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November month notes

November Month Notes

by Jaskiran Kang

Find out what the design team has been up to throughout November.

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 October.

November was busy for the team. Some of us have been representing design – listening and connecting to what’s happening in our wider industry, and some of us are reflecting and starting to plan for next year. 

Lauren Currie Speaking At The Leading Design Conference
Lauren Currie speaking at the Leading Design conference

Attending the Leading Design conference

Megha Wadhawan (Design Lead) and Mica Moore (Lead Design Manager) went to the Leading Design Conference. They share their reflections and highlights below:

This was our first time attending the conference and we came away reinvigorated and inspired. The two days were designed to unpack themes around leadership practice and mindset, while covering different facets of design leadership. The conference balanced inspiring presentations from leaders across the spectrum of leadership, with spaces for reflection and connecting with fellow design leaders. 

The talks that stood out for us were:

  • Ovetta Sampson’s talk, which covered the landscape and history of machine learning and generative AI, and the role design leaders could play in this space. She told us, “if you don’t already love data, you need to start.”

  • Payal Wadhwa explored the role of vision, values and incentives in shaping design quality while creating accountability in scaled teams.

  • Remya Ramesh introduced her model for leading the change you do not believe in, asking first, “who has had to do this?” Over half the room raised their hands. She talked about the importance of looking for positive intent, considering the impact broadly, and knowing when you need to step away.

  • Maja S. Raunbak spoke about the fundamental change in craft, and skills you need as you climb the design leadership ladder. She talked about the importance of leading sideways through different spheres of influence, while holding the space for different leadership styles and communication types. 

  • Lauren Currie gave a talk on "Designing with love; communities and power", concluding the two days with a keynote on building connections and belonging. She reminded us that design leaders are on a collective journey everywhere. It was a powerful end to the conference.two days of thought provoking talks and conversations.

The Academy’S ‘Client Team’ – Martin And Vicky
The Academy’s ‘client team’ – Martin and Vicky

Design Academy show and tells

We introduced the Design Academy in September. Most recently, they’ve been working on a hypothetical brief to address the challenges facing train passengers due to the fragmented train ticketing system. Two teams (Team Marsh and Team Mallow, inspired by the marshmallow challenge) have spent six weeks researching, analysing, synthesising, slightly tearing their hair out and prototyping. 

All this hard work culminated in two fantastic presentations on the 14th of November to ‘clients’ Martin Wright (Lead Design Manager) and Vicky Brown (Head of Design Ops). 

Then, just to make sure they got a taste of work on government projects, the teams each presented a mini service assessment, with one team presenting, and the other – led by an experienced service assessor – asking questions and feeding back.

What’s next? Reflections and wrapping up the teams. And January will see them join TPXimpact client projects, which will bring new learnings and experiences so we can continue to watch them thrive. 

Clarissa And Dr Gyles Morrison At UX Nordic Healthcare
Clarissa and Dr Gyles Morrison at UX Nordic Healthcare

Clarissa Gardner spoke at UX Nordic Healthcare

Clarissa Gardner (Senior Design Researcher) recently took to the stage at UX Nordic Healthcare in Copenhagen to talk about “Ethics and Safeguarding: how to uphold best practices In a fast-paced environment”. Clarissa shares her experience below:

I had been following UX Nordic Healthcare for a long time before I finally decided to apply to speak at the 2023 conference. I was motivated to apply after seeing a post on LinkedIn by Dr Gyles Morrison, a clinical UX strategist I had been following for a long time, in which he offered his time to those who had an idea to submit to the conference. 

We had a virtual meeting, and I told him about the culture shock I experienced when I left academia and realised that the conversations I was used to having about ethics and safeguarding rarely took place in UCD teams. 

This led me to develop a talk in which I proposed ways for us to think practically about ethics and safeguarding throughout the design research process, to ensure the psychological safety of everyone involved in research. 

I presented case studies of experiences I had come across in my time conducting research in academia, and reflected on what we could do differently with this knowledge. It was my first time speaking internationally and I was extremely nervous. But the audience became more engaged as I spoke and we ended up having some great conversations. The conference itself was fantastic and very practical, but a big highlight for me was finally getting to meet Gyles in person and us becoming friends! 

Developing our planet-centred design practice

With COP28 starting soon, we’re ramping up our planet-centred design work. We’re consolidating what we’ve learned over the years from our experience working on climate-related projects across central and local government, charities, think tanks and businesses. We’re launching Planet Talks, a monthly get-together to share our existing work and explore the hot topics of climate change. We’ll be kicking off next week with a talk about net zero policy and why design is essential for success

We’re also setting up Planet Squad. This is an organising group who will lead community action projects to bring environmental considerations into our practice so we design more sustainable policy, products and services and maximise our contribution to reducing emissions. We’re planning to do this work in the open and will be inviting people to join us, so keep an eye out for info and progress updates!

Service Design in Government talk by Nina Wafula and Mike Woolf from YoungMinds 

Talking about conferences, back in September we told you about our very own Nina Wafula (Lead Service Designer) speaking at SDinGov. Videos of the event are now live, so you can watch Nina and Mike Woolf’s talk – Taking an equitable design approach: lessons from designing a mental health service for young Black people.

That’s it for November… we’ll be taking a break from month notes in December, before returning in the new year. 

If you’re interested in hearing more about any of our work, or working with us in 2024, get in touch with Ben Holliday

Jaskiran Kang's avatar

Jaskiran Kang

Head of Service Design

Contact Jaskiran

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