Digital

Durham

The task was to carry out fieldwork to re-introduce council members, decision makers and chief executives to their key stakeholders in an innovative workshop.

Challenge

Digital Durham was a project operated by Durham City Council which aimed to provide access to super-fast broadband to all communities by 2017. Super-fast broadband in return would boost economic growth in County Durham creating more jobs, improving businesses and promote education. Our task was to carry out fieldwork for an Edinburgh based Service Design consultancy - Dynalucid, who were aiming to re-introduce council members, decision makers and chief executives to their key stakeholders in an innovative workshop; held at the end of November 2013.

Approach

Across a range of three geographies: Durham City, an ex-colliery town, and a rural location, street interviews were undertaken to explore and understand the journey & reality of unemployed people aged 18-24 looking for jobs. These stories and insights were then presented back to the Durham City Council to help them reconsider their decision and identify improved opportunities around unemployment.

To achieve this, we created amalgamated personas of our work, storyboards of people we talked to, highlighting some of the pain points experienced throughout their daily lives as they navigated through our focus areas (journey map).

Key Learning
  • It is always good to try, even if things go wrong - During my first field trip, I was trying to stop strangers in the streets to ask questions. It felt slightly strange at the start, but after trying different ways of approaching people and going wrong a few times, I managed to get the right phrase, body language and confidence to get people talking without feeling intimidated.

 

  • Know the people you are working with, first! - As Service Designers, we help a lot of clients to bridge the gap between stakeholders but I felt like there is something more to it, we need to understand the people we are working with first. It is essential to empathise with the different ways people work and adjust accordingly for the best outcomes. Understanding that also helps to foresee and solve problems amongst peers before they occur, saving time and money.

 

  • People don't like words like 'Research', 'Consent Form' or 'Questions' - I also noticed that people are more likely to talk to you if you do not use these three words at the beginning of a street interview. Yes, you can always tell them what you are doing, or even get them to sign the consent form, but at the end of an interview or before if you think it is the right time.

 

  • Relax, it is all about common sense - Our Ethnographic/Service Design skills lacked experience, but in the end, we still managed to pull everything together and deliver it. Because of most of the time; it was all about common sense as to what would come next or how to make sense out of the data collected.

My Takeaways
  • Three-to-one interview and firing questions from all sides confuse and intimidate the interviewees.

  • We realised that being nervous, and unconfident makes the interviewee the same.

  • Your approach decides how the interview will go.

  • Talking about a sensitive topic need to be dealt with respect. Asking the right thing at the right time determines if the interview is going well or not.​​

  • Some people just love to talk.​​

  • Some people do not like to talk because they need empathy to be built first to open up.

  • ​Interviews should be relaxed, both interviewer and interviewees should be comfortable.

  • An interview should be more like a day-to-day chat rather than an interrogation.

  • Time and money constraints play a vital role in the quality of research.

My Key Activities
  • User & Market Research
  • Workshop Facilitation
Client: Dynalucid, Glasgow
Project Duration: October 2013
Tools Used: Personas, Service Blueprint and User Journey Map.