Getting Started in Design with Gerry Scullion

Andrew Francomb 'Diving deeper into the transitionary period between university and work and it’s direct impact on mental health'

John Carter
February 16, 2023
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Andrew Francomb 'Diving deeper into the transitionary period between university and work and it’s direct impact on mental health'

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In this episode I chat with Andrew Francomb from the UK about their experience graduating from Lancaster University, and their experience of landing their first job. We chat about the impacts on Andrew’s mental health during this period of his life, and also how Lancaster help support their graduating students help find their feet.


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Episode Transcript

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[00:00:00] Andrew Francomb: It's about designing experiences that are, are positive for people. So even with, if you did a pure marketing degree, you know you have that service design mindset, and I think as long as you have the empathy to think, can I improve this with someone, can I make it a better experience for them, then I think that's the key starting point for design.

[00:00:29] Gerry Scullion: Hello and welcome to Getting Started in Design on this is eight cd. My name is Jerry s Scalian, and I'm a designer educator, and the host of this is eight CD based in the wonderful city of Dublin Ireland. Now in this episode, I chat with Andrew Frank from the UK about their experience of graduating from Lancaster University and their experience of landing their first design.

[00:00:50] Gerry Scullion: Now we chat about the impact on Andrew's mental health during this period of his life, and also how Lancaster help support their graduating students help find their feet. It's a great [00:01:00] episode. Andrew was marvelous, and I know you're gonna enjoy it. Let's jump straight into the episode. Well, Andrew, great to have you on the Getting Started in Design podcast.

[00:01:09] Gerry Scullion: Um, you know, we've connected before when I did the last round of, uh, I dunno what it was, the, the 30 minute mentoring sessions, which I did, um, I think was last year, maybe, maybe even the year before. But, um, maybe start off and tell us a little bit about where your currently working and what your role

[00:01:26] Andrew Francomb: entails.

[00:01:27] Andrew Francomb: Yeah, sure. So, uh, my name's Andrew Frankham. I'm a service designer. I currently work, uh, in civil service office for national statistics. So, A lot of it is, you know, really encompassed by the idea of, you know, I think the core idea of service design, of, you know, making things better for people, making services and interactions better.

[00:01:46] Andrew Francomb: Mm-hmm. , um, a a very broad sense. So that's, you know, you know, largely what we do. You know, we try to do research, try to visualize things and help people understand what, you know, what we can do and, and ultimately, you know, uh, pass on some value [00:02:00] through that.

[00:02:02] Gerry Scullion: Um, whenever we were speaking before, um, we were talking a little bit more around your journey into your current role.

[00:02:10] Gerry Scullion: Um, so for people listening, maybe talk about, uh, what you studied in university or did you go to university and, um, what, what was that journey like from coming out of, um, university and finding a job? Was it, this was, this was not your first job.

[00:02:27] Andrew Francomb: No it wasn't. No. Um, so I suppose my, you know, the journey to get to where I am, I suppose starts in, in high school ultimately, you know, and I think as early on as that is when you need to start thinking about your career, which is, yeah, in many ways a really difficult thing to, to contest with.

[00:02:42] Andrew Francomb: Cuz you know, you, you're still learning and developing as a person and you have to make these decisions. pretty much as, you know, as early as the age of like 15 to sort decide what you, but what were you like,

[00:02:53] Gerry Scullion: what were you like back as a, as a teen? Were, were you always, cause when I speak to service designers, they tend to have [00:03:00] this, uh, curiosity, um, from a very young age.

[00:03:03] Gerry Scullion: Describe what you were like in, um, is it called secondary school in the uk or is it

[00:03:08] Andrew Francomb: high school? Yeah, high high school. Yeah. Pretty much. Pretty much that. I think for me, you know, I, I was, I was interested in a lot of things and most of them landed on the kind of creative side of things. So I hated maths.

[00:03:19] Andrew Francomb: Um, I was interested in science, but I wasn't the best at it. Um, but then when it came to things like, uh, English literature, uh, graphic art as one of the things we did, um, and, and those sorts of subjects, I found myself more in. And I think even before that I, I was fascinated with cars and car design in particular, and that was something that really drew my interest in, you know, sort of the creative side of work.

[00:03:44] Gerry Scullion: I noticed there's a, a model car behind you. Um, is, was that one of your aspirations to get involved in automobile design? ?

[00:03:54] Andrew Francomb: I think so. Yeah. Like, you know, for some people, uh, interesting cars is about kind of the, the engineering and the [00:04:00] technology side of things. For me, it was very much kind of the aesthetics, you know, PlayStation one, GranTurismo, uh, all these hundreds of cars to look at and try.

