Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Opportunity

Re-designing: opportunity to reframe problems and solutions.
Today’s problems are increasingly complex. Take health for example. In a country where access to healthcare costs the same for everyone, we are seeing more inequality than ever.

The wider determinants of health developed by Public Health England show that in fact, things like someone’s education, their job, who their friends are, how they get on with family, and where they live can actually determine how long they will live – even if they’re using the same doctor as someone living down the road but who is likely to live 10 years longer.

In the last two decades, design has been demonstrating a refreshing approach to addressing such complex problems.

This is because design provides the opportunity to reframe problems and solutions. It explores ways of doing things that haven’t been tried before, to address problems that haven’t been well understood before.

In this age of complexity and multiple dependencies, problems are constantly and rapidly changing, and so must solutions. We need to move away from the romantic notion that a solution – whether it’s a service, product or policy – needs to go through a one-off and well-polished design process, beyond which it will continue to be relevant forevermore.

Reality is very different. So we’re making the case here that as designers, we have a mission to build the capabilities of non-designers who work within the organisations that are transforming our future.

This means they are equipped with the problem-solving mindset to constantly interrogate, improve and innovate as realities quickly evolve, and things that worked yesterday soon become obsolete.

image: https://www.uscreates.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/uscreates_asset_mapping_2-1024×683.jpg

Asset MappingWhy this is important

Urgency for prevention and early intervention:

There is a sense of urgency to pre-empt problems before they happen in order to save time, resource and often even lives. The recent NHS Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships (STPs) demonstrate this urgency.

With an ever-increasing population, public services are at breaking point. But since two-thirds of deaths among those under 75 are a result of preventable illness, there is a growing recognition that keeping as many people as possible healthy is the most sustainable investment.

This is where a lot of the STP plans are focusing their energy. Because design offers a lens into the future and a provocation for possible realities, it provides those committed to prevention and early intervention with the ability to understand future problems and to design solutions that can forestall them.

Systemic complexity

We can no longer think of products, services and policies outside of the systems they exist within and interact with. For example, we worked with the Healthy London Partnership on a deep dive to understand the root causes of childhood obesity and to try out new ways of addressing this chronic challenge.

Our insight revealed that a one-pronged approach will never do. We need to create positive and synchronised triggers at different points in the system: we need behavioural nudges that change the habits of individuals, we need social movements that influence and inspire whole communities, we need levers that transform physical obesogenic environments, and we also need legislation and regulation such as the Sugary Drink Tax to reduce temptation.

Design invites diverse people across the system to confront problems collaboratively, by creating solutions that leverage the collective power of everyone’s experience, expertise, resource and authority.

Ongoing transformation:

In a time of austerity, we just can’t afford to keep slowly chipping away at the problem through little tweaks and tricks in the hope that it will one day disappear. We need to completely and continuously re-imagine how things might work better. When working with a national charity, we realised that funding for children’s centres was at risk, and that they were struggling to reach diverse families.

This meant we needed to completely transform the service, into one where children’s centres can go (literally ‘in a box’) into the homes of those who most need them, for a ninth of the cost and nine times the reach.

A design approach to problem-solving offered staff the opportunity to experiment with transformational ideas at a small and safe scale, fail quickly, learn fast and build confidence in the direction of travel.

What capabilities

Organisations need to develop a number of problem-solving capabilities to future-proof their solutions. In a recent Touchpoint article, my colleagues Jocelyn Bailey and Cat Drew argue that these capabilities are presumably less about skill and more about mindset and culture.

Armed with the right mindset, organisations can then develop (and even invent) the unique skills, methods and tools to solve all types of diverse problems. This mindset is characterised by:

Deep human understanding

the approach invites curiosity and determination to explore what lies beneath people’s actions, decisions and perceptions.

Reframing challenges

the insight revealed through deep human understanding can help reframe the challenge to get to the bottom of the hidden root causes, rather than the visible symptoms.

Working with others

a design approach to problem-solving is humble. We admit that we don’t know it all, and we invite others who have experienced the problem in different ways or who are experts in related issues across the system, to come on board and shape the journey.

