Skip to Content

Re-designing services with users and producers

A Learning Prison. Here, the prison is divided up into houses (the image above is a cross section) with cells on the top three floors; a communal space on the ground floor and a learning centre in the basement. Image courtesy of Hilary Cottam, Buschow Henley, Do Tank Ltd.

Re-designing services with users and producers such as the work undertaken by design consultancies like IDEO, Think Public, Participle, and Live Work or the Hope Institute’s citizen teams around public service improvements. One recent example is IDEO’s work with the SPARC centre at the Mayo Clinic (see-plan-act-refine-communicate). This project involved turning an internal medicine wing into a laboratory designed to improve patient-provider experiences. The team turned an internal medicine wing into a ‘four-zone journey’ through which patients proceed: starting with the Service Home Base, moving to the Visitor-Facing Hub which leads to the Preparation Service Area before finally reaching Innovation Central. The wing is now a permanent section of the clinic where staff and doctors can develop and prototype new processes for improving service delivery. In another project, Hilary Cottam led a multidisciplinary team including prisoners, prison officers, prison management and architects to develop a new collaborative design for prisons. The new design divides the prison up into houses – thereby maintaining security while allowing greater freedom of movement and freeing up financial and staff resources. The idea is to then re-focus the prison day and the role of the prison officer around an intensive learning programme.

The Arizona Department of Corrections has involved recent prisoners in designing programmes to help others reintegrate back into society.

(See Hilary Cottam et al, Learning Works: The 21st Century Prison, London: Do Tank Ltd, 2002.)