helping organisations get to know themselves better.
I use a mixture of observation, video, photographic and interview methods to help organisations understand what's happening in their workplace, at their client sites, or in any place where their work 'gets done.'
Organisations find my approach particularly useful when they want to understand or change their culture, work practices or workspace, but want to get to grips with what's happening at the moment. I will come into the workplace armed with whatever is going to help me unearth the nitty-gritty of work - it might be cameras, video cameras, or just an old fashioned pen and paper to jot down what I see - and will use structured, detailed observations to feed back to organisations.
Often, the data I gather, whether it's videos, interviews, or photographs, acts as a tool through which the organisation can have conversations about what is going on. Seeing the workplace as I see it - through my strangers' eyes, helps them to recognise their problems and start to come up with solutions, which I can help with, too. Some of the settings I've filmed or observed in:
Case study #1: Improving patient experience of A&E waiting rooms
Working in conjunction with another consultancy, I observed the way patients 'waited' in A&E in two large inner-city hospitals. What was the environment like? How did they seem? With field notes, drawings, images and watching, I realised many of them were trying to 'burrow' - carving out a personal, safe space in a large, cluttered, noisy room. I suggested we needed to declutter and create zones, but the workers were sceptical. I gave them cameras and got them to walk into the building like patients, to sit and wait, to take photos of what they were seeing with their own eyes. They felt the same. The hospital reorganised the waiting space to create cosier spaces, took down the clutter of signs from the wall. Patients and workers reported feeling calmer and more able to cope with the hospital experience.
Case study #2: How do locals use cultural and creative industries in East London?
In conjunction with King's College London, space studios, RandomDance, and London Legacy, I observed and documented the ways in which residents, workers and passers-by in Hackney Wick and South Hackney could discover or make use of local cultural and creative places. We discovered through observations and detailed qualitative interviews with locals that cultural engagement is high, with an incredibly wide range of cultural activities. If we defined cultural activities to include key leisure pursuits such as shopping and football fandom, there was a huge interest in culture. We used the results of the research to put on trial events run by space studios and RandomDance to engage parts of the local communities who were not already engaged with arts or dance organisations. We used our observations and photographic images to explore the types of events to put on, and ways in which we could find new audiences. We recognised the value of the skate park, the A-boards outside coffee shops and nightclubs, and on the heavily-used notice board in the local greasy spoon.