Learning by doing

the only way to test innovation is to give it a go. Design is a process of solving problems through doing, learning, improving and scaling. Starting small and imperfect can mitigate the risks of failure, and with every iterative cycle and every improved version, more investment and scale can be justified.

image: https://www.uscreates.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/uscreates_prototyping-1024×683.jpg

 

How to go about this

There are various ways that organisations can build the problem-solving capabilities of their workforce. Last year, I wrote an article with Joyce Yee in the Service Design Impact Report that reviewed different design capability models that the public sector draws on. There is not a one-size-fits-all model, and each presents its own benefits:

Structured training: this varies from one-day workshops to bootcamps. These are best for beginners who would like a taster of the mindset to assess whether it provides potential for the nature of their organisation’s challenges.

Experiential learning: in other words, learning on the job. Often this takes the form of design experts facilitating a series of problem-solving sprints within an organisation, based on a real challenge. Staff are invited to shadow the process, reflect on learning, and experience the benefits first-hand.

Coaching: this model is suited for more experienced organisations who have potentially benefited from structured training and/or experiential learning. They would be keen to lead the problem-solving process themselves, with the support of a design coach for strategic guidance, alignment, and constructive provocation.

Internal disruption: a popular example of this is the lab model, where an organisation invests in an innovation team embedded within, with a role to create and grow a movement and a culture that embraces a design mindset to problem-solving.

In today’s complex and rapidly evolving world, organisations need to start thinking differently about how they are future-proofing what they do and how they do it. They need to invest in people, not solutions. By better equipping their people with a problem-solving mindset, they are creating the enablers for ongoing improvement, innovation and future relevance.

Joanna is Design Director at Uscreates. She is a social designer, author, speaker and lecturer with over 15 years of practical experience in the UK, the Middle East and the United States.

She leads on the development and delivery of service design, user centred innovation, design research, business modelling, communication and digital design projects. Joanna has worked with over 50 public and third sector organisations – including Nesta, The Healthy London Partnership, the Health Foundation and South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust – to help them better understand and address their challenges.

She has expertise across a broad range of social challenges including health and wellbeing, social integration, social action, employment, education and social enterprise.

Joanna has a Ph.D. in design for social integration in design for social integration and is an RSA fellow. She is an associate lecturer at the University of the Arts London, Kingston University and Ravensbourne University.

Read more at https://www.uscreates.com/capability-training/#rtyugoxJFYpkkelH.9

 

 

 

NASA team hacks Opportunity to treat Mars Rover’s amnesia

Jan 01, 2015 by Amina Khan, Los Angeles Times

NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity captured this southward uphill view after beginning to ascend the northwestern slope of “Solander Point” on the western rim of Endeavour Crater. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

NASA’s Mars rover Opportunity has been working well into its golden years – after nearly 11 years roaming the Red Planet, it has survived more than 40 times past its warranty.
But now, this trusty veteran explorer is experiencing some worrisome memory loss.

The long-lived has been having some senior moments, according to John Callas, project manager for the Mars Exploration Rover mission (as Opportunity and its defunct twin Spirit are formally known).

The episodes of amnesia stem from faulty flash memory – the kind of memory in your digital camera that allows your pictures to stay saved even after your device is turned off.

But flash memory doesn’t last forever – and the seventh, final bank in the flash memory appears to be malfunctioning.

“Flash memory has a limited lifetime,” Callas said. “It only allows so many read-write cycles before it starts to wear out some of the cells. And after 11 years of operation on Mars, we now suspect we’re seeing a wear-out of some of those cells.”

This leads to a pair of problems.

Since the rover can’t use the seventh memory bank, it uses its random-access memory – or RAM, the kind of memory your computer uses when it’s on for temporary data storage. The problem is, as soon as the rover (or your computer) is switched off, the information stored in RAM is lost.

So if the rover turns off before sending all of its at-risk data back to its handlers at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in La Canada Flintridge, then those data are lost forever.

That’s an annoying, but manageable, issue, Callas said.

The second snag is that the flash memory issue also causes the rover to reboot – and when it reboots, it stops the long-term activities the team had planned for the rover and simply waits for further instructions on the ground.

On weekends and over the holiday season, when people are out of the office, these unexpected hang-ups can put the team days behind schedule, Callas said.

“It’s like you’re taking a family trip and your car stalls, and every time your car stalls you have to call triple-A – but now it’s stalling every 20 miles,” Callas said. “You’re not going to make much progress.”

