In the first phase of the experimentation process, which took place in Turin on December, the participants were guided to co-define the most relevant challenge for the Social Services department. We researched the current situation in depth beforehand, using documents and data from the municipality as well as speaking to staff at two frontline social services offices in the city.
The challenge which emerged from the co-define event was how to develop a complementary and holistic approach to service delivery by integrating multiple services across the municipality. A second challenge connected to this one centred on the current structure of the organisation. The Municipality of Turin is currently organised into different areas which support the delivery of different services. The challenge was to overcome internal resistance and structural barriers in order to support disadvantaged people by offering them an integrated system of services.
Starting from this challenge, we designed three co-creation events to support the city’s social services in moving towards the solution/s. These events support the second SIC experimentation phase, during which we developed a concept for a new and integrated service. We structured the event as three one-day workshops, each with a specific objective, because we wanted people to attend all three days. A single three-day event would have required a greater commitment from participants. We invited social innovation experts and officers from each of the key departments of the Municipality: housing, social care and employment.
The UNIBO team selected tools from the SIC handbook to match the specific objectives of each workshop. The co-creation events were organised with two main aims: ideating a solution for the external and internal challenges; and supporting the participants to learn about the basic service design tools.
During the first workshop, we analysed the challenges established during the experimentation phase and identified new ideas and possible solutions. We also outlined the typical service users who will benefit from the integrated solutions. During the second workshop, we designed the user experience of the new solutions, using the Personas tool. During the final event, we produced a map of the actors needed to deliver the customer journey and the initial service blueprint of the Municipality’s internal processes needed to support it.
What worked really well during the three workshops was the open dialogue between all the participants, who entered in to the process with a collaborative attitude, sharing ideas and discussing productively. As the events progressed, they began to think in a more design-oriented, user-centred way.
The idea of dividing the co-creation event into three workshops worked well. We discussed complex topics and it would have been too intense to have run them as three consecutive days. In addition, the agenda worked well in terms of public sector workers having limited time to spare.
During the co-define phase, there were many difficulties in introducing participants to the service design methods approach. However, over the course of the three co-design events, it became easier for them to engage productively with the methods and with each other. It was evident that they were better able to understand the user perspective and became more familiar with the design process and its methodology and tools.
The participatory activities very effectively helped us identify emerging policy issues at different levels. They also allowed for a reflection on the connection between an ongoing “grassroots” initiative and the wider context of policy-making. The format made it easy for participants to engage in fruitful conversation with each other.
One of the main difficulties we encountered in the first phase was that the team struggled to put themselves in the shoes of the end users. Some participants also needed time to understand the service blueprint and customer journey tools. It has been important to demonstrate to them that the adoption of these tools can make a vital difference to the co-design of new services. It is also crucial to engage the attention of key actors, not only for the participatory innovation process itself, leading to meaningful and sustainable solutions, but also for funding opportunities. UNIBO highlighted this as one of their success factors.
It would have been interesting to include a wider audience – for example, bringing in the perspectives of the diverse public and private actors who work in the social care, housing and employment sectors. This will actually occur at a forthcoming event where we will present the results of our projects to sector representatives from across the Municipality. This event was not initially planned within the SIC project but we were asked to organise it to share the results internally in order to create awareness and stimulate organisational change. We hope involving external stakeholders in the redesigned services and the co-creation process will start a wider discussion on a new approach to their role in the policy framework: procurement policies, from subcontractors to partners; engagement of civil society: from supporters to co-producers.
The ultimate aim of the workshops was to define the TO-Home integrated service in order to move forward with prototyping and experimentation. This has been a very productive activity and has supported the social welfare department in developing a complete and innovative service for families in Turin who were at risk of becoming homeless.The innovation of the service is represented by the change in the perspective of the municipality with respect to the way in which it is possible to support these family. From the subsistence approach (finding and paying for accommodation for these families) to an empowering perspective (supporting the head of the family to find a job and gain money to rent a place).
The experience of the experimentation from the challenge identification to the design of the new service idea will be shared with 50 managers from the Municipality of Turin and from external stakeholders. This dissemination activity has been designed together with the H&R of the Turin Municipality to expose the new and most active managers to this new project design methodology.
The tools developed during the 3 workshops (all included in their professional visualization in the appendix to the report) will be used to prepare the call the municipality will open for providers that will support the implementation of the service. The customer journey the stakeholders map, the blue print and the system map will guide both: the design of the call and the implementation of the service.
The service will be funded, as a pilot, by the central government (PON METRO action based on EU structural funds) and it will involve 500 families.
The Municipality already identified a physical place /office where to start experimenting the service. 500 family units will be involved through SIA (Active Inclusion Support) organization.
The team will then prototype together with the support of the UNIBO team some specific touchpoints of the service.