Why do all insight decks look rubbish?

Posted on by Isolde Roche

I've written a piece for The Latest, C Space's newsletter. We all know insight decks don't need to look bad...


Why do all insight decks look rubbish?

by Isolde Jennings

Picture the scene: you’re 24 years old, you’ve been tasked with producing the cover of a prize publication, working with a trendy design agency. That was me, a few years ago. And the challenge that stood between me and print was design, and budget. There wasn’t enough money for the type of design and finish they wanted for the cover story.

Our editor said ‘Just tell them we’ll run without it’. So I did… The next day I got a call from my contact at the agency, a man renowned in the design world.  He told me the cover design was integral and couldn’t understand why we didn’t see that. Without it, things didn’t make as much sense.

This has stayed with me throughout my career. I’m more often found crafting presentations than magazine covers now. But the challenge remains - when you’re up against the clock, it’s tempting to put design to one side.

In my evenings, I teach at Central Saint Martins, working with professionals who want to present their work in more interesting and innovative ways.  There I met Michael Cooke, Strategic Development Director at Marie Curie. He works tirelessly to spread design thinking throughout the organisation, and is seeing the effects. We spoke recently on this topic and he reminded me that

We all get used to seeing the same old charts and going round the same arguments in a well-worn groove. Applying design thinking combined with good presentation helps us to come up with new ways of getting people involved in the discussion, and coming up with better solutions.’

Cooke has recently applied this mindset to a workshop with the executive team.

‘We put data visualisations and quotes up on the wall, organised thematically. We also had a four-foot high diagram that we drew by hand. The ends of people’s lives are inherently unpredictable, but it's difficult to get across what that means for us as a provider of nursing care in people's homes. So we visualized the granular data we had in relation to visit requests: the visits that nurses actually made, cancelled appointments etc. This very quickly showed how random the patterns are, and how often they change,…(displayed) in a way that we couldn’t have with a simple sentence or data table.’

Cooke is part of a group convened by Marie Curie, the Design for Care Collaborative, which includes doctors, designers and members of Marie Curie's Expert Voices group, who have experience of end of life care services. As professionals concerned with developing insight and strategy thinking, Michael and his team are paving a compelling way of bringing our stories to life.   

You can read about the great work they are involved in here.

And more information on the the course I teach is here.

The London Library after the Blitz

Posted on by Isolde Roche

This photo amazes me. A bombed out library in the center of London during the blitz. Now libraries have to provide free wifi, automated check in and check out and gaming stations to entice customers. I must admit I can't remember the last time I borrowed a book from a library. Working in publishing means I have books readily available but if I ever have kids I will certainly be bringing them to my local library for story time and readings. 

London Library After the Blitz.jpg

Top 5 sits in London: No. 5

Posted on by pmd

As my some time flat mate Dave always says: there's nothing like a good sit. In honour of these words of wisdom (and to mark Dave's departure to Cardiff), I am doing a run down of THE top 5 sits in London city. Starting fittingly at no. 5 we have the W5, the best bus route and certainly one of the top 'sits' North of the river. The W5 runs from Archway to Harringay Superstores, traversing the palatial hills and wooded avenues of Crouch End and includes a rather thrilling descent down a hill of San Franciscan proportions (not recommended on a hangover day). Travelling by bus really is the best mode of transport one can get, Safer then a bike (unless one is taking the 29 past mignight through Camden), much more intersting then Tube and greener then the car, what more could you ask for? I urge you all to top up that Oyster and see the world/crouch end on the W5 and pop into Hot Pepper Jelly for one of their famous sandwiches on the way.

Wedding Shoe?

Posted on by pmd

These beauties from good 'ol KG would look lovely with my wedding attire. Anyone fancy buying them for me? No?

Wedding Attire

Posted on by pmd

Having longed to be invited to a wedding on my own since I was about 6, 2 have suddenly come along all at once. Insert cliched weddings are like buses etc sentence here. Now I have the two pronged issue of 1. what to wear and 2. who to bring. Is it still an executable offence to wear white (even if it is really cream and is terribly short. And has tassles. Oh and is slightly see through). Does this apply if it is a civil partnership and involves 2 grooms? This refers to wedding numero uno between fellow CSM alumni Kevin and his lovely Dr. lee. Finally does it apply when wedding reception is in an East End warehouse? I know, my 2 weddings are terribly modern. Regarding date I have decided that finding a man who looks good in a suit and is willing to spend 2 hours in my company is more probable then me ever getting married so I have instead settled on a much more attractive option of flat mate and all round good time girl Ursula. She looks good in a dress and won't drink all the champers. Oh and if somebody would like to buy me these clodhoppers I would really appreciate it. x


