Its Our Birthday! Four Years of Context Studio…
Studio Notes | What We’ve Been Up To
We just celebrated our 4th birthday! It’s a great opportunity to look back on the year that’s passed…
Four years ago, our idea was that a dedicated design studio, focused only on Service Design, could help Irish businesses and organisations gain by innovating their services through people-centred design. The end-goal continues to be to expand the impact design is having in Irish society.
Over the first three years we worked with clients in Europe, the UK, and in Ireland to prove the case, and this year we’ve seen more impact than ever here at home.
Designing for Impact in 2022
We started the year working with Cork County Council using service design to develop an intranet presence which meets the needs of staff across Ireland’s second largest local authority (find out more here). We also helped Department of Justice to co-create an innovation strategy across more than 25 agencies and bodies, resulting in the Innovation Strategy for the Justice Sector in Ireland.
This year included our first collaborations with the Institute of Designers in Ireland, Context Studio led design and research as part of the Atlantic TIDE project which produced valuable insights into the current state of the design industry all along the Atlantic Economic Corridor in the West of Ireland. It was also with IDI that director John Lynch worked to help make the “Design in Government” conference a reality in October (more on that later).
As interest in service design grows at home, we’ve been lucky to bring the practice to new sectors, a standout example being our ongoing work with Irish Heart Foundation, a charity providing an invaluable service to their members up and down the country, supporting people following stroke and heart failure. More on that in the new year.
And that’s not to forget the important work we’re doing with Dublin City Council – co-designing a participation and consultation process with disabled persons organisations. This work will uphold the human rights of DPO’s under the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities. In early 2023 we look forward to prototyping that same process, which was co-designed with councillors, staff, and representatives of disabled persons organisations (read about it here).
Advancing Design in Ireland
But Context Studio has always been about more than just consulting, we want to advance the impact of design in Ireland. Significant milestones were passed this year with the publication of Design Principles for Government in Ireland by Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, and their launch at the excellent Design in Government – Impact for All conference, which took place in October.
Never before has there been such an opportunity for the impact of design to scale, and the coming months and years will tell if we as a nation can truly capitalise on the opportunity.
It was the support of Creative Ireland, and the hard work of Institute of Designers in Ireland that made the conference a reality. Our director, John Lynch, supported the conference event, curating the agenda and speakers, and hosted a panel on the day.
The Government Design Principles came into being thanks to the Public Service Innovation Team at Department of Public Expenditure, and the work of the Service Design in Government Working Group established by the Department. Much work lies ahead in achieving the impact that Ireland deserves, and 2023 is looking like an exciting time.
To that end, John put himself forward and was elected to the board of Institute of Designers in Ireland late this year, and will work with IDI in 2023 to represent service design and user centred design and the impact they can have in Ireland.
The biggest news of all for us this year has been our growing team. We continue to work with a great group of freelance and contract designers, and we welcomed Sean Casey into the team this year. We continue to work with Service Design Network Ireland, and third level programmes across the country to help develop design talent and create new opportunities for design in the future.
We’re looking forward to 2023, there are plenty of exciting projects in the pipeline, and if you or your organisation would like to reach out you can always contact us via the web, or connect on LinkedIn.