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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.

Latest blog posts

The roundup. May 2018

About the boy

Zac John Holliday

Introducing Zac John Holliday.

May was all about the boy.

Zac was born on the 17th May – 9 days late but everything went smoothly this time around. Zac is our fourth child and joins his 3 older sisters in the expanding Holliday household. Continue reading…

Service mapping and different types of maps

Written by Ben Holliday. Based on work developed with Kirsty Sinclair and feedback from the FutureGov design team.

There’s a question of why designers make so many maps. We love maps. But there can be confusion or misunderstandings about why we’re making them or how they can be useful to service teams. Continue reading…

The roundup. April 2018

A busy month that included the Easter break and a family break to Somerset. In the meantime I’ve been mostly working in London, and we also wrapped up our FutureGov work in Glasgow.

Writing

I hit a sweet spot with writing this month.

I made a conscious effort to finish some things I had in draft, setting aside some dedicated time over a weekend. Continue reading…

The power of being informed and the problem of being uninformed

Oxenholme Railway Station

Oxenholme Lake District railway station, UK

The biggest factor in a point of crisis is the quality of information available or how informed an individual is.

Information is power. It can enable you to act independently and to get help. It’s also reassuring to feel in control and empowered when dealing with a difficult situation. Continue reading…

Bias in design

Why all design is flawed when you’re looking for magic

I often get asked about bias in design. My answer:

All design is flawed. But buried in each action, each small step that we take and every single decision — even when our best intentions are biased, mis-directed, or even driven by individual ego — is the ability to make magic happen.

Continue reading…

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. 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…

The roundup. March 2018

A quick update this month so I keep to schedule.

Overall, more travel throughout the UK. I’ve mostly been travelling between London, Glasgow and Newcastle. With a couple of visits to Manchester in between.

I also went further afield than usual and flew to Milan for 24 hours, before dashing back for my daughter’s 8th birthday celebrations. Continue reading…