[00:04:08] Andrew Francomb: And I think that was what was really a big interest for me. And, uh, my parents tell me stories of how I was very young and able to sort of identify a car by the roof or something like that. You know, just the, just the appearance of the car really. Yeah. Yeah. That's always been something that's been with me, and I think that's, you know, that's taken different forms.

[00:04:25] Andrew Francomb: So in, in high school I started thinking, you know, potentially car design, um, or even architecture as an interest. And, you know, that sort of started, um, and that was one of the, you know, kind of initial directions I took. And then, so towards, you know, college, I did graphic art in college, English literature, um, it, uh, and history as.

[00:04:45] Andrew Francomb: And again, it's at that point, you know, things start narrowing down, funneling into clinical. Yeah. What, what could this realistically be as a degree? Um, and so with that, you know, I sort of went away from architecture, not, didn't have the mathematics or engineering skills. Uh, went [00:05:00] also towards, you know, the idea of kind of creative advertising, uh, media and communications, uh, maybe a bit of journalism.

[00:05:07] Andrew Francomb: And then ultimately landed in my degree in marketing and design at Lancaster Univers. So it's a joint major. It's really interesting for that reason. Going back

[00:05:16] Gerry Scullion: to like, I, I'm, I'm fascinated at this moment in time in my own life about how people become designers, how, how their journey into it. So this podcast at the moment is, is the podcast that I, I love the most.

[00:05:29] Gerry Scullion: I've got, I've got several podcasts that people probably know, but what were you like in terms of, um, we kind of covered off what you were, like, what you were interested in. In school, what was the conversations like around exploring design and was there somebody that was pivotal in putting you on the tracks to get to that destination?

[00:05:54] Gerry Scullion: I'm, I'm really interested to see, because what tends to happen is, In my experience [00:06:00] anyway, someone is really good at drawing or painting and they're gonna go, oh, they're, they're Artie And, um, they're really good at art, so they should go to art college or design school. And that, that's like the, the key, the gateway to get into.

[00:06:14] Gerry Scullion: The whole kind of world of design. And we know at this age that's not necessarily true. Some of the best designers I know didn't go to design school. Many of them in fact don't or haven't. So I wanna understand what your journey was like, um, way back then, if possible.

[00:06:31] Andrew Francomb: Yeah, for sure. I think one of my, my biggest influencers was definitely my dad.

[00:06:35] Andrew Francomb: Um, he was always, uh, really great at fine art, so kind of painting, um, you know, good old natural kind of canvas and, and fine artwork. Um, photography as well. He was massively into and I absolutely followed him on that cuz I just absolutely love photography myself. Mm-hmm. , um, And so his, you know, his interest in a breadth of creative work was, was what kind of gave me that initial interest to kind of go and start [00:07:00] exploring things.

[00:07:00] Andrew Francomb: Um, okay. And then my, my teacher in high school who was also my teacher in college, um, she sort of encouraged me with the kind of, the really kind of core principles I think, of design and, and they're things that I'm still trying to learn to this day cuz I'm, I'm quite. I can be quite, I wanna be specific with a lot of the work that I do.

[00:07:17] Andrew Francomb: So I'm often kind of a bit of a perfectionist. Doesn't mean that I do things perfectly, but that I kind of obsess a bit too much over the details of getting things right. Um, and she always kind of encouraged me to just like, you know, put something on a page. Just be creative. Just, you know, go with that flow and also be prepared to take that feedback as well.

[00:07:35] Andrew Francomb: Cuz I think particularly, uh, outside of design, I think sometimes it can feel like, Not necessarily an attack, but maybe a bit of stress when someone says, oh no, I think we should do it like this, or maybe you should try that. Whereas in design, I think you need to be a lot more open-minded about that. The idea that it's not a negative when people kind of give you feedback, it's, it's part of that process to keep iterating.

[00:07:58] Andrew Francomb: Yeah. [00:08:00]

[00:08:00] Gerry Scullion: So do you mind me asking what age you are now? I'm 25. You're 25. So what would you say to, uh, the 15 year old Andrew? If you were able to go back in time, um, and give them advice, what would you whisper in their ear?

[00:08:14] Andrew Francomb: Oh, many things. Many things. Um, I think, I think for me it's about being a bit more creatively open and free, and I think that was what's, you know, what I probably struggled with a lot from a design perspective in just kind of getting a bit messy, you know, getting the paints out, just trying things differently and, and finding that kind of creative vision.

