About this good practice
Service design is a process of development where the service provider creates solutions jointly with the users, from their perspective – it is a good method/mindset to apply in the development of innovative e-services (among others). The work in Gävle is based on the Innovationsguiden (Innovation Guide) developed by SALAR, the Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions.
The process contains six steps adapted to suit the working conditions in the public sector to guide the development teams from a challenge to a solution in a structured way: Define, Explore, Focus, Ideate, Prototype and Realize. It starts from the identification of needs (creating citizen/stakeholder involvement as well as high staff engagement).
Examples for working methods to engage and study the users:
- Creating a user persona (an ideal customer description)
- Setting up a user journey based on the service safari method (a.k.a. actually trying out the service)
- Observation and/or job shadowing
Several employees have been trained in the method and are certified instructors that in turn have trained hundreds of other employees and given more than 1,200 people a “taste” of the method/mindset in Gävle municipality.
The Digital Renewal Programme and the Digitalisation unit use the method to develop
e-services. This is funded by the city council (500,000€/year), but there are other funding sources, too: clients (departments they work for), overhead from services provided by the IT department (servers), etc.
Evidence of success
Gävle has worked with the method several years – from providing inspirational talks to 1200+ people to offering trainings (an in-house 2-day crash course for free) involving more than 200 employees and managers. This makes it easy for future training sessions to be quickly booked: employees across the organization understand the basics. It is also easier for business developers and project managers to conduct the process and dig deeper into real problems rather than an immediate solution.
Potential for learning or transfer
What should an adapter look out for?
People are predisposed to find solutions immediately to poorly defined problems – they don’t like to dwell on the latter, so they concentrate on the former as soon as possible. However, a municipality or a business cannot be objective about their own habits and operations; therefore, they need to talk with the real users in their own environment and learn to let it go ("it" = the assumption they had about the problem and its possible solution), changing direction if needed. In addition, testing is also an important step that is often overlooked.
Every BETTER project partner incorporated this methodology into their Regional Action Plan to ensure the development of innovative digital solutions with the involvement of citizens (although not every solution they had come up with were digital and/or technology-related).