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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

The consultants fallacy

I’ve worked for a number of years as a consultant, and have worked with many other consultants.

The consultants fallacy is to leave people thinking they need to work harder, or invest more time and money in order to understand your ideas and methods. That they’re doing something wrong when they don’t comprehend how brilliant you are or can’t immediately adapt to your methods, processes, or ways of working. Continue reading…

Working forwards and working backwards

What we can learn from the military about “mapping backwards” and how this applies to service design

Wellington at Waterloo by Robert Alexander Hillingford

Wellington at Waterloo by Robert Alexander Hillingford

In my previous blog post I wrote about the differences between service design and business analysis. Continue reading…

Comparing service design and business analysis

As service design has become a more prominent role and way of working for organisations I’ve seen some confusion between ‘service design’ and ‘business analyst’ (BA) roles.

Service design and business analyst roles have some similar skill sets, but they require a different type of focus and mindset. Continue reading…

Working with design detail

Why prototypes can be more valuable than specifications or documentation

A good rule of thumb for designers:

If you need to get into a finite level of detail, make something.

Artefacts are most useful when they become the design, rather than a plan for doing the design or building a product. Continue reading…

Raise your expectations

A good rule of thumb.

Don’t accept the low expectations of your teams, clients, or the sector you work in.

Everyone has the opportunity to challenge what’s happening around them. This is whether you have permission to do so, or not.

Challenge people to do more with less. Continue reading…

The strange becoming familiar

How we quickly adapt to unfamiliar service models

I spend a lot of time in London and Manchester at the moment. Over the past few months I’ve started to notice the trend of new bike rental services — like Mobike.

I was in Manchester again last month and was reminded just how familiar it now feels to find these orange-tinted bicycles all over the city. Continue reading…

Quality conversations over process

Thinking about design as a series of conversations

Thoughts following this tweet, yesterday.

There is an often overlooked secret to making progress:

The quality of your conversations is as important as your process.

Process is an easier proposition to package, share and even sell to organisations in response to a set of problems that they’re setting out to solve. Continue reading…

Seniority in design

It’s no secret that design is an industry of inflated job titles, but what makes a designer ‘senior’?

For everyone, a certain level of professional practice is required.

Time invested in your craft helps shape what you do, but ultimately I think it’s about a maturity of how you think about and approach your work. Continue reading…

Digital as physical objects

In a world where so many of us carry screens in our pockets, does the world need more, and increasingly, larger screens in our public spaces?

Manchester Central Library

Manchester Central Library

This is a picture taken in Manchester Central Library.

There’s an increasingly amount of touch screen interfaces appearing in physical spaces which doesn’t feel very digital to me. Continue reading…

Estate agents. An example of a broken digital business model?

This article caught my attention last summer: one in five high street estate agents risk going bust.

We’re already seeing this play out with startups like Purple Bricks and HouseSimple establishing themselves.

There’s a lack of digital innovation from traditional estate agents. Continue reading…