Ellie Craven leading her session Ellie Craven leading her session

On Monday we held the first Leeds gov design meet at ODI Leeds. 26 people turned up. Thank you for coming!

And a massive thank you to the four people who led the sessions:

  • Pete Smith, from NHS Digital, on Simple improvements to patient referral letters

  • Ellie Craven, from GDS, on When free text is the enemy of data quality

  • James Johnson, from DWP, on Solving complex policy problems using design tools and techniques

  • Caroline Jarrett, from Effortmark, reviewing a form with everyone in the room

James Johnson leading his session James Johnson

Feedback was asked for. Some of the good:

  • The feeling of a safe space
  • Valuable sessions
  • Varied sessions
  • The quality of the sessions
  • The show and tells
  • Nice intimate setting with few barriers between speaker & audience, promoting easy engagement/discussion
  • Good questions
  • Amongst ’critical friends’
  • Great turn out

What to make better:

  • A bit more space [although four people did “gatecrash”, cuh]
  • Biscuits
  • More time for chatting
  • More diverse group of where people come from

Caroline Jarrett leading her session Caroline Jarrett

It was asked if we should do another meet, and a lot of people said yes. I’ve pencilled in Wednesday 18th April for the next meet, from 1pm until 3pm. There’s already a holding event set up on Eventbrite.

If you’re a public sector organisation in Leeds that has space for up to 35 people, it’d be great if you could offer to host it. All we need is a room with some chairs and a screen/projector. Otherwise I’ll find somewhere.

We’ll be looking at just three sessions next time, so it’s not too crammed.

Some things people would like to see:

  • More things that have been made, show and tells, and work in progress
  • Examples of where user research findings have influenced service and content design in a given project
  • Accessibility and performance
  • Hear from people who are actually delivering services that are transforming the user experience
  • Case studies of teams doing proper co-creation with users, not just testing a prototype but making together with users in the room
  • Group tasks

If you think you can do a session on any of the above, drop me a line. We try to offer a safe space where you can lead a session whatever your previous experience, and with that comes support leading up to the meet.

Finally, I want to encourage people in non-design roles to come along. You don’t have to be a designer to come along. It’s about gov design, not gov designers. The more we share an understanding of what is “design”, the more we share what good design looks like, and the more we share how we can go about that the better our services will be.