Matchable Health

matchable is a new service that connects design students with the health and well-being sector. Follow our blog to keep up to date on progress and how you can get involved.

Matchable’s service proposal

matchable under construction

Matchable under construction

We’re pleased to make the service-proposal freely available – Matchable is too good an idea to be hidden away under some bushel or other.

So here are the key documents for you to enjoy and work with:

Here’s what I say in the foreword of the report. Albeit written a little while ago, I think it still rings just as true now as it did then.

The other day I went to a workshop where people were planning how to do things in a new way. They’d come with some homework done, and were going through a number of structured tasks. In the morning it felt like quite hard work, though everyone was willing. The language being used was quite abstract and they were finding it difficult to get to the nub of what they wanted to do differently and what concrete changes would result.
Then in the afternoon Sarah and her team of ‘visualisers’ (recent service-design graduates) set up a ‘surgery’. An encampment of flip chart stands emerged, and the designers helped individual planners to turn their thoughts into a narrative flow, which was then drawn on a storyboard. The difference in atmosphere was noticeable. People came up with new ideas, critiqued the ones they’d already had, came away from the session with a fresh creative gleam in their eye.
Now of course any service-designer will tell you that visualising is only a small part of what they do. So if the amount of enhanced creativity that I saw is a result of a small part of what they do, imagine the amount that could be supported by fully-fledged design input!
It’s too good an opportunity to let go. And heaven knows, health and well-being organisations are going to need all the help that they can get over the next generation: to do things differently, to be ‘mutual’ with the people they work for, to generate Radical Efficiencies.

After a wonderfully collaborative process, the project team (Snook; Christine Hoy; Peter Ashe) really want to say thank you to all the following people (and sorry to those we forgot) who made this report possible:

Andy (GSA), Andy Hyde , Becca (Gray’s School), Ben (GSA), Cameron (GSA), Carol Sinclair (SGHD), Charlotte Lee (Stroke Association), Claire Abrahams (DoJ), Claire Tester (SGHD), David Roberts (DoJ), Denise Coia (HCIS), Derek Hoy (Snowcloud), Douglas Bryden (ECA), Fraser (Gray’s School), Gayle Rice (IRISS), Gemma Teal (GSA), Geoff Huggins (SGHD), Glyn Davis (GSA), Gordon Hush (GSA), Greig Robinson (GSA), Harriet Hunter (SGHD), Hazel White (DoJ), Hugh (Gray’s School), Iain MacMillan (GSA), James Porteous (GSA), James Vale (GSA), Jane Murkin (HCIS), Jason Leitch (SGHD), Joe Lockwood (GSA), Jon (GSA), Jonathan Baldwin (DoJ), Josie (GSA), June Watters (HCIS), Karen Maxwell (Snook), Kevin Geddes (LTCAS), Kirsty Sinclair (Snook), Lauren Coleman (GSA), Lauren Currie (Snook), Lesley Reid (NHS Lothian), Lisa Pattoni (IRISS), Lizzie (GSA), Louise Mushet (GSA), Lucy (DoJ), Lucy Robinson (IRISS), Luke (GSA), Matt (Gray’s School), Matt (GSA), Megan Lambie (GSA), Mike Press (DoJ), Nancy Greig (LTCAS), Nassim (Gray’s School), Natalia (Gray’s School), Niall (Gray’s School), Ritchie (Gray’s School), Ruth (DoJ), Sarah Drummond (Snook), Stewart Bailey (GSA), Ten other students (DoJ),  and Tim Warren (SGHD)


What Matchable means to me…

My name is Louise and I am a design student at the Glasgow School of Art. I want to share what Matchable means to me…

Here it comes again, that dreaded question…

“So what is it you do pet?”
“I’m a design student.”
“Oh really? So what sort of things is it you design? Chairs?”
“Em… kind of. I design systems, services and experiences as well as products too.”

That’s normally the end of the conversation as they think I’m just another one of those crazy art school students. Yes I do happen to go to art school, but I feel very privileged that Glasgow seems to be thee Scottish art school which is at the forefront of design. Design isn’t only about making pretty things to be mass produced and sold around the globe for pennies anymore.

As a designer, I now have the responsibility to make a change.

