Digital Tim’s Blog


The Gift of Poor Customer Experience

Today Argos and DHL gave me the gift of poor customer experience. It’s only a gift, for me, because I’ve been working as a user researcher / service designer and so it’s actually useful for me to see what poor customer service looks like. It provides me with insight into how services could be improved. […]

I am a Service Designer

As part of my commitment to personal development, a while back I did a course in service design.  It was an intensive 5 day course delivered by the people who wrote the book on it, the book This Is Service Design Doing (TiSDD).  Something that struck me by the end of the week is that, I am a service designer.  During the week it became apparent that there is a lot that I have done during my lifetime, even if at the time it wasn’t always delivered with a service design label on it. 

The course emphasized that service design is broad and evolving and due to this nobody is an expert in all areas of service design, all service designers have their strengths and weaknesses, so when I say I am a service designer, I am not saying that I already have expertise in everything that could fit within the service design box, nobody can say that.  What I am saying is that I have a lot of skills and experience that can be packaged into a service design box. 

The course focussed on what they defined as the three pillars of service design, research, ideation and prototyping.  I outline below the expertise that I have that fit within each of these pillars. 

From Academia to User Research

In my transition from academia into user research I have found that not only have I been able to bring with me a lot of expertise from my research background, but I have also been able to apply understanding from management roles and facilitation skills from my performance background.

Hire me to Help Fix the NHS

I argue that the combination of my academic, professional and lived experience is quite unique. They have given me deep understanding of how to improve the healthcare system and how to digital technology could be applied to improve healthcare efficiency. My motivation is not financially driven, it’s more that I have gained skills and understanding that could be applied to making the system work better and my life experience has shown me just how important that is.

As a brief taster, my PhD findings indicated that technology could not improve efficiency alone. To make the system work better, it is important to create different relationships with and through information technology. It’s not just the technology that is used that is important, it’s how the tools are used and how they are integrated into the system that’s important. For more detail feel free to: read my thesis, contact me or even better, hire me to work with you to help make the system work more effectively, or at least to improve one part of the system.

Hire me to Help Fix the UK’s Broken Track and Trace System

From the above it should be clear that whilst the involvement of consultants in the UK contact tracing system has not always resulted in improvements I am quite different to the consultants that have been part of the current mess. The combination of my academic, creative and health management background gives me a unique set of skills and understanding that I could apply to help address this issue. These in combination with 6 months of experience in evaluating Covid19 contact tracing in the UK this year make me uniquely placed to help fix the problem. I also add that my motivation for wanting to be employed to help address this issue is not primarily financial. I would certainly not be asking for anything like the £7,000 per day rates that have been allegedly charged by some consultants. The tag line for this blog is digital innovation for good. I want to help primarily because given the opportunity I could help.  I would like to help as I believe that improving our contact tracing system would help save both lives and livelihoods as I outline in this earlier blog post and this piece in the BMJ.

Looks Like I Might Have Influenced Public Health England

In early September some of the main findings of the report were outlined in an opinion piece in the BMJ as outlined here. The title was “Best practice in contact tracing: How should an effective system be organized?” Today I spotted that the BMJ piece was listed in this Public Health England report on behavioral and social science articles relevant to Covid19. Not just that but its the first one in the list. I am not entirely sure who will have read the report or the articles it recommends, but it’s just possible that I might influence national policy.

Tackling Climate Change, How Smart City Thinking Can Help

Sometimes climate activists suggest that we need to significantly reduce economic growth. I do not see this as constructive. In a talk about climate change a few years back, I recall Anthony Giddens powerfully arguing that we need a positive vision of the future if we are going to avoid environmental Fortunately the interconnected concepts of collective intelligence, industry 4.0, cyber physical systems and the circular economy offer a positive vision of radically different economic growth

Improving Service Design with Systems Thinking and Theatre

I’ve been thinking about service design quite a bit recently. Mostly this emerged from one of my current research / consulting projects. I have put research and consulting together as in my work sometimes these two merge together. I have been working with a digital consulting company, working with them to help refine and communicate their methodologies and marketing. Touchpoint, the Service Design journal argues that services and the performing arts have many things in common. They are both made up of processes, and depend on people to fulfil tasks to make up a bigger picture and both are planned with tools such as storyboards, scenario’s and customer journeys. These are all very much my comfort zone

UK EU Withdrawal Agreement Spat linked to Fourth Industrial Revolution Investment

in May I wrote this blog post and gave this podcast interview arguing that the key to getting the UK economy to recover from the Covid induced recession was to invest in the fourth industrial revolution…..the UK government is now planning on investing in fourth industrial revolution focussed companies to stimulate the UK economy, very much in line with my earlier blogs.


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