Blueprints, Clues and Cues for relational practice

In brief

In this blog, Immy outlines the Relationship Project’s upcoming plans to develop practical tools that support the design and redesign of more relationship-centred places.

The problem

Here at The Relationships Project we believe that everything works better when relationships are valued: schools nurture happier, more successful students; GP practices achieve better, more cost-effective health outcomes; and businesses have more loyal customers and staff.

Whilst the evidence for relationship-centred practice is compelling, good practice remains tucked away in pockets. Instead, many of our services, organisations and spaces are defined by transactional interactions; shallow, cold, impersonal exchanges which compromise effectiveness and gradually erode the fabric of our society.

Sharing good practice

Through our bank of case studies, we’ve begun to highlight ways in which organisations and services can build on and leverage relationships to improve the outcomes that matter to them.

We’ve seen that there are lots of things – both small and large – that can be done to promote and enable a more relational way of working. We don’t need to reinvent the wheel – there are answers out there.

Over the coming months, we want to add to the bank of examples and explore ways of making good relational practice more accessible and actionable.

Blueprints, Clues and Cues

In the new year, we’ll be working with a handful of organisations with excellent models of relational practice to identify and bottle their magic into a series of Blueprints, Clues and Cues.

Blueprints

Some aspects of successful practice can be blueprinted and replicated relatively easily. A volunteer contract, for example, might work equally well in several locations. Blueprints are off the shelf templates that can be plugged and played in different settings, supporting more relational practice.

Clues

Other aspects of successful practice can’t be faithfully replicated but can offer clues which enable practice to be lifted from one place, adapted and applied to another. Clues about how to encourage interaction in dwelling spaces can be shared, for example.

Cues

Some situations require new ideas and bespoke practice. By combining the Clues with intelligent design, new materials can be created which enable people to learn from good practice and develop ideas that are locally appropriate. Cues bring people together to problem solve in their area or place.

In doing so, we hope to support a critical mass of organisations, services and places to become relationship-centred and, ultimately, to spark a revolution in the ways in which we design and organise the places in which we live and work, resulting in stronger, more resilient communities, more effective services and healthier, happier citizens.

Get involved

We are looking for enthusiastic partners with experience to share. Initially, we are interested in working with a small number of projects on piloting this approach. If you’re interested in working with us, please get in touch with Immy at immy.robinson@shiftdesign.org

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