Bank Holiday mark 2 – weddings, canal boats and Grandmaster Flash

Posted on by pmd

Bank Holiday part Deux was eclectic to say the least. Beginning with the celebrations on the 29th, our household of non-brits decided to cast our patriotism (and republican views) aside for one day and party like true royalists. Emily got the ball rolling with heart shaped American pancakes that went down a storm. In the afternoon, we held a garden party in our little patch of wasteland, but first watched the ceremony at one of our friend’s warehouse around the corner. Verdict on the dress: a little safe me-thinks but will age gracefully, like Kate…sorry erm Catherine herself. The weather pleasantly surprised us all and a bunch of our favourite friends came back to our place for a traditional British knees up of cucumber sandwiches, Pimms and Gin, LOTS of Gin. The party was rounded off by an acoustic performance by More Like Trees, an up and coming band, that to my ears manages to mix Flamenco and Drum and Bass quite beautifully. Just on a side note, we are not accustomed to having bands play in our garden often but shall be taking bookings from now on. Next day I soothed my hangover by walking with friend and all round great person Ruth along the canal to Little Venice. Here we fraternized with the west London folk at a festival of canal boats. Unfortunatly we did find locating a pub to be a bit of a task, but eventually managed to procure a pint. Finally Sunday involved braving the Camden Crawl festival to see Graham Coxon, my teenage Crush number 1. He hasn’t lost any of his magic and managed to be both confident and self deprecating, nerdy and self knowing. We danced the rest of the night away, being shouted at by secret DJ Grandmaster Flash and then finally succumbed to tiredness when Delphic approached the DJ booth at 3am. Queue to leave was when one of the band left said DJ booth to snog random blonde girl up against the wall. All in all, I felt like a teenager all over again.


Posted on by pmd

This Easter Weekend us girlies decided to take a jaunt down to Brighton. Having to fill as much food and drink into the few short hours we were there proved to be some what of a task, but one that we did not shy away from.

Brighton in the sun really is beautiful and seeing the sea again was refreshing and reminded us of home. Sniff. Some would indeed say Wexford was the Brighton of Ireland. Without the pier, cool shops, windy lanes and hip gay scene. Actually not like Brighton at all really but nonetheless the fishy aroma did spark a few memories.

Amongst the many meals we ate that day kipper sandwiches and rasberry bellinis were the highlight (We do like to mix it up).

I wonder if Brighton in the winter would hold the same appeal? Next time I play to don some Fred Perry and live out my Quadrophenia Fantasies. Brighton Rock anyone?

Antwerp & Brussels

Posted on by pmd

I know, I know, what is the point of having a blog if one never posts things to it? How do regular bloggers do it I ask? Sadly I never seem to have anything worth noting in my life but for once I actually have managed to get enough content together to get one meaty (well…rather pescatarian) post written.

Last week I was lucky enough to find myself in Belgium on a research trip with work. Between meeting with various inspirational design agencies in Antwerp and Brussels I got to see some sights and partake in a wee bit of shopping (please do not tell the manager of Halifax, Bloomsbury S’il vous plait).

As I finished the book I was reading on the Eurostar on my outbound journey (an awful thing to happen to the single traveling lady) I spent much of my time off wandering on my own and taking snaps with the trusty Crackberry.

Antwerp city is about the size of Dublin and best explored on foot. I took the map in –hand that my wonderful hotel supplied and set off bravely to put a days work in. Walking the city was the best thing I could have done. I especially loved the harbour area around the new Strom Museum where I sampled one of the best coffees I have ever had at a place called Breor Bretel. Here the helpful owner also directed me to the best shopping area Kammenstraat and this is where I found myself at 5.30 once I had finished my last meeting. With half an hour of unadulturated shopping to fit in I did what every self respecting girl would do and bought a pair of shoes in the 1st shop I stepped into. Then it was onto sample some of the many vintage stores dotted along the street. PSSSSSSSST London Vintage Stores such as Rokit et Al…Antwerpian Vintage stores CLEAN their merchandise. Yes CLEAN them – that equates to no horrible vintagy smells, no moth ball odours and no scarves that smell like they have been used as bedding for my long departed terrier/jack Russell cross Sooty (Yes I do mean used by her after she was long-departed). Here I purchased a super soft silk polka dotty beige top for a purse friendly 11 yoyos. I will never buy vintage in London again.

Next day I found myself in Brussels where mum was meeting me to spend the weekend. Brussels is the ideal place to bring your mother. It has just the right balance of beautiful architecture and beautiful beer to keep both mum and daught sufficiently happy. We spent Saturday and Sunday wandering the quaint streets, having coffee, cakes , ice cream and arguments. They weren't awful arguments mind, just cute arguments involving my mothers refusal to admit to her blindness whilst map reading and my refusal to admit to having to map read at all. We made up over a chocalat chaud in the very 1st Le Pain Quotidian (I know unfort I didn’t take a photo) and all was fine and dandy.

One of the highlights of the trip was going to the Horta Museum – it’s tough to get to but well worth the trek. This museum isn’t actually really a museum but the Art Nouveau Architects family home. Growing up in this space must have been like growing up in a fairy tale, it really is the most enchanting house I have ever had the pleasure to be in.

The Go! Team Buy Nothing Day.

Posted on by pmd

I really like this. Go Team one of the best bands I've ever scene live. I was wearing a bright red wig at the time also...Good times.