Project Brief

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    Michelangelo – The Creation of Adam (detail) 1512

Michelangelo – The Creation of Adam (detail) 1512

Oncology: Exploring & Defining Better Communication |




As in all areas of the NHS good, clear and understandable communication is essential; around the diagnosis and treatment of cancer it is critical. This project, building on previous work undertaken between NHS Crosshouse, NHS Western General and the Product Design Department at GSA seeks to explore and define further that communication through the generation of four summer internships

An important part of this project will be to extend the collaborative approach of designing co-operatively between designers, NHS staff and users which is developing between the NHS and GSA. It will encompass both the design of information and experience as a vehicle to enable the key elements of co-production, understanding, sharing, partnership and clarity in the productive affordance of good, clear and understandable communication  

The project will also develop new collaborative connections with expertise in the field; in particular, McMillan Cancer Support and Crosshouse Hospital / UWS Paisley’s work on accessible information


• The project will run for 8 weeks over the summer period of 2017

• It will involve: 4 GSA student interns together with users and NHS staff at Crosshouse and Western General Hospitals and GSA staff

• It will include expert input from Crosshouse and UWS Paisley concerning issues of accessible information and McMillan Cancer Support


The project’s purpose is to understand, critique, propose alternatives and to prove out a redefinition of a specific A+R Chemo document, developed by McMillan Cancer Support, together with its associated communication experience(s)

In this specific focus will be on:

• The extent to which the communication is used: who, why, when, where how . . .

• The nature of the experience in which the communication is used; physical, interactional, virtual, printed, spatial . . .

• A fully documented, prototyped, proved out and conclusive proposal

• The construction of the redesign to a point where it can be reproduced professionally and deployed broadly within the NHS

• A conclusive definition of all the elements of the document and the protocols and etiquettes for its use   


Note: In the construction of the outcome it is to be understood that it may be, further, adapted and adopted as an exemplar for the redesign of further communication experiences and documentation across the NHS. 


Both during and at the conclusion of the project:

• Full and conclusive documentation of the design proposal as defined in the brief

• Construction and documentation of all interim and final presentations

• A running blog defining: process and progress which also affords interaction by core project members

• Engagement with and presentation at the Crosshouse / UWS Impact Event in Ayr on Thursday 27th July

A critique of all the outcomes of the GSA PD3/NHS oncology project as a speculation on the industry partners necessary to taken them forward into fruition

The Project’s Component Parts:

Part 1- Exploration:


• Understanding, review and critique of the existing McMillan Cancer Support documentation and its use

• Visits and interviews in Crosshouse and Western General Hospitals

• Critique, review and contextualising of the Crosshouse/UWS ai paper

• Review of other best practices

• Synthesis of understanding and insights  

• Formulation of outline opportunities

• Formal presentation of work in progress

• Definition and agreement for concept development



• Monday 26th June - Hospital visits

• Tuesday 11th July – Part 1 Presentation

Part 2 - Development:


• Development of agreed opportunities into concepts

• Prototyping and testing of concepts in both hospitals

• Refinement of tested concepts

• Retesting in both hospitals

• Detail definition of conclusive proposal

• Formal presentation of work in progress

• Production of presentation and associated materials for the Crosshouse / UWSImpact Event in Ayr on Thursday 27th July



• Tuesday 18th July – First testing in hospitals

• Tuesday 25th July – Informal work in progress review

• Thursday 27th July – Impact Day Ayr

• Monday 31st July – Second testing in hospitals

• Friday 11th August – Part 2 Presentation

 Part 3 - Conclusion:


• Production of conclusive documentation – leaflet, protocols and etiquettes

• Formal presentation of concluded work



• Thursday 24th August – Part 3 Presentation

Part 4 - Feedback


• Meeting with all stakeholders for feedback on the project



• Friday 8th September – Feedback Session

Core Team:

• For the NHS – Karen Bell, Grahame Cumming, Hans Hartung & Douglas McCormick

• For the GSA – Ian Grout

• As GSA Interns - Edward Fitzpatrick, Stephen Donnelly, Daniel McLaren & Johnathan        Hamilton


• All work produced will be freely published under a Creative Commons Attribution 4:0 Agreement (, 12/06/2017 – “the single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place” – George Bernard Shaw



Daniel McLaren