Britain is getting higher and higher expectations in an economy where it’s getting harder for companies and the public sector to deliver great services. This is where they need designers to intervene with creative, clever, affordable solutions which are good for them and for everyone else.

Although this idea may seem strange (what company would look for a designer and pay them for what seems an obvious solution), but that’s the thing, what may seem obvious to us creative designers is not the obvious solution to hard-headed businessmen.

This concept has already taken off in London with companies such as Engine, Seren and Think Public offering workshops to Japanese companies, but nothing like this exists in Scotland, meaning no jobs or real design experiences like this exist in our education.

Me at work!

Me at work!

But now there is a small group called Matchable Health who want young Scottish designers to help design better services in the health sector. This is incredibly poignant in today’s climate with cuts on the NHS being threatened at every corner; our help will undoubtedly be needed.

Matchable work by going round the four major art schools in Scotland who include service design as part of their course and run workshops with them.

The NHS is a service everyone is quick to criticise, but I think we take it for granted. Imagine if we were like America and had to pay every single part of our healthcare ourselves?

Therefore one can deny that what Matchable does is a genius idea, which is just waiting to take off, but is this all going to happen when it’s too late? I would like to think the government will quickly take notice of what they’re doing, and jump at the chance of testing out some of the solutions us young designers have suggested, which could literally change the way we think of the NHS, for the better.

P.S If you would like to share what Matchable means to you get in touch with Lauren ( at ) wearesnook ( dot ) com

Matchable meets Duncan of Jordanstone Students

I met up with seven students from the Masters courses and seven students from undergraduate courses of Jewellery and Metal work, Textile Design and Graphic Design. Our session is captured in this little video below:

The post-graduate Masters courses are made up of a wide range of disciplines – students with backgrounds in Jewellery, Interior Design, Fashion, History, Marketing and the health sector! The undergraduate students ranged from second year to fourth year and I was very grateful to the fourth years who came along despite being days away from their degree show!

So what do these students want to get out of Matchable?

// Can you train me to a better service designer please?
// Can you provide us with a mentor?
// Can you help us learn?
// Can you help us meet new people?
// Can you help us make new contacts?
// Can you help us see where Service Design fits into new sectors?

We are really excited about the wide range of students at DOJ that are keen to learn more about service design.

“I’ve always been really interested in this but haven’t known how to get involved” Sharon

There was focus on real employment and the unanswered questions that you have when you are a student:

// What do you do? Do you phone? Do you send a CV?
// What do you say?
// How do you articulate yourself and your ideas?
// How do you make a good impression?

“Some people just don’t know where to start! We need a middle man!” Sharon

The students were keen to make sure we make everything Matchable does very public although for the students it still has to feel personal, bespoke and most importantly be a reality checker!

“Throw us in the deep end and make sure we are out of our comfort zone” Lisa

The notion of cultural barriers was brought up with students voicing their concerns people in the health sector would sometimes have a ‘what do they know’ attitude. Of course, for all parties involved there is a sense of invasion and a fear of change.  We now know how important it is to have respect deeply rooted in everything Matchable does – who we all are, what we all do and what we aspire to do.

The students want a chance to practice what we preach before they graduate!

Most of this post is focused on the session I had with the Masters students. The visuals from my session with the undergraduate students are lost on a train track somewhere so hopefully those who came along can leave comments about anything I’ve missed!

Matchable meets Duncan of Jordanstone Educators

I was very excited to have an excuse to visit my old art school; Duncan of Jordanstone in Dundee. I spent time with the MDes Course Leader Hazel White, Professor of Design Policy, Mike Press and Design Lecturer, Jonathan Baldwin.

Our conversation is summarised in this little video:

We began by looking at the practicalities of how and where Matchable fits into the existing courses and programs. For undergraduates, Matchable could be part of their final year project or their dissertation topic ( I met Claire Abraham in the student session who is a textile designer writing her dissertation on how service design can improve the experience of a cancer patient ) It could also be part of the brilliant Design Studies module that happens in second year or it could be part of a new Co-Design module the team are working on.