[00:08:35] Andrew Francomb: And I think also maybe. Slightly counterintuitive cuz I think part of it got me where I am today, but perhaps being a bit less of a perfectionist about kind of the whole planning of, of these next steps to take. Hmm. Cause I think sometimes that can take away some of that kind of creative freedom and the, the fluidity that you can have as, you know, kind of naturally interested in design.

[00:08:55] Andrew Francomb: I think when you start thinking about career that can sometimes interfere [00:09:00] with that and then kind of become a bit.

[00:09:03] Gerry Scullion: Yeah, it's great that you, you had a parent that was open-minded enough to allow you the freedom to get into something that was relatively creative. Um, was there other people, in terms of friends, like what did your friends study?

[00:09:20] Gerry Scullion: What was your clique like in school? Um, how would they have described you? Would they have described you? The arty one or the creative one, or how, how might they describe you?

[00:09:30] Andrew Francomb: Well, I think, you know, it varies from friends to, to people who weren't as friendly would probably call me, you know, kind of quite nerdy.

[00:09:37] Andrew Francomb: Um, a bit of a, a SWAT is the word they'd use. Uh, towards the north. It's a very English group. , yeah. Swat, um, yeah, especially, yeah. Trans fitness analysis. Exactly. Yeah. Yeah. Not a swot ana analysis, sadly. Um, but yeah, I think, you know, some. I think I was quite, you know, studious, but at the same time, uh, used to like making people laugh, like being silly, maybe a bit [00:10:00] hyperactive, especially in primary school.

[00:10:01] Andrew Francomb: Um, and I think what was really interesting about the, the friends that I had now that I think about it, is there was a huge breadth of, of interests and, and fields they went into, you know, so some of them are, have gone into law, some are, uh, in filmmaking and direction, uh, some are in, uh, real estate and things like that.

[00:10:20] Andrew Francomb: There is a huge variety and I think that was a, a great thing to have, I think. Okay.

[00:10:25] Gerry Scullion: So you went to Lancaster University and you, you studied marketing and was it design? Marketing design. So in that course, um, can you tell me a little bit more around what the expected outcomes were, as in, um, when you entered into the, the course?

[00:10:42] Gerry Scullion: Was there maybe a, an interview process or a step-by-step process? Can you talk to that? Can you remember that far back?

[00:10:50] Andrew Francomb: Yeah, absolutely. I was, um, I was really interested in, in, in how that worked when I, you know, when I was joining cuz there is such. A frantic kind of [00:11:00] panic when it comes to applying to universities.

[00:11:02] Andrew Francomb: You know, you have these, these four choices that you make. You've got your, you know, yeah. Gotta make these decisions. And for me, um, like Lancaster, I saw as kind of a stretch goal. Um, so they, I think they needed, uh, AAB as the requirements to get into, into university. Um,

[00:11:17] Gerry Scullion: a a b you're gonna have to, cuz this is a different setup Oh yeah.

[00:11:21] Gerry Scullion: To like Australia, America, and Ireland like, And my, my wife is, is British from Northern Ireland. And may maybe talk a little bit more in the schooling piece where you have to pick the subjects when you're 15. Cuz I, I learned about this when I met my wife and I was like, oh man, that's very early to, to siphon down and to to focus.

[00:11:41] Gerry Scullion: So can you tell us a little bit more around that? Cuz people might be confused when

[00:11:45] Andrew Francomb: they're, listen. Yeah, for sure. And, and the things have changed even since I was in, in high school and, and, and, uh, and college. I think it's by a number system now, I think from, from one to eight or something like that. Um, but back in my day, as they say, um, it was just a, [00:12:00] you know, A to F or A to e I think it was called, cuz we didn't wanna give people an f, um, or a star to.

[00:12:08] Andrew Francomb: And you know, when you're about 15 years old, as far as I remember, you know, there's comes a point where you say, right, we need to decide what GCSE you're gonna do. GCSE are basically the high school qualifications. So equivalent is like American SATs as they call it. Um, and you do, I think about 11, or I think some people do 12 GCSEs.

[00:12:27] Andrew Francomb: So you have core subjects that you have to do, so like English, maths, um, and I think a, either a combined science or triple science as they. Okay. Um, and then you get a selection of a few more, um, options. So, you know, at that stage it's about trying to pick, you know, some of your favorite subjects if you can, and then other ones that are majoring your strength.

[00:12:46] Andrew Francomb: Yeah, maybe beneficial in general. So I did like a, um, it was a type of baccalaureate thing where I did, uh, history in Spanish as a gcse. Um, okay. So even at that stage, there's a lot of tactical planning about, you know, giving yourself the best chance, uh, [00:13:00] going forward. And

[00:13:01] Gerry Scullion: then, so that eight A b as you say, eight ab, what does that mean?

