A co-creation recruitment and engagement plan for the development of open government services for and with senior citizens was developed during this event.
The Region of Central Macedonia (RCM) selected the Health Sector as a general topic of public interest. Older citizens are often in need of health services and it considered offering services which make use of the following datasets:
1. Thessaloniki Medical Association Record
2. Pharmacists Record of Thessaloniki
3. Physiotherapists Record of Thessaloniki
4. Opticians Record of Thessaloniki
5. Rehabilitation Centres of the Region of Central Macedonia
In the ages of 60+, IT-literacy is another factor that influences accessibility of services. Most older citizens are not adequately IT-literate. RCM used, the already well organized Elderly Care Centers, which are distributed across the whole Region. In those Centers a large number of adult population is already registered and actively participating in many other activities. Around 30 participants, all above 60 years old, with a variety in age range, were recruited. People with moderate or above average IT skills were included, both men and women on approximately equal percentages, perhaps with men being slightly more. This group was actively engaged in the co-creation/ living lab process and guided the two public bodies with comments and feedback on the service that was to be developed.
Human resources that were needed:
-Region of Central Macedonia: 6 staff members from 3 involved Departments
-Aristotle University of Thessaloniki: 4 researchers
-3 staff members of the Open Care Centres – service provider
-approx. 30 senior citizens (Members of the Open Care Centres)
Evidence of success
Through the participation and active engagement of the senior citizens an application was developed, which was tailored to their needs and their IT skills. As the procedure started from point zero, senior citizens adapted the responsible role of the app owner and managed to put themselves in a leading role. They were the first to use the final app in the smart devices that were provided by the project or in their own smart phones/tablets. The app is available free of charge, in App store.
Senior adults weren’t familiar with the co-creating procedure, but it earned their trust as the app started to look real and not only virtual. Splitting participants in small groups and keeping the duration of the workshops less than 2 hours, helped participants not to lose their interest.
Potential for learning or transfer
This practice could, potentially, interest other regions to learn from, as inclusion of the main actors lead to a common accepted and easy to use and easy to promote product/service.