Hot fifty – Mike Collier

One of the great legacies of the first Designs of the Time festival – Dott 07 – was that it has created local heroes, ordinary people in the North East of England who have achieved great things through design.

One such is Mike Collier, deputy headteacher of Newcastle’s Walker College of Technology, who won the Creative Citizen Award in a Dott 07 prize scheme organised by the team led by John Thackara and Robert O’Dowd. Collier was honoured for his commitment and tireless involvement in the college’s Our New School venture, created by students and staff with the help of London services design group Engine as part of the Dott 07 programme.

The college, meanwhile, was runner up for the Community Pro- ject Award for Our New School, which was born of the belief of the college’s headteacher Dr Steve Gator that it is important to design a service before committing to bricks and mortar.

The aim of the project was to set up a ‘social system’ within the school that enabled the users to create a brief for architects to design a new vocational learning block within the complex. This was achieved partly through the Our New School game, which was based on Engine’s successful Matchbox management tool and which helped to identify priorities.

The recognition received by Collier and the project is a great accolade to service design as it gains credence in the wider world.

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