[00:13:04] Andrew Francomb: I, I was, uh, slurring my words. It was a, a b, um, so two, two A's and a B, basically, uh, at college. Oh, . So, um, yeah, so in college, so by the time you finished GCSEs, uh, In the UK or in England, at least you go to college before you go to university. So that's a, a key thing, I suppose, for international people is that, you know, you finish high school at, um, at 16, and then you do about two years in college.

[00:13:32] Andrew Francomb: Um, so you do A levels, um, and with those, you sort of, you, you are honing that, that focus again, even more so in my case, I went from doing like 11 GCs. To then doing, uh, four, um, as levels, which is just before an A level, and then three, three A levels primarily. Very

[00:13:53] Gerry Scullion: cool. So, um, when you went into Lancaster University, um, what, what kind of design was it?

[00:13:59] Gerry Scullion: Cuz [00:14:00] you know, there's, when you go to university, there's usually visual communications or there's industrial design, there's now service design degrees. Was it a general design, um, in terms of, you touch on lots of different parts of design. Maybe talk to us a little bit more around that.

[00:14:17] Andrew Francomb: It was really interesting actually.

[00:14:18] Andrew Francomb: You know, so for me, uh, you. If I just go back a little bit to, you know, kind of my ultimate choice, it was, um, you know, I, I really like the look of Lincoln for its advertising courses and they have a really great creative department. Um, and I interviewed there, um, and got an offer and I went to Lancaster as well.

[00:14:36] Andrew Francomb: Uh, and, and sort of saw the, you know, that there's, the way their degree worked was separated. So it's a, I think it's a joint major or a dual major, which means okay. The marketing degree is taught separately from the design degree. . And I think for me, um, it was really, uh, it was actually quite difficult when I first joined because I was sort of expecting a kind of a, a combined mix of these two things.

[00:14:59] Andrew Francomb: [00:15:00] But really they were sort of taught by two different schools within the university. Um, okay. So, so marketing

[00:15:05] Gerry Scullion: school and then the design

[00:15:06] Andrew Francomb: university. Exactly. Yeah. So there's, there's Lancaster University Management School, and then there's the, the Lancaster Institute for Contemporary Arts. So, okay. These two things.

[00:15:16] Andrew Francomb: Initially when I came in, I was, Thrown off by that separation and the, and, and the kind of the mix. Yeah. And in addition to that, as you say, the, the, the, the actual design, I think I came into it expecting graphic design, visual design, you know, the sort of, um, you know, what I was almost aiming for of kind of creative advertising, so copywriting and, and, and all that kind of visual design.

[00:15:39] Andrew Francomb: Cuz I think what I was best at at the time was kind of photography, writing, um, and then kind of things like Photoshop and, and things like that. So, , I think at that age, I think again, I just came in and thought that's what it'll be. Yeah. And what was really interesting is it wasn't that at all, you know?

[00:15:57] Andrew Francomb: So throughout most of the degree we didn't [00:16:00] necessarily use Photoshop or InDesign. I think it was a thing that you'd use, you know, in, in completing some of the modules. But our first kind of, you know, some of the main modules we did were sort of design thinking, um, ideation, um, I'm trying to remember my module titles now.

[00:16:15] Andrew Francomb: Um, and. What happened was, I think, you know, as we get towards the subject of how did you end up in service design, it was sort of by accident because the course itself actually was really well suited for thinking about kind of experiential design, service design and, and kind of completing, you know, even design ethnography and things like that.

[00:16:37] Andrew Francomb: So it it, it ended up being something that I thought was, was really interest. So you,

[00:16:43] Gerry Scullion: you studied design research as part of the, the degree, is that right? Yeah,

[00:16:48] Andrew Francomb: we did do research, um, as part of it. Um, we, we had some cases where we had, you know, sort of a, a scenario based kind of situation and, and towards the end of the year we had kind of a live, kind of real, real client that [00:17:00] we had to go and find.

[00:17:01] Andrew Francomb: Um, that's pretty cool.

[00:17:02] Gerry Scullion: Yeah, it's pretty cool because most of the. the degrees out there that, that I see. Um, they don't have the marketing side of things. And I, I've gone through a kind of a hate, hate, love experience with marketing over my career where I used to always kind of, you know, grit my teeth. So any marketers listening, uh, I don't mean any offense.

[00:17:24] Gerry Scullion: I now kind of totally appreciate you a lot more, but, Looking at it from a, a service perspective, you're, you're looking at the pre-service experience and you're understanding the, the ability to market a service and having both sides of that is, uh, is a, is a huge strength, I feel. Um, especially if you can understand the language from a marketing perspective.

