90 days of Design Thinking... Day 2

During day two the workshop focused more on what our challenge is all about – Mental Health or Operation Mind, the catchy title we came up with! I must admit straight away that at this stage I and Tom have very little knowledge of Mental Health or the real issues involved, but we had enough info from our initial discussions with subject matter experts to be able to pitch our ideas for the project and decide what we might be looking at over the next 30 days. I’m very used to working with Tom as we often run workshops together as co-facilitators so I found this part worked well. I also enjoyed using my cartooning skills to depict the challenge on the concept poster. At the end of the afternoon it was refreshing to have a project concept drafted out on paper with clear visuals rather than a 5 page bland report.

One aspect that really stuck with me during this was when we were using the stakeholder map template. I had a thought that the template was too restrictive and wanted to try a different approach, but still utilising the concentric circles idea. When we spoke to Gavin and Melani, Gavin said to me “Matt that sounds like a perfectly good way of doing it, why don’t you just do it?… I give you permission do it” At first I was taken aback by this, but then I thought – no you are right, sod it and just do it! If it doesn’t work so what and just try something else! I realised then that this is what design thinking is all about – Try an idea, don’t ask permission (but ask for forgiveness later!) and if it fails, so what, tweak it and try it again. I think I will really try to use that mentality throughout this project and hopefully be true to the design process.

I do still have some slight worries that the bureaucracy and traditional report writing culture of the police will take some getting used to this approach but I am encouraged from the buy in of Chief Officers/Police and Crime Commissioner to try this different approach. I also feel that we can demonstrate how Design can help transformational and innovative change happen at an acceptable pace to the force, without the need for Prince 2 style bureaucracy and Gant charts etc bogging the project/change down.

Now all we need to do is try to secure a project space, build up some project resources, clarify our plan of action and god forbid, start speaking to some ‘customers’ – what a novel concept for the police! Watch this space…

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