Local researchers celebrate Florence Nightingale on the bicentenary of her birth with free workshop

Local researchers celebrate Florence Nightingale on the bicentenary of her birth with free workshop

Nightingale Design Research is the new name for Fowlam, a research consultancy, based in Beeston, Nottinghamshire. Taking inspiration from the medical visionary, Florence Nightingale, their new name honours her pioneering progress, made through research.

Florence Nightingale spent her early years in Derbyshire and played a leading role in shaping the area's biggest hospital of its day, the Derby Royal Infirmary. Florence is credited with reforming nursing in the mid-19th century. Her papers on hospital planning and organisation had a profoundly positive effect on medical training worldwide. It was Nightingale’s research-based approach and commitment to patients that led to the professionalisation of nursing after the Crimean War, where she became known as ‘the lady with the lamp’.

Closer to home, Fowlam was founded as a user research consultancy in 2016 by Frances Brown and her husband Michael. As Fowlam, the team have worked with a variety of organisations, including LEGO, Health Education England, UK Visas and Immigration and the Department for Education.

Best possible products and services

In their next phase as Nightingale Design Research, this growing business aims to support Nottingham’s vibrant tech. companies to create the best possible products and services through design research. The Nightingale team use the principles of psychology and user centred design to define and clarify their clients’ goals and to identify the knowledge and insight they need to achieve them. They then use their extensive experience to design, implement and analyse research to recommend practical, cost-effective steps that the company can take to increase their chances of success.

The 2 hour online workshop ‘Design Research: the secret weapon in the fight for customers’ will allow companies to see how research applies to their products and services and to begin to identify and fill any knowledge gaps their company has. It will cover: the purpose of design research; how to plan and implement a great research project; how to analyse and interpret design research and how to put your research results into action.

Frances Brown, CEO of Nightingale Research said:

“Florence Nightingale inspired our name because she used research and evidence to get to the heart of the problems she was facing to find workable, effective solutions. 200 years later, we’re using the same approach to help organisations to gain a deep, practical understanding of what they need to overcome obstacles to their goals and to put themselves ahead of the competition.

"Our new name reflects the confidence we have developed from the successes we have had over the last three years as Fowlam in using our research to provide actionable recommendations that give measurable benefits to our clients.”

An example of where research would have substantially improved product design for its customers is the original Apple HealthKit. The iOS 8 tracked many metrics including height, weight and blood alcohol content, but it failed to track menstrual cycles because it hadn’t been tested with people who have periods. This oversight was rectified in a later version of the app.

More broadly, an example of where research has changed the fate of a business is LEGO, which Frances covered in a recent talk at Tech Nottingham. After the company’s patent on it’s classic bricks expired, it was forced to reassess what it meant to children. Executives rebuilt the company through putting research at the centre of their designs, e.g. LEGO had previously been reluctant to licence Star Wars ‘warlike’ toys, until they observed how children like to compete.

The workshop is on Tuesday 12th May, the 200th anniversary of Florence Nightingale’s birth. The team had planned their rebrand and the event when the world looked very different, but they are adapting and continuing with the workshop in an online format. It will offer businesses the opportunity to review their interaction with customers, and also provide individuals with new knowledge and skills.


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