Cheltenham Design Festival 2019

The Open Design team will be attending the Cheltenham Design Festival to give a short workshop on contributing design to OSS.

The Cheltenham Design Foundation is a charity that promotes the benefits of creativity for all. They believe design can change the world for the better and transform lives. Some of the themes of the Cheltenham Design festival this year include:

What’s the role of a designer now?

Do we just design stuff, or do we use our design skills to change the way people think, in order to innovate and solve complex problems?

Can we design both things and thinking?

What’s the role of design?

Is design just what we see on the surface, or does it run deeper? Can design change the world, and how?

How do people, organisations and countries change their thinking on what ‘design’ is so we can address the needs of people and solve real problems.

Is design how it looks or how it works?

Open Design will be conducting a 2-hour, mini version of the full-day workshop for attendees of Cheltenham Design Festival in order to give a ‘taster’ of what design contribution to OSS means in the larger design ecosystem.

Workshop format


Teams of 5-6 people. Max 60 attendees for 2 facilitators. As many volunteers as possible.

Teams ideally constitute of UX, researchers, visual designers, UI designers, graphics designers, Interaction designers & a product manager/co-ordinator. Teams could double up functions but be careful of workload.


Teams may organize their own comms channels but there should be a place where we invite attendees to talk if they want to. For conferences, you can use the conference slack and ask to have a channel created. For independent events, you can create and distribute your own.

Attendees should be kept updated via email that they provided to the conference and/or the event ticket link.


Witnesses are people that have direct experience of the humanitarian challenge that the OSS tool is aiming to solve. In the test case of TenFour, these are people that have witnessed and lived through a crisis like a terrorist attack, flood or a hurricane. These witnesses are invited to talk at the event for around 30 minutes and strongly encouraged to stay for the duration of the event to be accessible to the designers working on the challenges so they can better understand whether what they’re building meets the needs of real people in these scenarios.

Psychological support.

Because of the nature of some humanitarian OSS projects, there may be need for a person with skills in counselling/psychology to attend to the event as a duty of care to the witnesses and the attendee designers participating in the event. We strongly advise that first hand and second-hand trauma is not undervalued as a potential.

Workshop Issue/s to focus on:

The workshop will focus on the OSS tool TenFour by Ushahidi and the designers will seek to solve problems that contribute towards these active issues for TenFour with a focus on the subject of Cheltenham/Charlton Kings flooding history and needs:

Check-Ins responses sorted by groups – A large head-count organization wants to use TenFour to check in with its employees/students/beneficiaries. They need to see responses to check-ins viewable by Groups, not just lists of people. It’s likely that we will need a toggleable.

Read Receipts: Display Sent / Received Status Of Messages For Recipients – After sending out a Check-In to people or groups, it would be useful to know who has received the message vs has not received the message yet.

View responses on a map – As an admin I want to be able to view people’s responses to check ins on a map. As an admin I want to be able to see all those responses which are unmapped.

Start at 13.00pm 

– Icebreakers & team forming.

  • Activity: Use a post-it board or stickers on name labels to catalog the skills in the group. What skills people want to learn, help with etc.
  • Activity: Group forming boards people put names on the board. It doesn’t have to be set in stone at this point.
  • Activity: Icebreakers What do you know about X event? About X issue? What do you hope to gain from Open Design?

13.30am – Immersion

– OSS product intro & where it lives.

– 30 mins witnesses speaking about the related incident/event. 

– 10 mins counselor/psychology background & reasons on why trauma is needed to be dealt with.

– Final team forming.

14.00 pm – Ideate & Prototype 

– Challenge definition. 

– File share, murals, google drive, slack, downloads, updates etc.

– Start work: Discovery & understanding exercises.

14.45 pm – Upload to OSS project space

– Wrap up work

– How to upload your work.

– Upload design files, explain work, etc.

– Evaluation forms.

– Follow up Design sprint info.

Scenarios to look at

Primary school teachers + students – Two primary schools are surrounded by flood water and several classrooms of teachers and children are stranded. Flood water has the potential to short out electrics and cause other dangerous activity. Teachers will have taken registers of students.

Pittville park – The park is likely to flood when there is heavy rain. There are vulnerable animals, children and elderly people at any point present in the park. How do people know how to get to a safe area or what to do when there is a flood event in the park.

Information based on data gathered from flood-map. Be aware this is one source of data/info so we will have a bias.

Pitville ark in Cheltenham, UK
Charlton Kings in Cheltenham, UK

You can attend the event by visiting the event page on Cheltenham Design Festivals website. All ticket sales are donated back to Cheltenham Design Foundation in order to make future festivals a success.

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