[00:17:45] Gerry Scullion: Can do you, um, huge favors. Um, I would've appreciated that in my early career as well. So that's, that sounds super interesting. Um, can you remember what it was like when you finished your degree? Okay. Because there's [00:18:00] people out there at the moment, Definitely listening to this podcast who might be studying marketing.

[00:18:06] Gerry Scullion: They might be studying things that don't have the title of design in their, in their degree. Okay. So they're kind of going, I'd like to get into design, but I don't wanna go back and do another three or four years and studying. , is that, is that something that you went through yourself? Like where, you know, you didn't have a, a pure degree, you had marketing in your title as well, and did it hold you back or did it set you up for success more?

[00:18:31] Gerry Scullion: Well, what do you think?

[00:18:33] Andrew Francomb: I think it's a really, uh, interesting subject. You know, for, for me, um, you know, it was a deliberate choice to pick a degree that was quite broad in its title, you know, to, to think about marketing and design it, it covers a lot of different bases. And part of the reason for that was, uh, a sort of a fear of coming to the end of the degree and, and maybe not being able to get a job out of it.

[00:18:52] Andrew Francomb: I think that's probably the most common fear is, is you know, you, you absolutely finish uni and you can't get a job. And I think that fear was very much present for [00:19:00] me. It was, it was really, you know, difficult to contend with. Um, and I think that, you know, your question there about whether you look at a job that has design in the title or, or has something about service, you know, service design or, or anything like that.

[00:19:12] Andrew Francomb: Mm-hmm. , it, it does put a lot of people off because I. You know, even in businesses that have service design jobs, not all of them actually know what service design is or what it can be. And I think that goes for people applying to that. It has such a broad spectrum and a broad appeal. Um, you know, an example I can give from my experience is that,

[00:19:32] Andrew Francomb: Well, in marketing, you know, we talk about the, you know, the experience economy, you know, and, and, and that's a, you know, a, a really interesting subject. But it, it immediately gets to, in a sense, service design cuz it's about designing experiences that are, are positive for people. So even with, if you did a pure, uh, marketing degree, You know, you have that, that kind of service design mindset, and I think as long as you have the, the empathy to think, you know, can I improve this for someone?

[00:19:58] Andrew Francomb: Can I make it a better experience [00:20:00] for them, then I think that's, that's the key starting point for design.

[00:20:04] Gerry Scullion: really good. Uh, I love that answer. Um, when you were coming out of university though, did you have to get a portfolio together? Can, can you walk me through that, that journey? Cuz I know you're on your second job at the moment, at the, the Ns um, in the uk.

[00:20:20] Gerry Scullion: What, what was the experience like of finishing cuz you would've finished in May, presumably of a year and you know, the jobs kind of open up a little bit more in September time. What was that like when you finished, what did you do? Did you go and get messed up in Spain for a couple of months?

[00:20:37] Andrew Francomb: No, I didn't.

[00:20:38] Andrew Francomb: I didn't, I didn't have the money. That was the, that's the classic thing, you know, when you, you, you get a job and you have money, but no time or you don't have a job and you have time, but no money. It's the, it's the classic balance, the pressure of like, you

[00:20:48] Gerry Scullion: know, what's gonna happen at some point you need, you need to knuckle down and get a job.

[00:20:52] Andrew Francomb: Yeah, yeah. So for me, you know, one of the, one of the huge helps to, you know, give a shout out was the careers advisor. So if, if anyone is. You know, at [00:21:00] university and, and, and that, or I think even outside university, there are services like that. Speaking to someone who kind of understands the space that you're in, um, is a really useful thing.

[00:21:09] Andrew Francomb: And, and they, they will sort of advocate for you and help you build that process out. as far as kind of like portfolio design, that's something I, I did take on as, as best as I could. And, uh, you know, used, used even my photography work and things like that to bring it in. I think definitely having some creative material to bring in is a, is a really useful thing.

[00:21:30] Gerry Scullion: Did the university help you with that process? Was that something that, That whole kind of transition period from university into employment is a, is a huge gap and um, I'd love to learn more. You mentioned there about a career advice. Was that a service that was provided by Lancaster University? Yeah.

[00:21:51] Andrew Francomb: It, it, it, it is.

[00:21:52] Andrew Francomb: And, and the amazing thing about that as well, and I I think this is probably true for, for other universities, but for, for Lancaster is that, um, [00:22:00] that service is there for, for life, essentially. So even after you've graduated, even if it's three years down the line, you could still go back to them and say, oh, I'm looking, you know, looking for a new job or looking for this and, and get advice from them.

