Age UK Newcastle
Embedding service design
Age UK Newcastle is a charity that offers services and support for people aged over 50. I was engaged in a two year Knowledge Transfer Partnership with the charity to use service design approaches to help them develop and implement a coherent, sustainable suite of services that provided a better experience for their customers and volunteers.
Throughout this programme, I used a service design approach to enable managers, staff and service recipients to co-design solutions together. I used visual research and communication techniques to meaningfully engage all stakeholders throughout the process. By creating safe spaces for constructive feedback, opportunities to take on more active roles, and a method for testing out new ideas, I was able to encourage staff to take ownership of different parts of the process to truly embed the approach.
Several new services were developed, including Phone Neighbours, which facilitates peer-to-peer support for socially isolated, lonely older people. This, along with a new information campaign called Just What I Need, were incredibly successful and heralded as examples of best practice by national networks.
As well as various customer improvements, the result of the programme was a shift in Age UK Newcastle’s culture to become a more customer-focused and responsive organisation. The KTP also won a national award for best knowledge base impact, as well as being graded outstanding by the Technology Strategy Board. As a result of the programme’s success, I was invited to be a plenary speaker at Age UK’s Services for Later Life conference, as well as run a workshop for Age UK’s national service development team. Age UK also used the programme to shape a flagship pilot, providing service design support to 4 local Age UK’s.
I continue to support Age UK Newcastle’s service development and have provided bespoke service design training for new staff.
“Laura is a talented and skilled individual who brings fresh insight and creativity to designing customer-focused services and support”
Fran O’Brien, Head of Resources and Business Development,
Age UK Newcastle