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Ben Holliday is an experienced design leader, writer and speaker. This is his blog (started in 2005). If you’re new to this site, Ben has published a playbook for design linking together many of his blog posts from the past 5 years. You can book him to speak at an event, get in touch or follow him on Twitter.

All blog posts in design

How to use service patterns

How to use service patterns is something that I know a number of different organisations are starting to think about. This is a conversation that I’ve seen prompted by the LocalGov Patterns library that we’ve been working on at FutureGov with Essex County Council. Continue reading…

Open is inspiring

There was a lot of interest in my recent blog post about how to work in the open in government. I explored some of the reasons why I think that working in the open is important. In this post I want to explore why working in the open can also be inspiring. Continue reading…

New models for service ownership and leadership

With more organisations working with service-oriented approaches to delivery in the public sector, this is increasingly leading to questions about models for service ownership in how we design, develop, maintain and improve whole services. Continue reading…

There’s no such thing as a bad idea

As I did at the Create Leicester conference last week, I often start talks by saying that ‘design is a good idea’.

The line between good and bad ideas is very thin. A bad idea in the hands of the right person can easily be tweaked into a good idea.

— Twyla Tharp, The Creative Habit

I’ve seen this through my experience as a designer. Continue reading…

Seniority in design: superpowers

Build on your limitations, make them your strengths.

I really like the work the Home Office design and research teams have taken the lead on, illustrating the importance of accessible design. The statement that first caught my attention here was:

We are all only temporarily not disabled.

Continue reading…


It doesn’t have to be complicated.

Most strategy is finding the clearest, or best available route forward for making progress (rather than standing still).

It means knowing where you want to be, and what the goal you’re working towards looks like. Continue reading…

Human-centred design, organisations, power and control

Shortly after publishing my blog post about different types of design focus, I shared a tweet/quote from last week’s Techfestival in Copenhagen (via. James Cattell who was at the event):

“Human-centred design scares [some organisations], because their entire model is based on concentration of power and hierarchy.”

My initial reaction to this? Continue reading…

A house without windows

Inspired by the Twits – Roald Dahl 

I’ve always believed that that working in the open is important.

This week I spoke on a panel about collaboration. My main reflection was that collaboration and learning works both ways. Progress is often the result of how we open up ideas, conversations and make new connections. Continue reading…

Make it happen

A general observation from work I see happening across the public sector:

The quality of creative thinking, communication, visual and content design limits the effectiveness of the process or practice of designing services. There’s also a lack of implementation as the result of service design work.

Continue reading…

Types of design focus

The language we use and what we mean when we’re using a design-led or based approach is important. I recently shared my thinking about different types of design focus on Twitter.

These are my definitions. Continue reading…