With the ongoing changes to the way we live currently taking place, we have been asked to share a framework from the research we did with and on 13-17 year olds that highlights how they might be making sense of our current environment.
In our ongoing interactions with this age group in our peer groups, work communities and ecosystems, and our connection with the Education system, we increasingly see articles concerned about young people’s mental health in the time of the COVID-19 pandemic and other timely but confronting culture shifts, we thought it might be useful to share.
For this research we were working in the Sydney Local Health District who wanted to ultimately improve the health and well-being of the young people in its area, but we think the outcomes are applicable to ‘the new normal’ as well.
As we delved into attitudes, motivations and influences on adolescents (in general, ‘how they operate’), the following building blocks for co-design were developed. They highlight key foundational themes and logic around how young people build their knowledge, create action and maintain it.
We do not pretend this is an answer or guidance, but on reflection of the themes we see a relevance to understanding where young people might be exploring and/or struggling at this time and may be a good guide for those working with young people to make sense of where we are all at today.
For more on the work we did in this project and for the sources/references see: ‘Show Me How’ – co-designing a healthy and active future with, and for young people
This week we spent time in the field – ostensibly to research specific experiences of a service touchpoint. As always, while it’s hard work getting out there – recruitment, maps, research design, not to mention a 40 degree heatwave – and engaging with multiple people in multiple environments over days can be tiring but it is always ALWAYS worthwhile when you get the gems, nuggets, clues and insights you can only get from engaging in conversation and exploration with actual and potential users.
All that said, the most delightful aspect from a broader service design perspective was the realisation and confirmation of the service maturity of citizens (as opposed to “customers” as we tend to explore experiences with government services).
Case in point was a self-proclaimed “typical Gen-Yer” who gave us the most fantastic and articulate insights into attitudes towards service, expectations of government service, trade-offs expected, capability of providers required, level of innovation assumed – and all in describing the experience of buying kebabs through PayPal! When the field was quickly followed by work on another job we’re doing in the strategic space of service design at the corporate level, we were able to directly share the experience of the Gen-Y Kebaber with our client, a senior government representative, to help them understand what they are actually trying to achieve by influencing their organisation to design services with users in mind, not just develop them.
In this strategic project we’ve been asked define a whole Government’s strategic intent for its entire service offering to the public (individuals and business where that government delivers both municipal and State level services).
In working on the early stages of a Service Intent Framework the thing that stood out to us was how much work is already done that just requires cut-through from a different perspective (in our case, the perspective of service design). We presented our client with an intent framework largely made up of their words (everything from large scale reviews to individual Departmental Strategic and Business plans) balanced by some reality around the operating environment they work in, and containing some of our key service design tools like a formal value proposition.
And it hit the mark, as the client said “these things have been around us the whole time, we just couldn’t see the forest for the trees – and this framework gives us what we were after”.
From our point of view it proves once again the opportunity of service design to practically bridge the experience of the user and the strategic goals of a complex service provider.