Written by Active Minds on Thursday the 2nd of February 2017.
Since 2010, we have been researching, designing, and developing activities to improve the quality of life for people living with dementia. We thought it was about time we introduced you to the people behind the product. This month we’d like to introduce you to our Head of Design, Alice Osbourne. Find out a little more about what Alice gets up to here…
What does a typical day look like for you?
Every day is different. Sometimes it’s anything from visiting a care home and testing a prototype, and sometimes its methodically working through artwork/packaging for a new product.
How much time do you allow for research before you start the design process of a product for Active Minds?
Depending on complexity – it can be anything from 4-6 weeks. We are always researching and looking for new areas we might explore, based on trends in the sector and feedback and ideas from customers.
We follow a 4-step process to our products. The first is research, the second is design, the third is testing and the fourth is delivery. During the discovery/research phase – what we are looking for is a clear need and an area of opportunity. This research is key to us understanding what areas and ideas we look to develop.
What we’re trying to explore is what possible areas are worth us developing products in. In order to achieve this, we want to know – what products already exist and what trends are we seeing? What are we trying to achieve? and can we make an affordable product within that area?
If we feel the area has opportunity for us, then the result of this is a design brief which then begins the next stage of design.
As a designer, what do you think is the most important aspect of your job?
The key element for me is observing and listening. It’s about being clear on what we want to achieve, and not too precious over ideas and instead make simple prototypes, and test them so we constantly learn from every prototype. Our partnership care homes and customers are integral in helping us to understand a clear need, so that we can then work closely with them to see what works and what doesn’t work so we can develop products that deliver an affordable, high quality solution.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
Being able to spot challenges/obstacles and design products that enhance people’s lives. There is nothing more rewarding than seeing a product make a difference to someone’s life. Also, seeing a product from concept to delivery is a really rewarding experience. Nothing looks the same to when it begins to when it is finished.