Ex 1. Table of understanding

Understand your assumptions using this table as a guide. This is the first step to connecting deeply with the experience your service users have.

Think of the challenge you are working to solve. Take stock of

  • what you know

  • what you think you know

  • what you don't know

What you know

Add points to the What You Know column that are facts. For instance:

  • The Equalities Act 2010 definition of a disabled person is...

  • Universal Credit is paid once per month

  • Significantly more women than men attend our mental health service

What you think you know

This column will end up being the longest. Add all the information you are pretty certain is true in most circumstances. As a percentage, these are the things that you are 60-90% certain are true. They may also be assumptions that require testing. For instance:

  • Older adults who live alone are more likely to have mental health conditions (Dreyer et al., 2018)

  • Older people are more likely to live in poor quality housing or housing in need of serious repair, particularly when they live in socially disadvantaged areas (Airey, 2018)

But also, include points that you are pretty certain are true from personal observation:

  • Our services are most likely to be used by clients aged 50+

What you don't know

These are the questions that you really need or want to know the answers to. For instance:

  • What would encourage more older men to attend our mental health service?

  • Would people be willing to pay for our workshops?

  • How many people in Berkshire might use our service?

The process

You can use pen and paper to create a table with the three headings above and fill in the columns with your current understanding of the challenge you are tackling.

Alternatively, I have created a template on Trello that you can use: https://trello.com/b/5f4e70c0a2ae001c5c86b906/beezfedia1/recommend. Click the Create board from this template button at the top of the Trello board. Trello will make it easier for you to update the board as time goes on with changes to your understanding. It will also help you collaborate with team members if you need to.

Go further

Once you have filled in the table, label the cards with the tags

  • Important - for any points that are of utmost importance

  • Blocker - for any points that you need to find the answer to or solve in order to make any progress on your challenge

  • In progress - for any points that you are currently researching

If you are using my Trello template, I have pre-named the labels so you just need to add them to the relevant cards.

If you are new to Trello, check out the Trello getting started documentation.

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