Since the beginning of the year we’ve been taking some time out each month to reflect on the way we work and discuss things that have worked well and things that could have worked better. The aim of our ‘designing the lab’ sessions is to ensure that we stay on top of our game in order to help keep Bromford future ready.

So far, we’ve been looking at developing our Innovation and Design service offer. We want to be clear on our methodology as well as standardising our processes, documentation and toolkits.

At our recent designing the lab away-day in Birmingham, we spent some time thinking about the value we bring to colleagues. Here’s some of our initial thinking:

  • we support colleagues to step outside of their comfort zone;

  • we support colleagues through the bureaucracy of change;

  • we build effective working groups;

  • we find compelling ways to communicate service user stories in order to achieve maximum impact.

We do this by: 

  • starting with people; putting those who will use our products and services at the heart of everything we do;

  • encouraging debate;

  • acting as an independent and objective critical friend;

  • blowing the roof off current thinking and challenging assumptions;

  • providing the ‘permission’ for colleagues to go further;

  • removing barriers and unblock thinking;

  • bringing together teams which exploit people's strengths;

  • joining the dots and brokering relationships;

  • providing a resource to support colleagues throughout the whole project life-cycle;

  • acting as facilitators and recognising that our commissioners and colleagues are the experts -  we simply guide them through the design process;

  • helping people achieve quick results through fast generative insight work and rapid prototypes and tests;

And perhaps above all else - Asking WHY?

We know that key to our success is the ability to engage with stakeholders. We reflected that sometimes we’ve done this well and sometimes not so well. Over the summer we’re going to be using our designing the lab sessions to think about ways we might get to know our stakeholders better, both in terms of the overall Innovation and Design service at Bromford, but also in terms of our individual packages of work.

Designing the Lab Away Day.png

We also came up with some topics for future designing the lab sessions based on some of our reflections. So, over the coming months we’ll also be setting aside some time to look at:

  • How we might ensure we do more end to end process mapping which crosses silos/teams/systems and helps to identify opportunities to effect real change?

  • How we might get better at turning insights we pick up during other work into opportunities for self commissioned projects which could add value to the organisation, but  currently off the radar of anyone outside of the team?

  • How we might do more to raise issues early and use each other to help unblock our thinking?

I’ll be blogging more about our designing the lab sessions as they continue throughout the year - so if you like what you see, watch this space. . .