“It’s the carpenter’s door that is always hanging off” – is a familiar aphorism in our home city of Liverpool. It points out perfectly how the work we do professionally is often the last thing we want to do in our own time. One red-hot project manager I know springs to mind, ruthlessly efficient in the office they are quite the opposite at home.

DCD is certainly guilty of this

As participatory designers, working to include stakeholders in the design and development process, we constantly champion the power and potential of social media to engage and integrate those who matter most to your organisations success; those being your customers, service users and staff. From helping NHS teams set up successful Twitter accounts, to building Instagram identities for custom focused businesses, we’ve always highlighted the digital capacity to connect, share and listen as a modern day essential. Yet despite our evangelism, encouraging others to embrace social media, DCD has done next to nothing on this front. It gets worse, for nearly fifteen years we did not have a website, even though we had built award winning platforms and content for our clients. On the upside all of our doors work perfectly!

The irony that our lack of digital presence represents is not wasted on us and though well rehearsed excuses abound what this post is about is not the reasons why we have not asserted ourselves online but how, little by little, we are trying to put this right.

At DCD we believe having a compelling vision is vital to achieving goals and making improvements. If what is wanted can be clearly seen, understood and valued we are all much more likely to reach the intended destination. That said we also know that a vision alone won’t guarantee success.

Recent studies have shown that it is not an inability to envision a positive outcome that we have difficulty with but rather the nagging self-doubt that questions whether we can actually do what is needed. The belief required to carry us forward is based not on what we say or think but on whether we have achieved the same type of behavioural shifts before. Ultimately it comes down to whether we trust in ourselves. We might be able to conjure up a mental picture of ourselves crossing the finishing line of a marathon but if we don’t have a track record that equates with training each day then its hard to believe we can do it. At DCD all our blue-sky thinking workshops are sandwiched with practical actions, translating aspirations into small attainable steps. Steps that focus less on the long-term behaviours that are wanted and more on replacing the downward pull of self-doubt with the upward growth of self-trust.

How this works in the real world is to choose a behaviour (it has to be something that is clearly visible to others) associated with what we want that is so simple and clear that we can’t possibly make an excuse not to do it.

For example, instead of running X number of kilometres per day to prepare for the marathon we can instead simply try walking around the block three times each morning. Actions as small as this might suggest that they could never make a difference, however as we keep with them, building as we go, we will start to establish a pattern of evidence for our own brain to observe. Over time three laps becomes five, becomes fifteen, becomes a jog, becomes who we are and an investment that is not only easy to continue with but one that is actually hard to stop.

At the point of writing this Gary at DCD has been endeavouring to upload one creative doodle per day to Instagram and Twitter for 100 days. Gary is a doodle-holic so doodling once a day was never going to be a problem and so it has started, DCD is ‘hanging its door’, applying our own aspiration-to-action methodology and crossing the social media threshold. There is a vision that we are working toward but for now what matters is the doing. Its not all been plain sailing but the process of taking action is revealing so much and opening up new ways of thinking about the goal, about social media and the identity of our company. In fact this, our first real blog post, is a by-product of this small step thinking and something we ‘small-step’ plan to continue.


Then why not…