My Survey continued with Client Interviews – I felt that while I had a reasonable idea of what my design was going to be, and an idea of what I thought were the main things I’d need to consider or include in any design work, there were a group of people who I definitely needed to have a more in-depth conversation with.
I had to consider the question – “who are my clients?” in this design. When I thought about it, there were four key ‘stakeholders’.
- Abi – because she owns the field 50% and would most likely be spending just as much time there and involved in delivering the plan to as great a degree as anyone.
- Abi’s sister – because she owns the field 50%. She would have a view about what happens to and on the land. She lives in America with her husband, so I thought her opinions might be coming from quite a different angle to Abi’s.
- Abi’s Mum – because in order to access the field, you have to walk across her property – there’s no other way except to effectively trespass across neighbouring farmers’ land. Anything that happens in the field will mean imposing in some way, even if small, on Abi’s Mum – and it will affect her view.
- Me – ultimately it’s me that’s going to be putting in a lot of the work to develop the design and maintain the results! So it was important to consider myself as a key client, and do the ‘interview process’ on myself alongside others.
I then thought that there were another set of stakeholders who would be affected in some way by the plan:
- Neighbours – because they would have their ‘view’ changed by the planting of trees in the field
I had thought long and hard about whether to do this design just on the ‘consultation process’ for the orchard planting plan. However, I decided that this was probably overstating the Peoplecare ethic in any design. I knew it would be possible to do a design that was just based on ‘community engagement’ but I also felt that this was familiar territory from my day job. I also felt there wasn’t really enough material there to make a holistic design and really get to grips with all of the ecological and design principles. I also felt a little like, “hang on here Rich, we’re talking about 9 x 1-2 year old trees sitting in 2 acres of farm land that used to be an orchard and requires no planning permission, and you know people are largely signed up to this idea”… so I moved to the design being the full orchard plan at this point… the switch of thinking is documented here… but I digress.
As a preliminary to the face-to-face ‘interviews’, I sent out a questionnaire using SurveyMonkey, which contained some opening questions about the field and it’s potential future use. I was very keen to open the discussion as wide as possible at this point and not just focus on Apple Trees – I wanted to understand what the Clients felt about different ideas and about the field itself.
I chose not to send this to Neighbours (Stakeholders not clients!), as the questions were specific to having some level of ownership or actual connection to the field, not just being affected by it. I chose to speak directly to neighbours on site when I had the opportunity instead.
The results are what follows and the answers to Question 1 are presented above. Again, in the spirit of ‘Survey and Observation’ at this point I was not seeking to ‘judge’ or analyse the feedback: