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April and May month notes

Febraury And March Month Note

by Alexandra Deschamps-Sonsino

Find out all about what our Design team has been up to over the past few months.

Our rainy spring (the last 18 months have been the wettest since 1836) didn’t slow us down at the beginning of the financial year so there’s plenty to share.   

Events we spoke at

Members of our latest Design Academy cohort, Anna Altounyan and Amanda Sansom-Rose, shared their experience of getting into design at UX Camp Brighton.  

Anna And Amanda Giving Their Talk At UX Camp Brighton (1)

Anna and Amanda giving their talk at UX Camp Brighton

Senior Service Designer Sarah Fox and Lead Service Designer Dave Robson supported REDESIGN: A Women’s Health Hackathon, run by Imperial College Dyson School of Engineering

Lead Design Manager Joe Bramall went to an introduction to Service Design at NUX Liverpool, where he spoke about service mapping.

Head of Content Design Liberty-Belle Howard shared her thoughts on what content design books don’t teach you at the Content Folks meet up.

And further afield, Head of Learning Design Tash Wilcocks spoke at Service Design Ireland, and Head of Community Engagement Kelly McBride spoke about citizens assemblies at the Spring School on Climate Citizens’ Assemblies in Budapest.

Events we attended

Some of our North West based team attended the first Service Design Connect meetup in Manchester, supported by the Natter community

Design Lead Sarah Mace (a former CampDigital speaker) and some members of our wider team also headed to Manchester for CampDigital, organised by our friends at Nexer Digital.

Tech For Good Summit

Christine at the Tech for Good Summit with Mark Madden and Ollie Cook

Senior Service Designer Christine Browne attended the Scottish Tech Army’s ‘Tech for Good Summit’ in Glasgow with colleagues from our Delivery and Growth teams.

Emma Halliday and Rhianna Parry attended UX Scotland in Edinburgh last week. 

Learning together

Our all hands Design Community of Practice meeting is a monthly virtual call I have been MC-ing since January. I don’t have the format quite right yet but I’m hearing feedback and adapting as I go. 

Because it’s the only recurring meeting point the whole team (over 100 of us) has, we use it to make announcements, run upskilling lightning talks (nine minutes each) and give all practices a chance to share their highlights with others. That can get quite cognitively challenging so sometimes we keep some sections as ‘read only’ or ‘read later’. 

I’ve also started to run an anonymous poll (using Slido) to get people to ask questions of Ben (Chief Design Officer) and I in a way that feels open and safe. I try to answer some of those questions at the end of the slides we share in advance every month and it helps us understand recurring topics people are curious or unsure about. 

In terms of lightning talks: 

  • Design Lead Megha Wadhawan gave a talk about leadership and how to work with clients who might be very early in their digital journey

  • Lead Service designer Dave Robson and researcher Lucilla Lanzoni shared some of their past experiences working at Accenture and highlighted the similarities and differences of working in our team

  • Senior Content Designer Alice Bishop shared her tips on how to manage being on boarded onto a project half way through, a common reality for consultants. 

Other cross-practice moments include our Design Surgery, which is expertly run by Alex Torrance (Lead Interaction & Product Designer) and Emma Axelsson (Interaction Designer). It’s an open space where people from all our practice teams meet and discuss a topic in small breakout groups or give a colleague feedback on a project challenge. This week, Design Researcher Jimmy Tidey tested a Responsible AI workshop. I wasn’t able to attend (I try to pop into these regularly) but judging by the Slack messages after, it went really well and he found it really useful.

What we’re writing, reading and watching

Emily Webber’s work is fantastic, and Joe Bramall shared her blog post about how to work in hybrid organisations. This sparked a little conversation about friendships at work. He also shared this TED talk about super chickens but I’ll let you find out if you are one. 

Lead Design Researcher Em Sutcliffe wrote a post for our Design blog on how she’s helped large organisations support and embed research processes.

As always, if you’d like to talk to us about working with our Design team, reach out to Ben Holliday, our Chief Design Officer. 

This post is part of our ‘month notes’ series, where we share what’s been going on around our teams over the last month. You can read about what we did in February and March.

Alexandra Deschamps-Sonsino's avatar

Alexandra Deschamps-Sonsino

Design Director

Alex has worked across design, tech, ethics and climate change and helps TPXimpact manage our design team.

Contact Alexandra

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