Week 21 « Designing Dublin: Learning to Learn

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Week 21 – Shane’s book club!

Friday, February 25th, 2011

Shane brought the book, ‘What would google do?’ by Jeff Jarvis to the team on Friday afternoon. The book is divided into two sections; the first part is based on lessons from Google and the second on what Google would do to revolutionise various companies and organisations. Indeed, there are many lessons to learn from Google and how they have succeeded in becoming the fastest-growing company in history. The book began with a complaint about

Dell published on Jarvis’s blog. It was when this complaint began featuring at the top of the list if you searched for Dell, that the company began reacting to Jarvis’s complaint. Dell realised that people will complain about you anyway, so you need to be tuned in to hearing it rather than ignoring it. At this point, Jarvis realised that business culture and how businesses interacted with customers was shifting, taking Google as an example of how it should be done.

The lessons Jarvis draws from Google include; providing a strategic platform or tool and letting people use it however they want; giving something for free and making income through a side door; making testing public such as gmail in beta, so the user can influence it’s development; communicating what the companies bigger service is to broaden their capabilities and remove gateholders. These principles are then applied to various companies such as airlines, clothes shops and organisations such as the government so you begin to see the world through Google eyes! A bold book, it shows the secrets behind one company’s successful revolution of the online industry by changing the game for all of the players. There are plenty of lessons here for the Designing Dublin team!

Week 21 – Completing the ‘Lack of’ concepts

Thursday, February 24th, 2011

This week, each ‘Lack of’ was pushed and pulled, considered and reconsidered, widened and narrowed until a finalised concept emerged. Working individually, the team met and presented, taking 5 minutes to update the team on their work and 5 minutes for feedback. This format was repeated for each project up to twice a day to ensure we all remain on track and that the projects are growing into something juicy! The team are working loosely, dropping good ideas to find great ones, taking on the feedback that their project receives and turning corners to avoid getting stuck. Having worked in this fashion for a number of weeks, the ‘Lack of’s’ quickly developed into strong and exciting concepts to improve the Markets area. On Wednesday, we met to present the finalised concept, prototype and plan for the coming week. At this stage, each project met key criteria:

- A clear structure and sequence in the project, working from what we had heard to the big vision for the project in the form of short, medium and long-term goals;
- The key prototype idea;
- Background research into the prototype, why the big vision and prototype are being tested, site analysis, street engagement and hard statistics;
- Prototype location.

The final concept presentations were compelling, telling the story of where the projects began, showing how they had been thrown wide open and finally narrowing into a tangible and testable idea for improving the Market’s area. Now, with excellent critical feedback from the team, each ‘Lack of’ guardian will begin considering the logistics of the prototype and continue developing their marriages to other projects. Prototyping of the 11 ‘Lack of’s’ for the Market’s area will start from March 7th and will run until March 31st. Further details of where and when to see these prototypes will be available from this blog in the coming weeks!

Week 21 – Visit from Niall O’Baoill

Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011

Our guest speaker this week was the amazing Niall O’Baoill, Culture Co-ordinator of Fatima Groups United. Niall has been involved in community development projects since he was a teenager, when he realised that the best way of getting things done was to do them himself. This ‘Why not?’ attitude formed his career, working with people to create change in their local community by taking collective responsibility. Niall also reflected on the attitude of the nation today, questioning when will we come back to ourselves, take ownership of our feelings and ground the visions and aspirations of the country in common sense.

After emigrating and returning to Ireland, he found an unusual energy in theatre and became founding director of Wet Paint, a company’s whose primary concern was the development of young people’s access to and participation in the arts, developing a dialogue about what Dublin means to the youth through theatre. With this City-wide experience, networking 350 youth organisations, Niall was curious to see if he focused his energies on one community, what would occur. He began working in Fatima, based on an instinct that there was a genesis for change in the area and intrigued by their independent way of looking at things. Since he began working there in 1997, he has facilitated the community to come together and create their own vision for the future of Fatima in ’11 acres 10 steps’ which challenged the planners vision for redevelopment of the area. This bold step let to Dublin City Council publishing it’s first draft plan, giving the people of the area the opportunity to have their say in the plan for Fatima and ensuring greater transparency between the City Council and its citizens. Out of this, he began working with Dublin City Council and the community of Fatima to create a new concept of social regeneration, with a greater parity of power and integrated decision making. This led to the recognition of the importance of the arts in communities and he established the Fatima Arts and Cultural Working Group, bringing together the community and arts organization’s working in Fatima to facilitate the cultural expression of this community’s unique identity.

The Designing Dublin team took a lot from Niall’s work. He has effected long-term change in the Fatima community, repositioning both how they take ownership and how the City Council can provide permission and facilitate this ownership to occur. Emphasizing the importance of not filtering yourself and the importance of being honest to the experience and your feelings, these are wise words to guide the team over the last phase, thank you Niall!