Spode-Works
News

ACAVA Studios: Spode Works Open Studios With Bitjam

28 Sep, 2017

Next weekend at Bitjam we will be opening our doors to the public for the next ACAVA Studios: Spode Works open studios event. Each year a selection of studios welcome members of the public to come and see their work, holding demonstrations and workshops for people to take part in. Bitjam are hosting code workshops to demonstrate coding on a beginner level, so anybody, including children, can join in and learn on the day.

The 43 studios at ACAVA Studios: Spode Works are making a valuable contribution to the development of the Spode site, as a cultural centre for creative industries and the revitalisation of Stoke town. The studios are home to artists of traditional art forms such as painters and ceramicists, but with added contribution from more modern and technological expressions of art such as web developers and graphic designers.

As well as our code workshops, Bitjam are using the open day opportunity to showcase the Spode Works weather station which we’ve developed. The weather station is a digital machine which will tell you the weather conditions and can be found in the Bitjam studio, number 22. We’ve added an audio twist to make it relevant to the area, and the upcoming Stoke for UK City of Culture 2021 bid, by programming the weather station to deliver weather updates in “Stokie” dialect.

Further to our contribution to the city of culture bid, we’ve also been working on a computerised system that uses Stoke regional dialect to create poetry. The system is called ANNA and as part of the open day we’ll be putting our neighbour Fred Phillips to the challenge of creating equally as compelling poetry. We’ll have more details about “Fred Against the Machine”, information about workshop times and how you can help us to develop ANNA in our next blog post, out tomorrow.

ACAVA Studios: Spode Works open studios are next Saturday 7 / Sunday 8 October.

destiny-project-staffs-uni
Co-production

Bitjam Represent Destiny at Staffordshire University Learning & Teaching Conference

30 Jun, 2017

The annual Staffordshire University Learning and Teaching Conference saw Carl take to the stage as the UK partner representative for Destiny last week.

The event is an opportunity for the University to show ways in which it’s moving forward to embrace digital technology and other ways of innovative learning. The Erasmus+ Destiny MOOC project is the latest digital technology project that the institution has become involved in so it was exciting for us to share this with the attendees.

Can Moocs combined with study clubs help bridge the transferrable skills gap reported by employers?

Carl presented the aim of the research to education staff and students at the event, introducing the project to those who will benefit most from its resources.

The talk discussed the challenges of the project – for example can open source MOOC’s provide solutions for the health and social care sector? Research findings from the project so far, such as the design success of the first mobile e-learning platform that was actually tested on nursing and midwifery students at the University, were also shared with the audience.

Carl pointed out that the future of the project would be a focus on improved virtual interaction for the mobile user. Mobile e-learning has been the focal point for Bitjam and Staffs University, as the main users are students with common access to mobile technology. A demand for fast communication and the ability to learn on the go are pivotal to the development of a student’s education in 2017.

Bitjam’s agile development and co-production working techniques fit perfectly with the requirements of this project as we were able to work efficiently and to a timescale that was in line with the international partners. If you would like to learn more about our innovative ways of working and how they might suit your own project, you can contact Carl here.

team-work-agile-development
Co-production

Agile Development and Co-production

27 Apr, 2017

In the second part of our co-production series we take a look at Agile Development, another productivity tool that assists in changing the work based mindset and encouraging a more efficient approach to organisational development and changes.

The Shift From Sequential Processes to Agile Methodology

Agile methods encourage teams to build quickly, test what they’ve built and iterate their work based on regular feedback. It was introduced as a modern alternative to the traditional waterfall model.

The waterfall model is a sequential design process, in which progress is seen as flowing steadily downwards. It was used in software development processes, through the phases of conception, initiation, analysis, design, construction, testing, production, implementation and maintenance. Because it was created in a time when no formal software development methodologies existed, this hardware-oriented model was simply adapted for software development

The agile process takes a different approach. Gathering requirements, planning, designing, building and testing are conducted simultaneously. Starting small in the discovery and alpha phases make way for growing the project into something large-scale.

Benefits:

  • Productivity will improve as teams will quickly establish any challenges in certain areas of the project, since all elements are started together
  • The focus on the end users contributes to speed, value and efficiency as the team continuously have the experience in mind

Challenges:

  • Strong communication is required between stakeholders and business owners
  • The business needs to be able to adapt to changes within internal processes with minimal disruption

Co-Production in Agile Software Development

To recap from our previous blog post, co-production creates a collaborative eco-system in which all parties receive a balanced “give and get”.Similarly to agile development, it contributes to service provisions, which can have both benefits and implications. Working with end users, for example clinicians, patients or carers who can contribute regular ideas and feedback from the very end of the UX can speed up process. Distribution of power to citizens means sharing of the decision making process could actually cause delays in project productiveness, as contributors may be unable to agree upon certain elements of the tasks.
The adoption of co-production within an agile framework has some powerful benefits, and is a great example of the changing mindset within the public sector. It also provides a morale boost for teams, as they are able to achieve their goals efficiently and effectively. This is why bitjam favour such working techniques, as everybody involved – from the teams to the end user – can enjoy better ways of working. In the last of our 3 part series on co-production, we’ll take a look at a case study within an NHS department that trialed co-production and scaled agile development, and the benefits and results they received.