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Collaborative Tools

Building New Models & Tools for Future Practice

GDE 730 Week 8

Thinking about Working in a New Way

Building a Tool - Process

The lecture resource hosted this week by Dan & Nana Parry from Tectonic, introduced a logical approach to building a new tool.  As a company who builds platforms that address identified problems in organisational practice, they discussed how to ensure a product is viable by delving in to the goals, users needs and efficiency of the proposal.  This requires significant research to identify who the audience are, the severity of the problem and the uniqueness of the client business.

The Parry's also suggested that asking your audience to evaluate the problem, gain their insights and consider their angle of view, e.g. global, local, remote.  A full cyclical process should be undertaken in which, scaling, marketing pitch point and measurement of effectiveness, facilitates further improvements to the model.  This could be seen as an ongoing process of collaboration with the client.

When considering the users, a strategy of breaking down the task in to smaller more manageble chunks will help to organise the platform effectively.  This could include creating smaller groups of users whose interactions with the platform could then be visible to other users and data captured could then be amalgamated or treated in isolation.  Cross group feedback creates another level of collaborative working. 

A good idea would be to write a scope document, the Parry's suggest.  This document would explain how the tool will function at all levels of engagement.   Considerations of permissions, editing, examples & multiple features are required.  A model design would then be produced as a rough framework, with user feedback sought at this point and amendment in response to the results.

Case Studies - Collaborative Platforms

The organisation are an interesting model for collective approaches to work.  They focus on using Design and Technology to create collaborative platforms for communities.  These communities range from schools to hospitals and seem to have a strong portfolio of work with local authorities developing their social and health services.  They very clearly focus on the community they are trying to raise the profile for, by analysing what services they offer people.  The technological tools they build support these groups to network and expand their reach in the communities they operate within.  This can lead to sharing best practice with similar organisations in other pockets of towns/counties/countries. use a service design process approach when building their platforms that involves discovery, co-design and communication.  The co-design aspect of their process is particularly interesting and vital stage.  Allowing the end users the opportunity to contribute and input their ideas strengthens the viability of the final outcome whilst also demonstrating an inclusive, confidence building, respectful organisation.  As a result, built outcomes are no doubt intrinsically innovative and forward thinking. 

Another creative example of open and inclusive outlook in business is Johnson Banks and their partnership with open source software company Mozilla.  The company were keen to build a narrative around being advocates for a safe & secure internet without barriers.  Johnson Banks helped rebrand Mozilla with a sharp focus on sharing the process with the public.  They launched initial ideas at staff conferences, created and posted on multiple blogs and sought public opinion from different countries about internet engagement.  The information generated by sharing the 'discovery' stage of the design process hugely influenced the Mozilla positioning and vision for it's future.


One of the common threads when looking at the case studies is the engagement with stakeholders during the design process.  Any person invested in the the company or organisation will ultimately want it to succeed.  Consequently they are more than happy to make suggestions, complete surveys, test products or services and speak out about their needs and wants.  Listening to that collective voice and taking that feedback in to consideration during the iteration stages, will result in a product that is fit for purpose.

How this relates to my proposed collaborative tool

My tool already has the elements of engagement with stakeholders, namely employees within a business setting.  The important aspects I need to take in to account is HOW the information is generated and used to support business and that the process is inclusive and safe for all users.

The crit this week has also made me realise that although the tool is designed to be purchased by business owners to identify impactful insights from their workforce, it is also vital to allow the workforce to lead on some topics for discussion.  I think that customers, as stakeholders, should also be factored in to the model.

1.  Imagine a digital tool or process to aid the collaboration for future working.

2.  Design & communicate your idea as a designed visual proposal in the format of your choice.

Workshop Challenge



made open, 

Johnson Banks (2017)Mozilla: Re-branding the Internet champion, [online]. Available at: (Links to an external site.). 

Dezeen, Morby, A. (2016): Johnson Banks edges close to completing Mozilla rebrand using open design process  [online]

Margaret Rhodes Design (2017) Introducing Mozilla’s New Logo, moz://a. Get it? [online]. Available at:

Falmouth University Lecture: Lecture-Dan Parry, Available at:

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