Planning Design Sprint: Day 1

A commute gone wrong gave me more time to contemplate more than just the desired outcomes. There’s a real chance here to to leave a lasting legacy. As the days have progressed I’m finding more and more interest from the wider community. I’m particularly interested in how this sprint could be a new start to better ways of working for Local Authorities i.e. wider than just Planning. Could this be a seed to a better way for Local Authorities to collaborate in agile working partnerships or the standardisation of terminology and underlying data sets or finally as per normal just a good piece of work that provides the desired outcomes?

A seriously cold morning and we’ve all just about made it into the Innovation centre only to find the heatings out. Wow, we’re all seriously impressed by the layout of the sprint room, purposely designed and fitted out with the necessary tools. There’s a huge Planning process map on the wall ready and waiting for us focus our thoughts upon, narrow down the main areas to attack and most importantly to stick our stickies upon. Also don’t forget the refreshments, tea and coffee to warm up our hands, but with the cold and caffeine nobody’s falling asleep today! To lighten the mood a couple of the team were firmly reminded of the no tech during sessions i.e phone, tablets and laptops all put aside until the break.

Let’s get going. After the traditional round table introductions @Euanmills gave us a quick talk on the FCC wider objectives. We split up into teams and went through the process of reading the prepared personas all with a backstory to ensure they were representative. After presenting our personas (and a quick break) we had an in depth walkthrough of the Planning process on the wall to ensure it was as we all saw it. We all then had the chance to put the colour coded stickies onto the process map where we thought it was either missing steps, had mistakes or challenges. The session ended with another one of Anja’s honks on the bicycle horn leaving the process map looking like this:

After a nice healthy lunch and some time to deliberate over the morning’s progress it was straight back down to work. A general review of the of the now layered process map then onto the task of turning the negative issues into the more positive ‘How Might We’ statements. It did actually feel better trying to think of ways to make things better, rather than the negative trying to fix broken things. The many pain points highlighted in the morning were then categorised into themes such as; consultations, case management, guidance, submissions and document management. The lesser pain points and those deemed out of scope were dismissed and moved to the relegation zone.

A long afternoon of toil awaits. The morning and post lunch session were quite tiring and brain draining and so would have the afternoon if it weren’t for some excellent Lightning Demos – basically four demonstrations fitted into only three minutes each, of what can only be described and excellent practice rather than just best practice.

  • Consultations based upon theatrical forums, attendees attending a forum didn’t necessarily know they’ be playing a part in a consultation play!
  • The ESRI GIS package provides the ability to pick up an object (building) and drag it across the map or change its dimensions in situ and see the effect on the environment and associated linked data.
  • The FutureGov ‘Foster Carer Recruitment’ application form has been designed to be effective on the parts of the process that need data collected and isn’t trying to digitally trying to solve the whole problem
  • Better use of PDF’s and data stored within naturally feels like something we should be moving away from. However it was demonstrated as quick achievable step in the right direction worth considering as opposed to the option of waiting for a final product

A special treat: The finale of the day was for us to test ride the Virtual Reality and Augmented reality setups at the FCC. Selfishly I volunteered to go first, taking a deep breath I tried to totally immerse myself in the VR. At first taking steps was quite weird, but with the teleporting device moved easily around the top floor of the ArcelorMittal Orbit, moving from exhibit to exhibit. Each table gave view to a 3d map of the park with over a few seconds gradually built up several 3d layers of roads, street furniture, bus routes even the detail on the bus stop sign. Having a good view of the Olympic Stadium from 200ft up I sheepishly took a step of the edge – very very unnerving. Turning around to take a step back onto terra firma was even more difficult, I nearly fell as I ducked under a virtual barrier! Albeit in aid of improving the Planning process, the VR we saw could be used extensively across Public Realm if not the full council, however it will be another matter to develop and implement!

 The augmented Reality however looked considerably more achievable and had many practical application, selecting a building, verbally removing a component such as a roof to expose further detail. The roof object then became selectable, and you could verbally ask about all the detail was also the asset details, i.e. how old is it, how much did it cost etc. Even more likely to be with us very soon was the 3d Web VR in a browser.

Professional hosts. We’ve been fortunate to have Future Cities Catapult hosting the event especially with Anja and the sprint team putting a considerable amount of time into the preparation for the week, really setting the week onto a good path and keeping it all moving succinctly.

Monday’s Schedule :

Monday 27th November – Research and Inspiration
Goal for the day: Verify personas and planning journey, so that we are starting from the same base knowledge, inspiration for the ideation session on Tuesday
Schedule Agenda Item Notes
09.00 Coffees & Networking
9:30 General intro, what is a sprint, roles, tasks etc.

  • Introduction of participants (only those who haven’t met the group yet)
  • General introduction to the project (Euan)
  • Introduction to the sprint
Euan to introduce project

Anja to take everyone through the presentation

10.00 Presentation of personas

  • Team work in groups to explore the personas we created and verify them
  • Presentation of personas
Aisling to take participants through research

Verification through all participants

11.00 Coffee break In the same room
11:15 Presentation of planning journey – part 1

  • Presentation of the planning journey
  • Individual work: Identify missing steps, mistakes and challenges
  • Discussion
Aisling to take participants through research

Verification through all participants

13:15 Lunch
14:15 Presentation of planning journey – part 2

  • Discussion
Aisling to facilitate
14:45 Identification of pain points and creation of How Might We (HMW)

  • Identifying further pain points within the planning journey
  • Creation of HMW
  • Organise the HMWs by theme
  • Decision on which/ ones to focus on
16:15 Lightning Demos; Great solutions from a range of companies

  • Each participant to do a 3 minutes demo
  • Capture good big ideas and draw on the whiteboard
Set homework for participants from councils to come up with demos / inspirations to present
17:00 Retrospective: what do we know, what more do we need to know, what do we prioritise tomorrow? Anja
17:15 Session close

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