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Incorporating Human Centred Design in CityVerve

FutureEverything is leading community-led innovation in the CityVerve project

Author: Daniel Santos

What are we doing?

FutureEverything is leading community-led innovation in CityVerve project by doing two things interchangeably. On one hand, we’re promoting community engagement; an ongoing conversation between CityVerve partners and the people of Manchester. We organised multiple community events, where the project has been openly presented and discussed with the public — we have a whole bunch of future Community Forums lined up, if you are interested in participating stay tuned. On the other hand, our role has empowered CityVerve partners to implement a Human Centred Design approach to the design and development of Manchester as a Smart City.

HCD is an overarching approach that sets the process and frameworks to integrate tools, methodologies and practices to unveil problems, needs, wants, limitations and restrictions of the people who will use the end product or service. It’s a big picture discipline that focuses attention on improving strategic decision-making by putting the people at the centre of it and continually assessing what’s needed (desirability), what it’s possible (feasibility) and what it’s sustainable (viable).

On late July we kicked off the Human Centred Design (HCD) process in CityVerve, starting with an induction workshop. This workshop also brought CityVerve partners together for the first time. At FutureEverything our job was to design and build HCD frameworks that will support the CityVerve use cases, developed by our partners. We teamed up with SimoneMatt and Chris from FutureGov, to deliver a three-month series of labs and workshops involving partner organisations and Community Champions. Our FutureGov colleagues did a brilliant job helping us introducing the HCD approach for designing with user needs in mind.

Take a look at a short video about the four workshops we ran to kick of HCD:

This was just the beginning

CityVerve is a two-year-long project, and this series of HCD workshops were just the beginning of a journey to guide partners how to understand users needs to solve real problems. In a consortium with 20+ organisations, and given the natural intricacies and complexity of such a project, we must be aware that such journey is not going to be easy. We are not expecting to be successful in every stage of the process. We are ready to draw lessons from failed experiences and also from the successful ones.

Soon we will share some of these lessons. Stay tuned to our blog.

Thank you to…

All the CityVerve team and partners we have been collaborating. The brilliant kick start that Simone CarrierMatt Skinner and Chris Evans from FutureGov have given to the HCD workshops. Tom Rowlands who left FutureEverything after three years of high standard performance. Callum Kirkwood and Natalie Kane for their outstanding support during the planning and execution of these workshops. Also, Feimatta Conteh who is shaking things up in the way we design and manage programmes at FutureEverything. And last but not the least, Vimla Appadoo, whose exceptional vision and creative thinking always helps us to bulletproof our deliveries.

I also would like to commend the professionalism of Rob, from Vortex Films, who has done a high standard production and editing work.

Let us know your thoughts on this topic.

You might also want to read about other things we have been doing at FutureEverything or also check the blog of our Medium publication.

Special thanks to Vimla and Feimatta for their proofreading and editorial input.