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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

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…

Blog post round up – Summer 2019

It’s been a busy year so far and my intention of writing regular monthly updates hasn’t materialised (my last proper update was back in February). I’ve been prioritising other things, mostly real life and family.

I am still finding some time to write, especially as part of my role as Chief Design Officer at FutureGov, so I thought it would be useful to collect together everything that I’ve written this year. Continue reading…

It’s okay to be a design leader

I’m encouraged by the number of people talking about how they are taking on more responsibility to lead design. Emma’s blog post was great about her decision to take on a new role, and Ale’s call out to bring together more people in lead design roles has had a great response.  Continue reading…

Stepping outside the design community

More and more I feel like I’m stepping outside recognised design communities to have conversations about design.

I think that this is important. For me, the practice of design is secondary to being able to translate design into something more impactful. Continue reading…

Comparing service design and business design

Just over a year ago, I wrote about comparing service design to business analysis. This was to highlight differences in skill sets, with an emphasis on how service design can bring a new set of approaches and focus to organisations.

In areas of government, and often in large or more enterprise IT-led organisations, service design is still seen at best as interchangeable with established business design functions. Continue reading…

Seniority in Design: personal responsibility

Seniority in design is about personal responsibility.

A disclaimer to start with. While everyone can take personal responsibility, not everyone has the same circumstances, privilege or types of choices to make when doing so.

But, whatever your situation, everyone can can take personal responsibility for their work as a designer. Continue reading…

Simple models

“Complexity in the work. Simplicity in how we approach the work.”

Following on from my previous blog post, I’m a big advocate of designing simple models, or frameworks (including working from first principles).

When we’re working to solve problems, it’s the simplicity and clarity of frameworks that can help us to work with subject matters that are inherently complex. Continue reading…