Digital first - Skåne Regional Council

Can we empower society to prevent digital exclusion?

Challenge

The digital society is not waiting for everyone to get on the digitization train. Due to lack of digital experience, language or tools some are left behind. How might we empower the private and public sector to prevent digital exclusion and at the same time provide them with tools for future challenges of this kind? Together with Region Skåne we supported the public libraries by providing the digitization train tickets.

Result

Our solutions of how to prevent digital exclusion were based solely on the needs collected from the users, developed together with the users, and tested on the users. In other words: concepts of how to prevent digital exclusion were designed with, and by, digitally excluded people. The participating librarians executed an impressive number of solutions throughout our program - and many more to come as these librarians will now continue this journey on their own, with their new proved skills in user-centered design, design process management and design methodology.

Challenge

The digital society is not waiting for everyone to get on the digitization train. Due to lack of digital experience, language or tools some are left behind. How might we empower the private and public sector to prevent digital exclusion and at the same time provide them with tools for future challenges of this kind? Together with Region Skåne we supported the public libraries by providing the digitization train tickets.

Approach

Result

Our solutions of how to prevent digital exclusion were based solely on the needs collected from the users, developed together with the users, and tested on the users. In other words: concepts of how to prevent digital exclusion were designed with, and by, digitally excluded people. The participating librarians executed an impressive number of solutions throughout our program - and many more to come as these librarians will now continue this journey on their own, with their new proved skills in user-centered design, design process management and design methodology.


‘Folkpaketet’ – a training program in co-design

With the Swedish government’s digitising strategy, the public sector has a responsibility to transform and develop digital services based on the needs of the Swedish citizens. The main goal of the strategy is for Sweden to be on the world’s very frontline of using digital opportunities and we are happy to have been chosen by Region Skåne to work with these types of challenges. A likely risk had been predicted of citizens excluded from the new digital society for reasons such as not having any previous digital experience. It landed on the libraries’ lot to prevent this digital exclusion from happening and we were asked to provide a solution. Since librarians and all other occupations are experts in their fields, and because we believe that every single person has creative powers, we were not going to solve the problem for them but to train them in how to attack it themselves. Through a holistic and user-centered approach, we were to empower the public libraries in how to deal with their current and future challenges. 

In order to fortify Region Skåne and the library's employees, we offered a four-day workshop-based training in co-design that was provided with every tool needed to take on their challenges through user-centered processes. The program lasted over a three month period and included a mixture of theory and hands-on practices. The participating librarians were guided in how to lead a design process in close collaboration with users. They also learned practical design methodology, how to keep the right mindset and how to constantly validate every design decision with the only people who know: the user and other stakeholders. Throughout the program the participants set their newly acquired knowledge into practice by working with their own specific challenges of how to prevent digital exclusion.



Workshop 1: The Challenge

What is user-centered design · What does a successful design team culture look like · Challenges and assumptions

Who are your users and other stakeholders · How do you reach your users · Methods for user studies

Workshop 2: Ideation

Analysis of user studies · Forming the challenge · Methods for ideation · Sketching ideas · Methods for co-creation

Workshop 3: Prototype

Analysis of user studies · Conceptualisation of ideas · Methods for prototyping · Lo-fi models of concepts · Methods for user tests

Workshop 4: Implementation

Analysis of user tests · Improvements of concepts · Summary of concepts · Map stakeholders · Identify obstacles · Conditions required to enable implementation

The time between the workshops was just as important as the workshops themselves. During this time the participants applied their newly acquired knowledge of methods and tools to connect with their users to really understand their problems, needs and to validate all design choices. This is where they co-created.

It was a great experience to follow these librarians, going from being a bit sceptical about “disturbing” their visitors, to finding the joy and conviction in actually engaging the users throughout the design process. They soon understood the great importance of this technique that enabled them to overcome challenges and to make sustainable impacts.

Go remote

Due to the limitations of physical meetings by C-19, we transformed the workshop format into a remote program where the participants followed a digital format through online video conferencing and digital whiteboard platforms. In this article you can read more about how these boundaries were adjusted to achieve a successful workshop format.


Scaling up: the library management

As the next step in the process of engaging the libraries, we conducted a one-day workshop with the library management. This was primarily to create an understanding of the co-design activities issued by their staff. It also served the purpose of identifying barriers and ideating on possible solutions to enable the different systems necessary for the implementation of their staff’s concepts.


The process to prevent digital exclusion goes on as these librarians confidently continue the journey on their own, having their new proved skills in user-centered design, design process management and design methodology. 



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Want to know more?
Get in touch with:
Katja Grufberg
Senior Interaction Designer
+46 733 64 91 30
Rolf Van De Boel
Service Design Lead
+46 727 09 58 02
Want to know more?
Get in touch with:
Katja Grufberg
Senior Interaction Designer
+46 733 64 91 30
Rolf Van De Boel
Service Design Lead
+46 727 09 58 02
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