The Studio is an innovation team of seven people from different areas of Dublin City Council and with skills that include planning, architecture, area management, community development, risk management, communications and marketing. Our aim is to grow DCC’s capacity to innovate and improve the quality of our services. We do this by bringing people together to test new ideas and prototype new ways of working.
The Studio set up a staff ideas competition to make the process of staff innovation more open and inclusive. Over the last three years more than 530 ideas have been submitted by over 220 people from across the organisation. A number are being implemented resulting in cost savings and efficiencies including a patented retro-fit device for cleaning gullies, integrated staff swipe card, pathfinder for ambulance call outs, new green spaces and greenway walks and ‘beta projects’ for testing out ideas on street. At the moment 2013-2014 shortlisted entrants are trialling their ideas and we hope to have their results in the coming weeks.
Much of our work is process driven with workshops developed to encourage participants to explore alternative options. We use service design methodologies in re-designing current and new services according to the needs of our customers and staff. Services are co-designed with all people involved from customers to the front line staff and the manager of that service. The Studio co-ordinates the process and coaches the participants in service design. So far, we have used this methodology in projects in our Finance Department, Culture Recreation & Amenity Department and City Architect’s.
To better understand the user experience of the city, the Studio also takes a bottom up approach to public engagement by carrying out street conversations to inform new plans such as the Public Realm Strategy and North Lotts & Grand Canal Dock Planning Scheme. The purpose is to explore how people feel at a personal level, giving a voice to those who might not engage in formal consultation. We have found that people are generally very positive and engaged about their community and city.
The Studio also works with external partners. From September 2012 until June 2013 we worked with postgraduate students from the Institute without Boundaries (IWB), Toronto, and DIT on the Dublin Project. The project brought together design students and DCC expertise and aimed to re-imagine services and develop models for collaboration with citizens. Proposals included a ’Valentine District’ and a ‘Dublin dashboard’ for better understanding of big city data.
The Studio is working to improve access to city data through Dublinked; an ideas and information sharing network which connects the Dublin region’s four local authorities with universities, companies and entrepreneurs. The www.dublinked.ie Open data portal makes local authority and other public data available in open formats, which can then be reused by others to create new applications, products and services.
In July 2013, The Studio organised Startup City in collaboration with the Dublin City Enterprise Board, the Digital Hub and IWB. The co-creation event brought together businesses, local authority staff and business support agencies during two and a half days to explore solutions to eight complex issues that affect the experience of startups in Dublin.
The Studio Team