[00:22:11] Andrew Francomb: I haven't heard, so making use of that,

[00:22:13] Gerry Scullion: Yeah, that, that's, you say that's in every university, not the ones that I've spoken to. . Yeah. So that's, that's a super cool service to have. Um, it's kind of like an alumni group or a support group or a career group, is that right?

[00:22:28] Andrew Francomb: Yeah, pretty much. It's, you know, it, it, it's part of that kind of, I guess that package there.

[00:22:32] Andrew Francomb: And, and I think that's, that's really useful. Um, and, and again, I, you know, for people who maybe are listening, don't you, Don't have a career advice service. I think even just speaking with a, a mentor or tutor of any kind, whether it's someone who's given lectures or classes and just sort of running ideas by them, I think that's a really great help.

[00:22:50] Andrew Francomb: You know, just yeah, sort of lean on those people around you to sort of say, you know, what do you think of this? How would you do that? And, and you know, that, that kind of gives you also the set, you know, the stepping stones [00:23:00] for networking and kind of having those relationships outside of, outside of uh, uh, univers.

[00:23:05] Andrew Francomb: So

[00:23:05] Gerry Scullion: when you finished your, your degree, um, it wasn't so much a goodbye, it was more like, uh, best to look, let me know if you need anything kind of approach. Was it?

[00:23:17] Andrew Francomb: I think so, yeah. You know, I've, it always felt like the door was open, um, to, to get support and, and things like that. Um, and I think, you know, definitely, you know, when, when I finished my degree, you know, even before I finished my degree, it was chasing down a job as, as quickly as possible and, but also making sure it's the right one.

[00:23:33] Andrew Francomb: Yeah. And. Definitely people should be aware of, you know, a a as much as it might go against, you know, every instinct in your body. Don't just accept the first job that you're offered if, if you are offered a job, okay? Make sure that it's a right fit for you as well. Um, because I think you, you can easily sign yourself up for an experience that's either gonna be really, really difficult.

[00:23:55] Andrew Francomb: Um, or how did you do that also? What's that? Sorry.

[00:23:59] Gerry Scullion: How did you do [00:24:00] that? How, how did you make sure that it was the right fit

[00:24:02] Andrew Francomb: for you? It's, it's difficult to say. I think maybe coming into it with a, with an idea of, you know, what, what you're looking for, you know, in a, in an ideal circumstance, you know, so whether it's, you know, geographical location of where you're working, um, you know how close you might be to people that you know, or, or whether you're looking for a brand new experience in a brand new place.

[00:24:22] Andrew Francomb: you know, you know, show that you kind of deserve a good salary as well. I think particularly for graduates, for people who are now professionally qualified and probably have the most up to date information on the industry, I think graduates are really undervalued in, in all industries pretty much.

[00:24:40] Gerry Scullion: So did Lancaster help you with that process in terms of knowing what your worth?

[00:24:45] Andrew Francomb: Absolutely. Yeah. So, you know, getting an idea of kind of AV average, average graduate salaries, um, kind of based on location as well, you know, the percentage of, you know, students that get a job within the first year and, and, and, you know, kind of giving those statistics as reassurance. [00:25:00] Cuz again, I, I firmly didn't believe I was gonna get a job out of university.

[00:25:04] Andrew Francomb: I just had that mindset. Um, I suffer with anxiety and all sorts of different, uh, mental health issues. , having people around you that can sort of ground you in that reality that look, you know, things will work out or that, you know, we can work together on the CV and, and things like that. Give you that support.

[00:25:21] Gerry Scullion: It's, I, I, I, I think, um, it's easy for us to say like, um, that every university does that, but that sounds remarkable. Um, so whoever is behind. That, that initiative at Lancaster University. I tip my hat to you because it's a really, really powerful thing because, um, I know I went through that experience myself and people have listened to this podcast, knows that it was a really tough time mentally for me trying to, the pressure of getting a job.

[00:25:51] Gerry Scullion: What happens if I don't get a job? Do I just accept a job in a shop, stay there and then run the risk of end up working in a shop for five years and then all of a sudden, , [00:26:00] it's five years since you did anything in design. They're all real conversations of how do people still to this day. So it's really.

[00:26:09] Gerry Scullion: You know, heartwarming to hear that that service exists at Lancaster University. So, um, fair play. Um, now you, you mentioned the first job that you had at a university there, but we didn't go into it in a little bit more detail. Um, you said you had a process and you, you stressed the importance of, um, making sure that you don't accept just the first job that you, you got a job That's right.

