The Role of Inspiration Sessions in Service Design

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“The future belongs to a different kind of person with a different kind of mind: artists, inventors, storytellers-creative and holistic ‘right-brain’ thinkers whose abilities mark the fault line between who gets ahead and who doesn’t.”

– Daniel Pink

We’ve been running iLab Inspiration Sessions for around a year now. It’s important to understand though that the iLab is more than the fortnightly #LabBlab. iLab is about sharing skills, training events, mentoring and coaching, creating networks for social change, social design drinks, collaboration and co-creation, jams and hacks, social change, organisational change and culture change.  With all that taken into consideration though, in many ways our inspiration sessions are the glue which bind the whole thing together.

iLab Venn - Organisational Change, Co-creation and Networks

At the end of 2015 we reflected upon the first 12 weeks of Inspiration Sessions, and we always planned to pause for reflection again, so in June 2016 we did just that. We felt it was important to take time to reflect on whether the sessions had been worthwhile and whether there was justification in continuing to run them. Overwhelmingly we agreed that on both counts that the answer was YES!

Several links can be drawn to sessions having had a positive and tangible influence on our Business Design work. We’ve used videos to set the scene at workshops, designed and prototyped a wellbeing program, created tools that have enriched project outcomes and used insights to influence decision making. It’s not always possible to measure a direct outcome, but by simply providing the space in the day to keep us up to date with current trends in social design and innovation, we know that the sessions are having an impact.

Over the past year we’ve included links to over 250 articles, blogs and videos in our #LabBlab reading lists, with each link being supplied by those of us who have taken part in the sessions. The diverse range of subject areas has provided a depth of conversation which has never once failed to ensure that when we leave the session we feel energised, inspired and have something to take away. We want to share this feeling so after every session we package up the links in a mail-out we call the ‘iLab Voyager Update’. We also bundled together some of our favourite discussion points of 2015 into a blog we called ‘Now that’s what I call #LabBlab 2015’.

Following our latest reflection we thought that we would share some more of our favourite links. So starting from 1st  August we’ll be tweeting one link each day for a week. We’ve got a little challenge for you – everyday make it your mission to grab a coffee, link with some  people you know from your team or office, read or watch the link and spend some time talking about it. If you can correlate the discussion to a project you are working on right now then that’s great, but if you can’t don’t worry about it. If the conversation has been good you’ll be the richer for it, so whether you are able to draw upon your inspiration today, or bank it for tomorrow, we are sure that you will find you used your coffee break well.

If you take the challenge we would love to know what you think. Why not tweet about it using the tag #LabBlab and open up your conversation to the world.

Simon Penny – @simon_penny

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