Fulfilled Lives, Better Lambeth
MA Service Experience Design and Innovation course project, in which Lambeth council, wanted a pre-screening tool for the elderly citizens in the borough. The solution, MyiL newspaper was exhibited in Lambeth council office and in London College of Communication to high appraise.
+ Adult Social Care, Lambeth Council
+ AgeUK Lambeth
The organizations envision an ‘online, strengths-based pre-screening tool’, to improve the management of the high and unfiltered flow of requests from senior citizen residents and their carers who may be eligible for Social Care.
How might we facilitate senior citizens to follow their aspirations towards a fulfilling life by identifying their strengths and understanding their current situation?
My role was to conduct quantitative and qualitative research on the topic and extract the insights to base the project. I could apply my business skills in analyzing the restrictions faced by the client in executing the previous solution. Thereby, the solution had to be financially apt to execute. I feel satisfied to include all insights pointed towards the solution during the ideation phase.
The team followed the double diamond approach, proposed by the design council. The diagram shared explains the main exercises followed through the four stages of the double diamond.
At the start, the team focused on understanding the organizational and service model of Lambeth Council as well as Age UK Lambeth, their current offering to social care users and their collaboration model.
Asset Mapping & Service Safari
Our initial focus was on asset mapping in the North Lambeth area. For this, we investigated online to pinpoint locations of interest where service provision or exchanges with senior citizens might be taking place, and we then went to those locations physically.
We conducted a number of contextual interviews with seniors in Lambeth (e.g. at GP Surgeries, in shops, on the street).
We also spoke to volunteers from Age UK and public servants from Lambeth Social Care. These provided us richer insights into specific issues around service provision, mobility, social challenges, neighborhood safety, and funding, among others.
We sketched user journeys based on our primary research and pen portraits of key stakeholders.
From our first insights and ongoing work with stakeholders, we started to form our notions of some approaches that would work best; for example the focus on positive personal statements or asset-based community development.
The Client requires a platform that is cheap, convenient to distribute and easily adaptable to its volunteers and the users.
Elders require a platform that is familiar and useful to them beyond the problem statement recommendations.
The Client requires a platform that covers the disadvantages of the existing platform being used by the client as a screening tool.
In this phase, as designers, we tried to see what we could do with the possibilities identified in the discovery phase. Which matter above others? Which to act on first? What’s feasible? The goal of the define phase is to come up with a brief that frames the fundamental design challenge with clarity.
Positive personal statements
We researched strengths-based evaluation models and collectively decided that using positive personal statements would be a non-intrusive and human-centred way to screen our users.
Asset Based Community Development
Asset-based community development is a methodology for sustainable community development based on the strengths and potentials of the community. It works by assessing the community’s resources, skills, and experience available and organizing the community to solve issues based on these (ABCD, Nurture Development website, 2016).
During this phase, we made a SWOT analysis and we also worked on creating solutions, which we prototyped, tested and iterated.
Iterative prototyping: digital lo-fi, paper lo-fi, paper hi-fi
We started to share our personal statements with external stakeholders to collect feedback.
This was initially done with a digital lo-fi prototype based on TypeForm and with a paper lo-fi prototype. In the paper version, we displayed the personal statements and the Likert Scale using Optical Mark Recognition (OMR) format that can be used by coloring the right circle, so that it would be easy to use a CamOMR software to transfer data from paper to database.
Sharing these helped us refine our questions, their wording, order and logic. In this phase, we also consolidated the scaling model and agreed to finally go ahead with Likert Scale for its elegance, simplicity and relevance considering the nature of the project.
Testing and co-creation
Testing and co-creation helped us understand what, why, when and how to deliver value.
We invited senior citizens and a volunteer, who contributed by conducting events in the old age community center, to participate in a co-creation workshop. The feedback from the group was critical as well as appreciative.
MyiL is a service that wants to help Lambeth Social Care and Age UK Lambeth provide better services to their senior citizens by designing for their specific needs and wellbeing.
The pre-screening tool will be accessible in two key formats:
A newspaper format print paper, which is easy to use and a familiar format for senior citizens, with scaled personal statements. MyIL newspaper uses affordable optical mark recognition (OMR) technologies so that responses can be scanned from a phone camera for automated transfer into the MyiL database. It also contains ads from local services and events for seniors, providing a context for their independent living needs.
MyIL, My Independent Life, the newspaper is a creation of Lambeth Council, Adult Social Care in collaboration with AgeUK Lambeth to understand the needs of the senior citizens in Lambeth. The senior citizens can scale different aspects of their life through simple statements. The responses will be analyzed by Lambeth Social Care experts, recommendations will be provided and respondents considered ‘at risk’ will be identified and contacted for further assessment.
In addition, MyIL newspaper shares information about the social and cultural activities taking place in Lambeth.
The problem statement given to us was complexly structured and it was difficult to interpret the requirement straightforward. This was because the agendas of two organizations, Lambeth Council and AgeUK, were merged together. I felt that the two organizations did not agree fully with each other and rather were synthesizing their individual and common goals as the discussion progressed.
The collaborative design team was eager to meet Graham, CEO of AgeUK Lambeth because we felt there was more information to gather from the client. Persistence helped to clear all our doubts by setting up a meeting with the CEO: the approach the client expected from us, limitations of the organization, and the challenges in the existing tool. In detail, he briefed on the budget limitations, human resource shortage and time constraints in delivering the service.
Each member of the design team had their own interpretation of the senior citizens from individual countries. So, we decided to start from ground zero and not put our individual bias while conducting interviews. This helped to gather insights totally based on the interactions with the senior citizens in Lambeth. Also, while testing the prototype with the users, we gave their comments and recommendations the most weight.
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