[00:26:30] Gerry Scullion: Fit. Where was your first job? I was a flight fit for ,

[00:26:36] Andrew Francomb: so I, you know, so I, I, I'd done, you know, an interview down in London and, and sort of had sort of, sort of an offer and, and kind of, you know, was, was looking at the idea and, and I also had an interview up in North and in, in North Wales, and it was in automotive engineering and, That was something that, you know, as I said earlier, interested in car design and anything in the automotive industry that really sort of excited [00:27:00] me.

[00:27:00] Andrew Francomb: Yeah. And you know, I had the interview there and immediately felt, you know, this, this was awesome. You know, and suddenly, you know, Bo actually both of the interviews that I did, uh, before getting a job were in the automotive industry, but there was something there about being a bit closer to home, the salary being more competitive, um, all of these kind of key components.

[00:27:18] Andrew Francomb: And also the prospect of travel as well. And in that first role, You know, massively challenging, but it was also, you know, hugely useful for me. Um, I think it's, it's a cliche to say that sometimes, but you know, it was a really, really difficult job that, that the, um, it was sort of in a, a, a company that didn't actually have a marketing department.

[00:27:38] Andrew Francomb: It was a marketing job. Um, and so I ended up doing all sorts of different things across all sorts of different kind of aspects of marketing. and it gave me experience, first of all, you know, I, I wouldn't have my second job if it wasn't for my first one. Yeah. Um, but it also gave me that kind of idea of, you know, what, what I really want.

[00:27:57] Andrew Francomb: And I think what I really wanted was to, to do work that [00:28:00] was in a way that was, you know, sup, you know, good for my mental health. Um, yeah. But also felt like I was doing something that helped people. And that's exactly where service design comes in. This idea that, you know, building something. For people, not just for, you know, uh, some industrial need or something like that.

[00:28:18] Andrew Francomb: That really kind of appealed to me.

[00:28:21] Gerry Scullion: I think the, the catchment for service design has definitely increased over the last decade because we're seeing more people from other disciplines enter. The field, and it's fantastic because as you know, service design is a team sport and we need people with lots of different skills and lots of different strengths.

[00:28:41] Gerry Scullion: So, um, I think we'll see more and more people like yourself, um, enter the field of service design, which is, which is great. Now, I mentioned there about, um, you know, 25 year old or 24 year old, Andrew, going back to 15 year old Andrew, what would you whisper into the ear of the, the Andrew who [00:29:00] was finishing in Lancaster University?

[00:29:02] Gerry Scullion: Um, what advice would you give to that, that version of Andrew way back then when they were looking for the job? What would you do different or differently?

[00:29:09] Andrew Francomb: I think for me that, you know, the key thing might be, uh, not, not sacrificing your mental health so much for work or for a job. Um, cuz I think even the best jobs in the world have really, really difficult, you know, times.

[00:29:25] Andrew Francomb: And I think as well, you know, if, if you are an empathetic person, which I think many designers are, cuz that's, that's a lot of what the role is. It, it can sort of take over quite badly. And, you know, for a bit of context, I did, I took a year out of university during my degree. Sort of midway through had to stop.

[00:29:42] Andrew Francomb: Okay. Cause my mental health was, was just Yeah. In a terrible place. It's too much. Um, yeah, absolutely. Um, and, and the sort of the perfectionism and, and everything I was describing earlier about, you know, having to have your career on track by 15, you know that that takes its toll and I think you're on a sort of a nonstop journey from the point of.[00:30:00]

[00:30:00] Andrew Francomb: From high school slingshot to college and then through university, and then it's like you've gotta get a job straight away. So I think making more time for my mental health, I think allowing myself to fail more. You know, when we say fail is a really dramatic word, but. Yeah. Failure, sort of, it should happen and it does happen.

[00:30:17] Andrew Francomb: And I think dealing with that is a really key thing that we need, especially, you know, in, in your personal life and as well as as a designer, you know, failure is part of that process. Yeah. Um, so I think looking after your mental health is something I can't stress enough. And that's something that, you know, I, I'd say to any, you know, well, anyone listening to this podcast, any person you know, I'd.

[00:30:37] Andrew Francomb: Really kind of think about that and, and make sure that that's kind of high up on your agenda. Cause I think without that you don't have you, you know, you can't do anything really. Um, well,

[00:30:47] Gerry Scullion: absolutely, absolutely. I'm with you a hundred percent on that. Do you mind me asking what, what you're doing now to, to maintain your mental

[00:30:54] Andrew Francomb: health?