The researchers do have a clever little fix, Callas added.

The team plans on modifying the software so that the rover thinks it only has six banks’ worth of flash memory – which should make it skip faulty bank No. 7, since that’s at the very end. (They’re lucky the faulty segment wasn’t right in the middle of the module, Callas added – that would make a fix much more complicated.)

“You have a piece of lettuce you want to put on your sandwich and the edge of the lettuce is a little bit brown, and you just cut it off and you put the rest in your sandwich and you go,” Callas said by way of analogy. “Maybe you have a little less lettuce, but it doesn’t have any brown on it.”

Opportunity, which along with its twin Spirit arrived at the Red Planet in early 2004, set out to find signs of past water on Earth’s dry, dusty next-door neighbor. It did that and more, even finding evidence of past habitable environments in its later years that complemented the findings from its descendant, NASA’s 2012 rover Curiosity.

Opportunity was never meant to last this long, and it’s picked up a number of scars along the way. It’s been described as arthritic, with a gimpy elbow and a somewhat disabled front wheel, but that hasn’t kept the robot from logging roughly 26 miles on the Red Planet.

It’s unclear how long Opportunity will last, said Callas, who compared the aging rover to an elderly parent (one in good health, who still plays tennis every day).

“With each passing day we get one day closer to that end … but until that time, we’re going to keep going, keep exploring,” Callas said.

What’s going on in Harlem? (Mar. 6, 2010)

            “In Manhattan, there is the largest Black agglomeration in the world. Harlem of the 1920’s witnessed the convergence of all kinds of Black people: workers, peasants, students, businessmen, professionals, artists, poets, intellectuals, musicians, adventurers, preachers, criminals, exploiters, and pariahs.  Blacks from north and south USA, from the Caribbean islands, and from Africa flocked to Harlem. Each Black person arrived with his objectives, purposes, needs, and dreams; for all, the essential was this mutual meeting so that prejudices and proscriptions were thrown together within a sphere of contacts and interactions.

            This sympathy of race and union generated a fusion of profound feelings and common experiences. In Harlem of the 20’s Black life discovered its first chances of collective expressions and auto-determination.  Very recently, we had no idea of who we were, much less who were the “others”: We were real problems to ourselves.  Thus, we had to get to work and recognize our dignity and recapture confidence for a new dynamic phase of community Black life.  For every external pressure and challenge an appropriate internal response was demanded.  Blacks migrating from suburbs and small villages to Harlem crossed with a single leap several generations of experiences.

            What is happening in Harlem may not be unique in the world: It was an inevitable reaction.  It is significant and prophetic: a new psychology is transforming Black masses and getting them on the move; they are leading the Black leaders. This new spirit of confidence is repudiating social dependence; the Negros are healing their hypersensitivities and breaking away of their social disillusionment; they are collaborating toward the joint community by taking on their responsibilities.  It is now up to the White majority to change race domination attitudes and begins cultural exchange and the diffusion of brighter lights for integration.” (The new Negro: An interpretation, 1925)

            Alain Locke (1885-1954) is a Black philosopher and intellectual; he was one of the main activists who launched “Harlem Renaissance” movement.  Although Locke studied in Harvard, Oxford, Berlin, and College de France he could not teach but in Black universities when he returned to the USA.  Joining forces with WEB Du Bois and Charles S. Johnson (1893-1956) he established the association of defense for Blacks (NAACP) and issued magazines such as Crisis, Opportunity, and The Negro World.  This Harlem Renaissance influenced the founders of French “Negritude” intellectuals and authors in Paris of the 30’s; many US Black students and intellectuals flocked to Paris in the 50’s.

            Alain Locke assembled reproductions of Black arts, partitions, bibliographies, and discography; Locks’ anthology offered a formidable balance sheet of Blacks productions in art, music, literature and intellectual works of Black issues and problems around the world: Black thinking and feeling was being disseminated. It was a productive reaction of minorities to the segregationist pressures of the White majority.

            Adversity generated solidarity and initiatives to re-enforce self confidence and increased dignity to overcoming inferiority complexes of many generations of slavery and humiliation.  Locke’s activist and work produced the Black movements of the 50’s and 60’s demanding political civil rights.


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