Innovation School MDes Design Innovation & Service Design

Juhi Mota (she/her)

I am an interdisciplinary designer, engaging in human-centred approaches to create newer futures. Highly interested in the power of good storytelling, languages and everything fictional.

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Spill the Beans

Spill the Beans

Spill the Beans is an artefact-based change management prototype to elevate staff creativity in Food & Beverage Services. It is, in parts, an exploration of work culture in the Food and Beverage industry with a focus on the Future of Work in the Overlooked Foundational Economy.


Context: My research focused on exploring the current work experience of people working in Food & Beverage services in Glasgow with a forward-facing outlook on finding opportunities and addressing unmet needs to improve the future of work within this sector.

Methods: For research, I used ethnographic methods such as non-participant observation and in-depth interviews with people working front-of-house and experts with years of experience within the industry. For designing I used partial co-design and partial iterative design methods, grounding it on the design theory of regenerative design principles.

Challenges: Employees work long, demanding shifts, handle multiple types of tasks, and learn to do these on the job. They often do both banal and creative work on the go, think on foot and are creative in their approach and problem-solving. In contrast, statistics show that the average pay is way below the Scottish average with little support from customer tips. Combining these factors with the fact that employees were rarely appreciated, most people did not think of Hospitality and F&B services as a career they could grow in. The staff often felt replaceable and would work their jobs with a mindset of moving to a different career path.

Approach: Change within hospitality required huge shifts in mentality and behaviours. To have an impact that would redirect the systemic challenges towards a more positive employee experience, specifically in an industry that has had few innovations in the way it worked meant starting small. Hence, despite looking at the overarching principles of regenerative design for lasting change, my proposal is one step in many.

Proposal: Leveraging the artefact commonly used within the industry, a check-pad, I propose a small organisational change, a minor shift in work culture: Spill the beans system. It is a 3-month, experimental proposal meant to encourage structured creativity within a food and beverage establishment supplemented by monetary rewards. A spill-the-beans check pad is at the centre of this system. Designed to work both as a check-pad and as a note-taker, employees would be encouraged to write down ideas and feedback on the pages as and when creativity strikes, while on their job. At the end of a shift, the employee can stick their ideas on the bean wall, which will then be reviewed by the manager and selected for the reward system. All the pages in spill the beans pad have employee ids mapped to payroll allowing the selected employees to receive the reward at the end of the week.

Service Map

anatomy of a check-pad