A quick design for work: using permaculture in the office

Yes, I’m back.  Did you miss me?  I know you did.  Let’s move on…

I’m going to start my reintroduction into the heady world of permculture blogging by posting some surveying I did for a design I am using at work.  It only just struck me that I could use permaculture at work and not just in my self-employed shenanigans.  I am a bit slow like that…  Yep, this is marketing.  I love marketing now, which is good because I have figured out that the main job that you do as any self-employed person is marketing (not actually doing the job).

I work part time at the University of Brighton as ‘Faculty Project Officer’ for Science and Engineering and one of my jobs for this year is to overhaul the case studies on the various parts of the websites that the Faculty  owns.

Just a bit of explanation – anything in [square brackets] is an action.  Mike is the colleague that I am working with on this.  Zoe is the former marketing officer who has now gone off on maternity leave.  Bhavik is someone we’re going to make a video of.   Here’s my plan:

Case studies Design: Survey stage


What am I surveying?

1)      What do I want/need to do (vision)?

2)      Where am I now?

3)      How have other Faculties/other Universities done this?

4)      Input/output analysis (i.e. what will I need to do this/what do I have already?)

5)      Placement of case studies (where could they be placed for maximum impact)

6)      How can I design sustainability (in the sense of it running itself) into this system and what kind of maintenance will this require once implemented?


1)    What do I want/need to do?

Using the information gathered from surveying our existing case studies (already done), and a survey of how other universities/companies etc use case studies, we will design and implement a rolling programme of producing written/photographic case studies and video case studies.  These case studies will focus on telling students and former students stories – from how their interest was first sparked in the subject to where they are now – and showing how their course at the UoB helped them to get there.

The case studies will be of existing students, existing staff and alumni [anyone else?] and once we have these in place we will monitor them [how] so that we know which are having the most impact and design our future work in accordance with this.

2)     Where am I now?

Before Zoe left, I did a review of the case studies that we had on all of the websites [Action: Find the testimonials spreadsheet] and I removed the out of date ones.  I have an existing list of people whom it would be good to write case studies about [Action: write up testimonials hit list].  Mike and I have been working on getting ready to make video case studies.  We have got the right equipment (camera, lights, etc) and I have been undergoing training (from Mike and from Media Services) in how to use it/make videos.  Mike and I have been talking about the type of videos we would like to make [Action: write up ‘vision statement’ for this- including generic questions] and are just starting work on our first video which we hope will showcase our ideas [Action: continue process of designing video with Bhavik].

3)     How have other Faculties/Universities/Companies approached case studies?

[Action: Research how other Faculties/Universities/Companies have approached case studies.]

4)    Input/Output analysis

What goes in?  

–          Mine and Mike’s time (and therefore the University’s money)

–          My writing, photography, videography and storytelling skills

–          Mike’s photography, videography, storytelling and digital media skills

–          Staff, student and alumni time

–          [what else?]

What comes out?

–          More students getting recruited (main output)

–          I get to do something I am good at (writing)

–          I get to learn about things I am interested in (photography, videography)

–          I/we learn about corporate storytelling – possibly with the idea of sharing these skills once developed

–          Use good case studies and video case studies as a funnel to get people to send me ideas, rather than me go scouting for them all the time – will require creation of VERY GOOD CONTENT

–          Staff, students and alumni enjoy (and find it useful) to be featured as a case study

–          [what else?]

5)     Placement of case studies

[Action: Research and discuss with Mike where case studies should be placed for maximum impact]

6)    How can I design sustainability (in the sense of it running itself) into this system and what kind of maintenance will this require once implemented?


I want to design this process on the 80/20 principle so that 80% of the work goes into setting up the system and after that, only 20% of the work is needed to maintain it.

–          Action: Do a workflow audit of a case study and work out where the lion’s share of the work lies and then work out ways to design it out  (example workflow: FIND SUBJECT – LIAISE WITH SUBJECT AND DEVELOP IDEAS – GET IDEAS SIGNED OFF – TAKE PICTURES/DO INTERVIEW/MAKE VIDEO  – POST – MONITOR SUCCESS – USE MONITORING DATA IN NEXT CASE STUDY)

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