Pioneering design research in health and care

A flavour of our design research in health and care

As well as a home to post-graduate teaching, GSA’s Highlands and Islands campus plays host to a portfolio of pioneering design research. The campus is home to the Experience Lab team, a group of design researchers who are central to the Digital Health and Care Institute.

Lasercut model of a nurse used in a design tool during an Experience Lab

Lasercut model of a nurse used in a design tool during an Experience Lab

So, what does all this mean? Why do designers work in healthcare? What do they do exactly? How does Design make a difference? What is an Experience Lab?

These are just some of the queries raised around the exciting and developing role of Design Innovation. Our design researchers specialise in the discipline which sees them designing beyond products, and into services.

To help explain our work to you, one of our research fellows, Gemma Teal is here to help in the video below. Gemma is an experienced design researcher who has almost a decade of experience working in the area of health and wellbeing. 

Gemma Teal Diabetes Experience Lab

Project lead Gemma Teal during a Digital Diabetes Experience Lab. Image credit: Louise Mather

Before we hear from Gemma, here are some frequently asked questions:

What do our design researchers do?
Our researchers work in many different contexts, from business to healthcare.  They address complex issues through new design practices and bespoke community engagement. Our team research the new qualities of design that are needed to co-create contexts in which people can flourish: at work, in organisations and businesses, in public services and government.

Why is this important in a health and care context?
Gemma and our wider design research team play a core role in the Digital Health and Care Institute (DHI). Across the world, models of health and care are struggling to meet the challenge of our ageing population. Digital health and care interventions are recognised as key to the solution in tackling this. Our design researchers explore and prototype possible solutions to these issues.

What is an example of this in action?
Recently, our team has explored how to innovate the experience of Outpatient departments in hospitals.  The waiting period ahead of an Outpatient appointment was identified as a key area to innovate working with the NHS staff, and those who live with long-term conditions.

“Revolutionising the Outpatient Experience” was a DHI event, which GSA designed and facilitated. This work gave Gemma the idea to innovate the waiting experience.

As our work in DHI continues, Experience labs are continuing to innovate in this area. We are now collaborating with The Scottish Government on The Modern Outpatient strategy. Part of this programme of work will include looking at how to innovate the waiting experience.

Following the DHI event, which involved health and social care staff and a number of projects that explored experiences of people living with long-term conditions, the team held an internal prototyping workshop to give form to the insights and ideas generated. Their aim was to develop prototypes that respond to the identified need to reduce patient anxiety and prepare them to get the most from their appointment. 

The prototypes designed on the day will feed into the ongoing project, which includes:

  • Interviews with people with lived experiences of Outpatient care
  • A series of co-design sessions
  • A pop-up public engagement tool

…All designed to inspire meaningful conversations around aspirations for care with people who use Outpatients services.

Watch our Experience Lab team in action
Here, and with some help from Gemma, you can watch our designers at work together at the GSA’s Highlands and Islands campus:

GSA Experience Lab team at work! from The Glasgow School of Art on Vimeo.

 

If you’d like more information about our previous work on Revolutionising the Outpatient experience you can read the report online.

To find out more about our portfolio of research please visit our website.


Learn about design and help a local social enterprise

Design workshops: sharing perspectives and imagining Newbold House together

Do you live in or around Forres and would love to find out more about the world of design, while helping your local community?

One of our design research teams, called Leapfrog, are hopping….sorry… hoping, that you can come and join them for a design workshop which is going to help shape the future of social enterprise, Newbold House.

Women taking part in a Leapfrog workshop

A Leapfrog design workshop in action!

Leapfrog is a £1.2m three year Arts and Humanities Research Council-funded project, which aims to transform public sector consultation through design. The project sees close creative collaboration with Highlands and Islands and Moray community partners to design and evaluate new approaches for better engagement.

In this case, the team plan to design a tool that will capture and share all the great ideas that come from people who are interested in different aspects of the Newbold Trust.

Leapfrog PhD researcher, Mirian Calvo tells us a little more:

“The tool aims to inspire great new ideas and share them with the intention of engaging with people towards the refurbishment of Newbold House, alongside advice on how this can make a meaningful contribution to the local community.

“For the tool to be a success, we need the the knowledge and experience of the local community, so we are looking for willing participants to join us for these exciting co-design workshops.

“We don’t exactly know what will go into the tool, only that it will be creative, sharable and all the content will be designed by people who potentially could benefit from the future services and facilities of Newbold House.

Leapfrog research activity

Designing design tools: get creative, learn about design…and help your local community!

Are you interested? If so, Mirian would love to hear from you. To book a place please email her: [email protected]

Leapfrog is a collaboration between ImaginationLancaster at Lancaster University, and The Innovation School at The Glasgow School of Art. The team make all the tools, which are free to use and can be fond on the Leapfrog website.

 


Introducing Design Tools


What is a design tool?

Our Experience Labs team has worked on more than 20 digital health projects in the past three years, covering subjects such as diabetes, back pain, counselling and Internet safety.

The Labs were developed by InDI and are a central element in the Digital Health & Care Institute (DHI), a Scottish Innovation Centre funded by the Scottish Funding Council, in partnership with Scottish Enterprise and Highlands and Islands Enterprise.

Because each topic and group of participants is different, the design researchers create special tools to use in each workshop. These are designed to engage participants and encourage them to share their own experiences.

In a series of blogs, called Tool Stories, members of the Experience Labs team reflect on some of these bespoke tools and why they were so effective.

Blank swallow cards CrossReach

Image credit: Hannah Laycock

But what is a tool?
We asked our design researchers and for this, the first blog, we bring you their definitions. Let us know what you think about the term.

“A tool is something that gives form to thought…we’re trying to capture experiences and asking people to share their stories… The tools help people to visualise that experience because perhaps they can’t do it in a conversation.
Leigh-Anne Hepburn

“A tool is anything that is populated with experiences or thoughts in a session. It moves the conversation beyond a chat, and makes the structure and shape of the process tangible.”
Jeroen Blom

“A tool is something that facilitates engagement and helps people either to think about new ideas or express and share their experiences and ideas. It is anything that helps to articulate and makes tangible the different thoughts and experiences that people bring to the labs.”
Sneha Raman

“A tool is anything we use, whether it be software, hardware, a piece of paper, that facilitates discussion, can be used to record discussion or can be used to provoke some reaction and then discussion.”
Dr Jay Bradley

Until the next blog, you can read more about a different approach to tools on the Leapfrog page and by searching our blogs.