We talked about Matchable being an extra curricular activity that perhaps the careers service could become involved in. For Post Graduates there are many opportunities within the Masters in Ethnography course and the Master of Design course. Options range from a 3 month placement to a final project. The group had some practical questions around finance and time that we will need to figure out. It was clear we would be expected to negotiate learning outcomes with the students. After all, as Mike says…

“Students are far smarter than the people who teach them”

From where we are standing right now, Matchable seems like a win-win situation. The NHS would learn from looking at their own system through a design lens and embracing techniques like scenario building and patient journeys.  This is about the NHS investing in future talent! Furthermore, think of all the fantastic health care related design projects that are out there from organisations like the Design Council and ThinkPublic – some health care providers have never heard of them yet design students know them inside out!

“It’s not just about designers doing design thinking, it’s about everyone doing design thinking” Jonathan Baldwin

Snook’s vision is to transform public services in Scotland in a sustainable way and in our eyes Matchable is a vehicle for putting Scotland on the map.

“Design thinking for health care is hugely distinctive and will get Scotland noticed” Mike Press

The group were passionate about the idea of bringing the four art schools together.

“It’s very stupid that we don’t all work together” Mike Press

We explored big ideas around how the four art schools could work together including things like joint modules and masters courses. Matchable will be an essential building block in making that happen! One important issue that came up was ethics – all the people involved in Matchable will have to through a university clearance system. Also, the students relationship with the subject of research is critical in terms of ethics and respect. This in mind, it is clear why Matchable is seen as a…

“…brilliant chance for students to get outside what their own subject is” Jonathan Baldwin

It is these kind of topics that will be decided upon by a board of referees. This board will be made up of a representative from each Art School, the NHS, students and Snook. Snook’s role in all this is making sure real partnerships happen and raising awareness of this type of design to capture the imaginations of those in power.

We will create an online “Matchable Menu” that will to do the following:

// develop ideas and methods
// clearly outline who is accountable
// outline objectives for each party: Snook, NHS, universities and students
// present well defined guidelines
// define expectations
// define deliverables
// present different ways of assessing ( so educators can learn from each other )
// definition of the students role
// definition of Snooks role
// present case studies
// enable students to contribute to skills in their own discipline

We will also hold a “Matchable Matters” event that focuses on sharing Matchable with a new audience. We will hold them in Scotland but also in London and Cardiff and Ireland.  The universities will hold “Mini Matchable Matters” events that encourage multi-disciplinary working across the four universities. All this will enable Matchable to identify new partners and fresh talent.

We know design is about problems and strategy – not posters! To spread this reality we have to talk to people very far away from the design world and very clearly articulate the value in all this.  Where is the value for the health sector? Where is the value for the educational sector?

I am awe of the range of disciplines at Duncan of Jordanstone that are focused on creating socially focused design work. When I visited Aberdeen and Glasgow the focus was very much on Product Design as this is the only discipline that touches service design and social design. In contrast, at Duncan of Jordanstone we have students from Textile Design, Jewellery and Metal Work  and Graphic Design exploring design for social change!

“It’s so inspiring to see the students naturally leaning towards socially focused projects. They are doing it by themselves. It’s brilliant.” Hazel White

Matchable meets Gray’s School of Art Students

This week I met a group of design students from the Product Design Course at Gray’s Art School.  I met Nassim, Fraser, Niall and Natalia from 4th year and Matt, Becca, Ritchie and Hugh from 3rd year. The students kicked off by visualising their life three months after their graduation. I found the reaction to the question much more interesting than what the guys sketched on paper – thinking about graduation is scary and should be avoided at all costs! We want Matchable to change this! The picture below shows Niall sharing his plans to move to London to hunt for a job… can Matchable keep home-grown talent in Scotland?

I wanted to understand the relationship between design and the health sector from a students point of view: do the students see the need and the value? Yes they do. The group talked energetically about the skills and knowledge designers bring to the table that are unique from any other discipline – the main talking point being empathy.

You can hear what the students had to say for themselves here:

These guys want Matchable to happen before they graduate! They see it as a tool to motivate and push them right outside their comfort zone. Being part of Matchable over summer isn’t really an option for them because they need to work and save up for next term during the summer.

The one thing this group were really excited about was the idea of Matchable making them present and talk to big audiences! It is a very scary thing to do when you are a student and believe it or not some people go through four years at art school and never have to present an idea! We definitely agree that presenting ideas should be a key element of Matchable!