[00:30:55] Andrew Francomb: So I think one of the big things, and it's part of my, you know, sort of my New Year's resolution [00:31:00] almost, is to, you know, to, to try and. I think just relax a bit more about things. I think put in perspective the, you know, the importance of our jobs. I think our jobs, you know, are the majority of our lives, you know, our day-to-day life.

[00:31:14] Andrew Francomb: So it's easy for it to suddenly take kind of precedence over anything else. Um, so I think for me it's about making time for almost my life around my job as well. And I think that sounds, you know, maybe counterproductive in some ways, but I think. You know, making time for your life and sort of having those interests outside of it and thinking, you know, what am I gonna do outside of work I think ultimately will help you in work.

[00:31:38] Andrew Francomb: Cuz I think you can have that sort of professional distance from it. You can still, you know, have all of that efficiency and care and I think you can have the stamina then. To keep going for a longer amount of time and, and to kind of keep that energy up in the job.

[00:31:52] Gerry Scullion: And building a support network is something that I've focused on the last number of years, not just support network in terms of friends, like professional support network.

[00:31:59] Gerry Scullion: I see a [00:32:00] psychologist every couple of weeks. It's like going to the gym for me. So, um, It's really important for us to have these open conversations and to talk about these things, uh, an awful lot more. So, um, I'm delight you brought that one up Now, Andrew, um, you're working in ONS in, uh, the UK at the moment.

[00:32:19] Gerry Scullion: I know they've got a couple of offices there at the moment. Um, but talking about your, your role now as a service designer, maybe tell us a little bit more around the kind of work that you do for people who want to learn more about service design. What kind of, uh, things do you get to work? So

[00:32:34] Andrew Francomb: I think, uh, na I con into, into a huge amount of detail on these things.

[00:32:38] Andrew Francomb: But, you know, in, in broad strokes, yeah. Yeah. It, it's a, it's, it's, it's broadly about trying to bring, you know, sort of, you know, the service design in this nicely, uh, in this book here, you know, this is service design doing Mark, Adam,

[00:32:52] Gerry Scullion: and Marks' book has just

[00:32:53] Andrew Francomb: been held up. Yeah. Yeah. So I realize for anyone listening, you can't see that.

[00:32:56] Andrew Francomb: Um, but, uh, you know, trying to bring that [00:33:00] to, uh, you know, an organization that previously hasn't had it. So I think it's about trying to. The best practice we can whilst at the same time educating people about what service design can be. And, and that takes a lot of forms cuz I think it's about, uh, you know, the, the day-to-day of the job it is to a degree kind of integrating with other people in the organization, showing them what service design can be.

[00:33:24] Andrew Francomb: So all of those kind of key things like, you know, uh, you know, user journey mapping, user research, um, building sort of empathy as a company and, and also introducing things like COEs. Um, mm-hmm. and iteration as well, and iterative design process I think is really important. So it, it, it's, it's those things.

[00:33:42] Andrew Francomb: It's, it's really is the kind of the, the principles of what we described as service design that, that, that I, I try to do. Okay.

[00:33:50] Gerry Scullion: Excellent. Um, Andrew, if people wanna reach out to you, um, have a follow up conversation about, You know, getting in touch with you and, and learning more. What's the best [00:34:00] way for people to get in touch with you?

[00:34:01] Andrew Francomb: Uh, LinkedIn and Twitter. So on, on LinkedIn, I'm just Andrew Frankham, which is F R A N C O M B. So yeah, I, I'm, I'm always open for messages, happy to chat with people about design or anything and, and even mental health, if that's something that, you know, someone wants to talk about. Um, cuz yeah, I, I think as you say, having a network, a support network is a really useful thing to have in that case.

[00:34:22] Andrew Francomb: Um,

[00:34:23] Gerry Scullion: Andrew, thank you so much for your time and thanks for being so open as,

[00:34:26] Andrew Francomb: That's all right. No, it was great to chat with you Jerry. Um, thanks for having me on the, uh, having on the podcast.

[00:34:31] Gerry Scullion: So there you have it. That's all for this episode. If you like this episode, feel free to visit. This is where you can access our back catalog of over a hundred episodes with episodes related to service design, product management, design, research, and much, much more Now.

[00:34:45] Gerry Scullion: If you're interested in design and innovation training, feel free to check out our business. This is where you can join online classrooms and learn from the world's best design and innovation. Join that. This is CD newsletter where you'll receive updates from the network. And also, if you're [00:35:00] interested, apply to join the Slack community.

[00:35:03] Gerry Scullion: And this is Stay safe and until next time, take care.

John Carter
Tech Vlogger & YouTuber

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