Diploma Support Day design – Summary

A group design with my Action Learning Guild to enhance our diploma Support Days, particularly focussing on Peoplecare.

People based designDesign Framework: design webDesign for a clientGroup design

Design period: 5th February – 5th March 2014

Client: My Action Learning Guild (ALG) – Deborah Simmonds, Phil Newcombe, Bill Smith and me

Why is this design included?

There were two edges that we set out to stretch in this design. Firstly attempting a small quick design, initially just one design day with a little time afterwards and secondly doing a group design where half the members hadn’t used the design web before. So there are interesting learning from those edges.

It is also another example of a different application of the design web and it was a very successful design in unexpected ways, which I would like to capture and share.


To build on our previous successful support day, to make an even better one and to create a model that we could use again as an ALG in the future.

Key learning

The immense power of silence and pause and its ability to rejuvenate and integrate.

Top tips

  • For certain designs you can use the design process as observation and learning for the design
  • Take time to ensure you are clear on what you are designing
  • Take time to prepare for group designing sessions if you have a tight time schedule

Design tools used

Design tools used

Skills practised

Skills practiced


Peoplecare – This was very much the focus of this design. The whole day was about supporting us all on our diploma journeys and integrating as much peoplecare in as possible was key to achieving this. I think we made a lot of really positive actions that supported this.

Earthcare – Earthcare is fairly integral to most of our ALGs, with local, handmade food to share, reducing transport emissions through sharing lifts and stacking multiple functions into the day and a lot of our discussions being on sustainable food production and low impact living. In this respect our Support Day was no different and we even integrated a seed swap in!

Fairshares – Sharing our learnings with each other is a lovely way of increasing their yield and benefiting everyone. We attempted to take an equal role in designing, although in practice some of us ended up doing slightly more. I would like to explore the implications of this ethic in designing further as I feel it is the one I am more vague on.


Principle - Use and Value Diversity Principle - Apply Self-regulation and Accept Feedback Principle - Obtain a yield Principle - Design from Patterns to Details


We specifically focussed on four principles in this design. I focussed on Design from Patterns to Details and I found it really useful for helping me to keep a handle on structure and processes without getting bogged down in details. I feel like it ties in neatly with the approach of identifying systems to meet the functions in the Integrate anchor point.

Design Process

Design Process Diagram

Writing up and Evaluation

I have written this design up now as we have done a complete design cycle, including implementing the design. It is a couple of months after the implementation and ideally I would have written it up slightly nearer the Support Day, but I did not manage to find the time to do so until now.

I have included most of the design in this write up. I haven’t considered the individual design sharing sessions as they were personal to the participants and I haven’t gone into great detail of what happened on the day, instead pulling out the learnings as I feel these are more valuable for others.

Evaluation tools used

Evaluation tools used


I am tremendously grateful to my Action Learning Guild for all of the support and collaboration throughout this design and my diploma so far. Also for the use of Bill and Deborah’s photos and Phil for letting us use his lovely house.

I am grateful to Peter Cow for sharing his knowledge on giving and receiving feedback on my People and Permaculture Facilitators Training Course, which I reused in this design. I am grateful to everyone else on this course for the inspiration and experience of practical peoplecare, which I used here. Diego’s session on the pause anchor point particularly springs to mind.

And I am grateful for pausing and the rejuvenation and inspiration it brings.

Now go to the full design write up.

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