How role plays have helped us design support for people setting up small businesses using SDS

Hairdressing role play in action

In order to truly explore and understand how the people around you are living their lives and the issues they may face on a day to day basis, leads to one answer. The best way to experience this is through stepping into their shoes. This is what we did as part of the IRISS Pilotlight pathway workshop. Throughout the recent workshops we have developed characters to facilitate with scenario based situations. This was identified as a crucial design tool in order to explain a situation based on a fictitious character which people from all areas of life could relate to. Through developing a fictitious character and acting out a scene from a fictitious but realistic world, the results of role play offered a very amusing session but also extremely informative.

On the surface, role play offered hilarity and joviality between those acting out their parts of the play and between the audiences watching. This has created a platform for interaction, as people are more willing to socialise with one another as the role play sparked exciting conversations and bonding between the groups. The deeper and more meaningful results which I believe can assist with supporting people to set up small businesses was from viewing the similarities in the 4 different role plays, which were all created independently but all shared common themes.
These common themes were:

  • The involvement and support from your social worker is essential at the start of the business idea. Having your social worker understand why and how you would like to do this is important.
  • Surrounding networks of family and friends are essential to support you with the business and to assist with emotional and practical support and help when needed. Having a backup plan is essential.
  • Create a visual plan for all to see and understand the journey of your life, including your business plan. If you can see where you are on a plan, you will be able to deal with emotions and expectations more readily.
  • Networking and exploring what is happening in your surrounding area. Either by doing this yourself through reading newspapers, visiting local events or by assigning someone to do this for you e.g. a family member, friend etc. This is known as market research which is crucial in creating a sustainable small business.

Through identifying these common themes, this cements the important issues which we must not overlook or skim past, when trying to help individuals set up and establish a successful small business. Nevertheless, most importantly, we must always remember the importance of a balanced life style, through realistic goals and expectations with regards to business development and a healthy and fulfilled life.