Design Role: Investigating: DOTT07

There were two kinds of investigations: one at the framework level to look for design opportunities and define themes and briefs among a wide array of stakeholders and the second one at the project level to explore each design contexts and co-design solutions fot the future.

Framework level
The setting up of the themes and their focuses was initially set up by the Dott board, and then collaborative in its development. At the start of the program internal meetings and the so-called ‘Explorer Clubs’ were conducted to clarify Dott vision and projects briefs. Dott 07 had the first meeting called ‘Otterburn’ on 20 June 2006 with board members for what was called a ‘shallow dive’ into the programme vision and aims. The shallow dive evolved and Dott 07 programme and projects were fine-tuned through external initiatives, called ‘explores clubs’ for several months. Each project focused on defining each project brief and building partners for the project. The explorer clubs in particular used ‘speed dating meetings’, presentations, discussions and group activities (discussions, brainstorming and mapping out issues).

Project Level
As soon as the brief for the public design commissions was set up each design team started to work following their own approach. Groups used various methods to investigate their contexts:
- Cultural probes: in the Move Me project the design team provided schools with ‘travel activity packs’ to help explore how and why they travelled the way they did. In Our new school project they used ‘my school diary’ to ask staff to map out activities during the week;
- Visits and observation: design teams personally visited, often as ‘guided tours’, places and spaces to get a personal and in-depth understanding of the design context. In ‘Our new school’ project designers invited students and staff to observe their places mapping people, spaces, objects and activities (‘the same but different tour’) or visit places that were well known for their quality to inspire their ideas;
- Video, storytelling and filming: techniques like ‘shadowing’ or co-creating films were used to inspire design and discussion. Thinkpublic asked the SMART team (Skills, Memory and Recreational Therapy) a community of under-65 people with dementia and their carers, to film and capture stories of daily life with dementia;
- Mapping exercises: all design teams engaged in different kinds of mapping activities with their stakeholders such as stakeholders mapping, service mapping, relationship mapping, customer journey mapping, etc.

On the other side non-design groups conducted other interesting activities to explore while engaging people on specific topics. In the Vital Signs group a Forma commissioned media artist Kevin Karter together with Media 19 created an online platform where people could upload their video-portraits. These were used alongside existing official statistics data and stereotypes based on postcodes currently held by market research agencies, to show differences and highlight what people really were beyond stereotypes and what they aimed to be.
In a similar way the ‘welcome’ project collected sentences, photos and videos on what makes people feel welcome in their region and showed these materials in an exhibit.

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