dream Team' method: The aim of the activity was to uncover what children thought about being on a team, and to see how they interacted with each other in this peer-to-peer setting.

 

We used co-design methods and studio workshops to transform the identified opportunity into a feasible service solution. We used various methods such as brainstorming, clustering, sketching and roleplaying, as well as co-designing, to come up with several service solutions.

 

We created a tool for the co-design session to gain insights about most used communication channels.

 

The pictures below chronologically go through research and design process; and visually represent the juorney from brief to identificatin of core problem to designing, testing and delivering.

 

Insight Overview //

»There is no such thing as Young Lambeth Cooperative [...] they lock up a lot of things [...] it doesn’t work, nothing is working in Lambeth«

 

Female Community Activist

»Since 1990 I can’t count all the kids that have been killed [...] They have created another world«

 

Male Community Activist

From the extensive research, we reflected on our findings and synthesized the learnings into key insights. These insights encompass gaps within the current service provision, behavior of the community and larger systemic issues.

 

  1. There is a gap between expectations and the intentions of the YLC. We found that YLC needs to be more vocal, and act more conscious especially when delivering bad news about e.g. closing of playgrounds in the area. Additionally, there is a lack of collaboration with key community influencers and activists which could be of potential future value for several stakeholders.

 

  1. There is a gap between planned and actual community engagement. This issue is closely linked with a missing proof of action from the YLC; a lack of safety within the Brixton Area; and the general lack of diversity in public organisations and commision boards. Additionally, the consultations often take place in places not always easy accessible nor safe for young people.

 

  1. We found that the presentations by applying organisations to commissioners are not a true reflection of the actual services offered. Furtheremore, some organisations do not understand the YLC structure, and feel there is a lack of transparency about intricacies in the decision making process.

 

  1. Finally, organisations must be adaptable and creative when applying for funding, due to an ever-shrinking budget. There is a lack of continuous funding and an uncertain financial environment causes difficult operations for organisations - which promotes anxiety in some.

Personas //

 

From Problem Space to Design Space: The Opportunity //

 

Through ethnoraphic research and co-discovery and co-design tools, we went from uncovering a problem space to identifying a design space and designing for that particular opportunity. The first model below illustrates that move from problem to opportunity; the second illustrates the exact way we aimed to create value for the client and the user.

Our objective was to strengthen the overall community feeling with and between service providers in Lambeth to have a more inclusive system where all organizations belong - whether they are being funded or not. While funding is one way to form a relationship with an organization, the aim was to open more channels for value to be provided other than just funding. This solution seeks to create value for non-funded organizations, and create a sense of belonging in the community which includes YLC, funded service providers, as well as non-funded service providers, under the common goal of improving quality of life in Lambeth. We want to sustain an ongoing relationship between service providers and YLC, where funding is not the only channel of communication and language between the two.

Copyright @ All Rights Reserved Signe Bek