Weeknotes Week 033

How do you buy something that doesn't exist? How do you offer something that there is no market for? This is the territory we've been mulling over at HDL-HQ, where strategic design is the something in question. Jussi Sorsimo from Culminatum stopped by for lunch and described how he has been thinking about the same issues with regards to service design – expanding both the capability and the market for it here in Finland.

One facet of this problem is that governments generally don't have the tools they need to procure this kind of advanced design work. Renovating procurement procedures is a fundamental challenge that many governments and large organizations face. This is a challenge Emily Thomas knows a lot about from her time at the UK Treasury, as I had the pleasure of learning last time I was in London. Having the same conversation in two different contexts, reminds me that some of the most exciting – and powerful – changes are waiting in the most mundane aspects of our lives.

Speaking of procurement, the Invitation to Tender for our new website has been sent out to the three best teams that applied. This is exciting as it means we will be able to begin that work in earnest in a couple weeks. All in all that's about a month and change worth of paperwork before we can sign a contract and get to work.

Marco has been visiting a couple of conferences around town as a keynote speaker talking about the expanded role of design. Justin has been in Brussels meeting with people at the EU. I've been in Ruoholahti preparing the itinerary for our trip for November.

Justin and I will be visiting designers here and there to interview them, their clients, and collaborators about their work. This is going towards an initial crop of case studies that look at the efficacy of design as a strategic tool which helps make sense of complicated problems and works through the implementation of solutions. When it comes to defining what we mean by strategic design, we'd like to do it through example rather than just talk. After this trip, we'll be in a much better position to do that!