The Service Model, shown in the previous blog article CRISP Meeting with Don Norman, has been a useful tool for the GRIP team to help explain to industry just what design can do, and particularly in negotiating our collaboration with the GGZE, a mental health service here in Eindhoven. In addition to this, the Service Model has proven useful in helping the team gain a clearer picture of what our data-led service may entail, allowing individual partners to foresee their personal focus or roles and where the commercial opportunities may lie. It is though, still theoretical, despite the positive feedback at last Octobers SDN conference, and so as you can imagine, it was exciting to finally begin putting the model through its paces when we conducted our observations at the GGZE a few weeks back.

The aim of the observations was to Define The Data Probe, the first stage of the iterative cycle, so this was an important in the development of the GRIP project. Coming face-to-face with GGZE employees in their working environment would allow us to spot potential problems or causes of stress that we could later target and monitor. It was agreed with the department of Ambulant Care within the GGZE that we could shadow several employees over the course of a working day to observe and record their working habits. I observed two employees from two separate sub-departments within Ambulant Care, witnessing essentially 2 polar opposite cases – one incredibly organised, relatively stress free caregiver and one more chaotic, overloaded with work. Taking notes, recording video and shooting photos, we observed literally everything, from client meetings and lunch breaks (or lack-of), to how caregivers organise their own schedules or how they break the rules to help their clients. It was important to document as much as we could as any one moment or cluster of moments could give valuable clues into the overall culture of stress within the organisation. The experience, from my perspective at least, was quite eye opening, as the organisation seemed to be quite different to what I had expected. I did not so much witness first hand experience of stress within the organisation, as rather the perceived causes of stress, as described the the caregivers themselves – and there were lots of them, ranging from struggles with the administrative software or time and directional issues when travelling to outside client meetings, to being overloaded with email as a result of missed phone calls or job lists that only appear to grow, never emptying.

The following Friday we held a workshop with the management of Ambulant Care to present our insights, compare our experiences with their own, discuss potential areas for further research and co-create potential data probes and design solutions. To help facilitate this discussion we developed an Experience Flow listing the main employee quotes, activities, and observations whether positive, negative or neutral. This information was categorised into either a theme (in blue) or activity (in red) to pinpoint specific moments during the day that we could later discuss in further detail. While its probably true that some of the observations we shared had been heard many times before, the fresh way of visualising and presenting these stories helped nurture an open dialogue with our partners, shedding new light on potential causes of stress within the organisation, which in turn led to new, more targeted insights. In the coming weeks we will be developing further concepts for these Data Probes, as defined by the insights thrown up by the Experience Flow and GGZE Workshop.

Published: 11-Mar-2012 19:30


Projects, Grip
  • Observing Stress (?)

    Observations @ the GGZE