Lab Planning: What We (Were) Working On #8

If I had an hour to solve a problem I’d spend 55 minutes thinking about the problem and 5 minutes thinking about solutions.
— Albert Einstein

Wow, it’s been another busy week in the Lab, so we have another end of week round up. Our work pipeline is starting to flow and the word of the week has been ‘scope’. We’ve been scoping out a whole load of exciting new projects and tests with colleagues and partners, and we will be sharing more about this work through the Trello board and the blog as it progresses.

Following our Skype call with Rob from Well Told Story last week and our inspiration session this week, we’ve been talking a lot about thinking from the outside in, rather than from the inside out - taking a worldview on a specific problem, rather than narrowing our thinking by constraining a view with often lazy assumptions. This thinking will certainly help us as our work around understanding our customer base and developing personas progresses.  We’re looking start interviewing customers next week, so watch this space for updates.


So, this week in the lab:


We got together over lunch to talk about how creative campaigns communicate a message and engage their audience. Some of the campaigns we talked about were really inspiring, including Uninvited Guests and Lifebouy Hand Washing Campaign. They got us thinking about how changing behaviour really isn’t easy and in the case of the ‘uninvited guests’, how understanding the needs and motivations of your customers is essential if you want them to engage with your product or service. We were also inspired by the BBC Panorama – Refugee Crisis: A Snapchat documentary which got us thinking about the importance of using the right mix of channels for any given audience.


We’re starting work on scoping out some tests using Blockchain technologies as a potential way to make and receive payments.  We’re really impressed with what we have seen so far in demonstration and really think this is an exciting development that could prove to be a positive experience for both Bromford and our customers in terms of learning and user experience.  The next stage will be to pull together a design session so we can discuss how the tests will be deployed and recruiting customers to be a part of this. Watch this space for more on this in the coming weeks.

This week, Jam organisers from around the world have come to Birmingham to help design the future direction of the Global Service Jam movement. There are three Global Jams each year: Global Service Jam, Global Gov Jam and Global Sustainability Jam. Jams are run by a non-profit volunteer lead network, who all share a common passion for growing the field of service design and customer experience. Simon went along to the Impact Hub to meet with other Jam organisers who had travelled from as far as Colombia and LA in order to share thinking and ideas. As part of the day we met with two inspirational local start-ups - Saima Razzaq has just opened up a floating ‘boatel’ in Birmingham’s Gas Street Basin, and Tom Peel has designed ‘OVERHEAR’, an app to introduce music lovers to great local music, promote local venues and support local producers. We will be attending the #GJamJam this weekend where the theme will be ‘doing not talking’, with a full report next week.


Michelle has been out and about testing our #MartiniWorking , seizing the opportunity to get some inspiration from @Bristol. This summer, they launched a new area called The Tinkering Space which lifts the lid on robotics and allows you to get hands on with a variety of different robots, as well as other forms of technology and science.  Michelle will be doing a full blog post on what she learnt in the next couple of days, so stay tuned for more information and pictures.

Tinkering montage_James_Beck_AtBristol.jpg

We’ve been scoping out a test around the use of tech to reimagine the conventional landlord and tenant relationship. We’ve been doing a lot of thinking around PropTech over the last couple of weeks and will hopefully be looking to set up some tests in the coming weeks. We've taken some learning from our recent work around smart homes and we need to make sure that the latest round of tests include support for customers to make the most of the digital tech we give them.

Remember, you can always find out more about what we are doing by taking a look at our Trello board. If you see anything that sparks your interest we’d love you to drop us a line.


Have a great weekend!