Design Principles:
Rational thinking for the Welsh housing sector.

Design principles help guide design. As a sector, Welsh Housing Associations can collectively make valuable decisions grounded by rational thinking.'

Managing a collective voice can often be the most difficult and important contribution to the design thinking process. It involves the collaboration of many minds, personalities and processes. Often there is more than one solution to a problem and one size does not fit all organisations. As such a diverse sector, how do we manage those choices in our decision making?

In rethinking the design process, the sector has the opportunity to change their delivery processes in a way that can add value to their customer base and end users. As part of this work, consideration of a set of design principles are needed.

What are ‘design principles? - Design principles are a loose set of rules that can help guide delivery by making valuable decisions that are grounded by rational thinking. Creating a set of universal principles will help to guide a business, steering it and its customers in the right direction and allow for the evaluation of decisions made.

A good principle...

Promotes solid decision making - Rather than reliance on an individual opinion, an evidence-based approach driven by data should be supported.

Helps to reduce resistance in decision-making - This is achieved by promoting a common point of reference and best practice.

Helps the audience understand why we do what we do

For maximum effect, these principles should be quotable and written in a format that is not confusing or overwhelming. A measure of success would be for someone external to one chosen housing association (HA) to reference a principle to another HA within the sector to help them make a decision.

The process used in the creation of these principles included…

R&D Workshops - Creating a collective of representatives from the sector to align aspects of existing principle sets to the sector’s business and user needs.

Collective Buy-in - As an essential stage of the development process, collective buy-in was encouraged and the principles openly discussed. With successful principles offering direction, not limitation; the objective was to create principles that providing helpful guidance to work from: not a set of rules that would dictate.