Again, the concept of collaboration cropped up time and time again…

“I want Matchable to match me with different disciplines made up of different skills”

This group had also done some live projects before but were quick to admit…

“We’ve done live projects before but let’s be honest they are not that live”

This is because the students only got to meet the client twice in the whole process!! The positive outcome of the live project experience was how much the student got from a client taking them seriously.

All of these students understand the possibilities of social design…

“The difference between art school and the real world are far too far apart”

Social design can often be tricky to explain to people and this is something that the students are very conscious of at this stage in their career. They want guidance on showing and proving to people what they do and why it’s valuable and they want to get rid of the misconception that design is all about making lamps and pretty pictures.

Normally, when you are a student you live in a bubble. Typically, your bubble gets popped twice: once at your degree show and again at New Designers ( the UK design student talent showcase event ) This is the only time when you are forced to examine your competition and study the design landscape round about you. We think this a bit odd really. There is no reason why the art schools is Scotland should be making the most of the healthly competition and transforming what is currently perceived as rivalry into collaboration.

Also, the students talked about professionalism and admitted they would have no idea what to wear, where to go or what to charge.We think this needs to change.

So what do the students want to get out of Matchable?

// Stronger understanding of the power of other disciplines
// Confidence to ask for help when it’s needed
// Confident acceptance that designers can’t do everything or save the world on their own!

Matchable meets Health Organisations – Kevin Geddes and Nancy Greig

Kevin Geddes and Nancy Greig work for the Long Term Conditions Alliance – an umbrella collective of over 200 smaller orginisations; from local support groups to national charities.

In quite stark contrast to my discussions with people involved in Scottish Government project, what really became apparent when talking with Kevin and Nancy was the variety in scale of projects within the organisation. The Long Term Conditions Alliance works with large charities, but it also works with people who are running support groups and newsletters out of their back bedrooms.

All of these discussions really brought home the fact that we need to design Matchable to be immensely flexible. We want to be able to support organisations, and to introduce students to very different working environments.

We spoke about Nancy and Kevin’s involvement with the Self Management Fund, and how that could potentially benefit from the students enthusiasm and energy in getting word out there – shown in their numerous blogs and websites. They want to promote the opportunities that members of the fund would be involved in, and that takes a certain type of someone.

We spoke about the fact that Matchable might actually be a bit too much for some of the organisations, that it would be quite difficult to bring in an outside perspective to some of the orgs – very often people don’t feel comfortable talking about their conditions with those who can’t relate to it. Ultimately, we need to work out where Matchable fits and how best to sell it.

My key learning from this afternoon’s session was that Matchable NEEDS to be as flexible as possible. It needs to be able to do templates for newsletters and leaflets as well as thinking about systems and processes.

Matchable meets Health Organisations – Carol Sinclair and Clair Tester

Thursday morning is back in St Andrews House – this time talking to Carol Sinclair and Clair Tester from the Scottish Government. Both Carol and Claire are involved in the Quality team, and are a great source of knowledge on all things relating to Quality Strategy within Scottish Government.

We talked about roles and responsibilities within Matchable – who would play what part in the process. Who would hold accountability, write contracts and job descriptions?They would like to see Matchable work with the Special Boards, aligning to the Strategy by producing finite pieces of work.

Carol and Claire talked of involving students not just in graphic-related work but in film clips, recordings, user journeys and project-management roles. We talked about taking students out of their studio environment and into the workplace – how this move produces amazing pieces of work and could be complemented by an internal buddy system. We talked about ‘soft health information’ –  a phrase the Clair mentioned when I was explaining students use of user journey maps; indicating touchpoints, interactions and emotions throughout an experience.

They would need students to be formally contracted in to the organisation, especially when we are talking about longer (2/3 month) internships. There would need to be a contract, drafted by the organisation but with input from Snook. This would need clarity, an identified outcome as a finite piece of work. Scottish Government work to deliverables and Matchable will work to these too – creating opportunities within projects.

Ultimately, what we were most excited about was the possibility, through this collaboration, to really showcase Quality in Action, to visually document the process that projects are making and the alignment that this work will have in supporting the overarching Strategy.