How Public Design? Anne Ryslinge


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  • Thank you. My job today is to try to describe how we engage our users in creation of our services. I would like to mention very briefly that user involvement is not something new to us. We have for many years held meetings with stakeholders, done user surveys and so on. But the feedback we have received we have mostly used on a small scale, and separately from each other. But since 2008 we have worked more strategically with user involvement on a bigger scale, and as a part of the business strategy. We have the same major challenges that everybody has: The financial situation, in combination with increased expectations to the welfare state, means that in future we must provide better services while using fewer resources. Of course, we have our own ideas on how to solve tasks. But when trying to live up to increased expectations, user involvement is for us decisive for uncovering what they need and what they perceive to be a service lift. Therefore it is a deliberate decision to try to make it better for our users, starting with what is important for them – and do it in a way where we benefit, too. (skift slide)
  • Today’s presentation: Before I start, say a little bit about our organisation, in order to give an impression of what we do (for those of you who may not be quite aware of this) Then I’ll talk about how we engage the users: a little about how we got started, which new methods we have used and how we have used the insights in the organisation – I will give some examples a I go along. I’ll share our most significant experiences and points, in relation to some of the elements, which I believe are decisive in order for user involvement to succeed. Finally, I’ll take a brief look inward on the consequences, the new knowledge has had on the organisation. Maybe that can be the beginning of our discussion. (Skift slide)
  • Briefly about the National Board of Industrial Injuries (ASK): Independent Government agency, and a part of the Ministry of Employment. Our primary task is to decide workers’ compensation claims. But we process claims on other areas too (listed here) As you can se, we are running a very mixed shop, and what is common to all these areas is, that they have to do with processing of concrete claims, and most of these involve the combination of medicine and law. We process a total of 65,000 claims every year. The field of workers’ compensation is by far the biggest, and therefore I will focus on this field today. And when I talk about the users here, it’s the persons that have an industrial injury. (Skift slide)
  • How did we get started/the beginning of the story: We began for real in 2007, when we started on a new policy project on how to retain people in the labour market. For us it was a new way to work, with individual, personal contact. And a new theme field, and a change in perspective, going from strictly compensation to labour market retention. For this work we had to find out what we could do in order to increase the injured persons’ chances of staying in the labour market. We knew nothing about this, and therefore we asked Mindlab to do some video interviews for us. The results of the interviews were many, but one very significant result was that the injured persons basically did not understand the system, and some of them even found that we made it harder for them to stay employed. That was a big eye-opener for us. Our mission is to work for people, who are injured, and in our self-understanding we live up to this. We had for many years held stakeholder meetings with the parties to the labour market, annual user surveys, etc., and the results had been good. So we thought we did a good job – and it turned out that we could do a lot better. And at that moment it dawned on us that we probably needed to combine different methods and get some qualitative knowledge as well when starting up new projects if we wanted a good result for users as well. And this is what we have been doing since then. We use a mix of different methods: We have used the general qualitative interviews for our web-site design, made descriptions of service travels (for a project on how young people perceive our digital self-service systems), and we have had personas made. The knowledge from these methods are linked into specific projects, as well as with the quantitative knowledge that we have. And again: the purposes is to ensure the best possible effect of the specific initiative. Choice of methods depends on specific project – what kind of knowledge do we need? It’s not that we do the big surveys every time we do a new project – the knowledge and the insights we have from these surveys is used in any new projects we do. The most recent examples is the personas that have been made for us because we are introducing a new claims processing system later this year. We are fully aware of our own needs (primarily that they have to be resource-economical). And we had knowledge of the users from a the other user surveys. But we needed something more specific and therefore the personas were made to find out how our communication, as well as the claims processing, were perceived by injured persons. The objective was to adapt, not only the ’pure’ communication, but also claims processing procedures, so that we could get procedures, that were logical and transparent for the injured persons.
  • There was a lot of information that could be derived from the survey. A few examples: The survey showed that there was a need for an overview of the claims processing procedures; the injured persons simply did not feel confident about what was happening in the claims processing. We have taken the consequence and in the future there will be a quite specific case overview. And each letter describes what will be the next claims processing step. This enables the injured person to follow the case, and the process becomes more transparent for the injured person. It’s a better service for users, and we receive fewer telephone calls with questions about what is going to happen and when a decision can be expected. Another example is the amount of information. For a long time we sent copies of letters to injured persons, enabling them to follow the claims processing – we thought this was good service. But it turned out that the injured persons often became more confused, and they thought they received too much information, and they did not know if they were expected to do anything, or the letters were merely sent to keep them informed (even if this was stated in the letter). We have removed the letters for information only. This hopefully results in less confusion among injured persons, and we send fewer letters, and the ’right’ letters instead. (Save the money spent on stamps – we send a lot of letters, it’s a lot of money) The injured person can still follow every step of the case, if they want to, but they have to do it on our electronic self-service system. There was much information for us in the survey, and all information/all results have been included in or converted into several specific projects for the purposes of creating better service – in a way that saves resources at our end. This can seen like small examples, but it’s important to stress, that is not about the specific idea, but the insights that comes from the total amount of user input. With regard to results , we have not come all that far yet. This is because the IT system is only being launched this year. For the injured person the expectations are: More logical and understandable claims processing = higher satisfaction/better service/better user surveys. For ASK : Effectivisation, in particular with regard to handling of mail and telephone service. This is a simplified picture on how we engage users in creation of services , the reality is more complicated. Of course the examples I have told you about are internal/organisational projects, but we use the same approach for policy projects.
  • The most significant experiences For us it’s about involving users strategically and getting insights from users. This means that: We ourselves decide/control what we want user input on (for instance something we were doing anyway, the example being our new IT system). The input is used to qualify the project and to get a better effect of the project. The insights must be anchored in specific projects within the business strategy (so there is a connection) It’s important to link the user inputs with other knowledge within the organisation (for example quantitative) We must relate to and act on the input we get, even if it hurts. And it does hurt, of course, if the comments are unkind. But you have to be ready to take the consequence of this and act on information – both regarding to the users, the organisation, and the management and employees. You need a considerable involvement of managers and employees. It is essential that employees play an active role in the development/innovation. By spreading the gathered information it is possible to build up new knowledge in the whole organisation and get new and better ideas. In order to spread knowledge to all employees, we have held staff development days for the whole organization, where the results of the personas were discussed and the users’ perception of quality. This is really important if any permanent effect has to be maintained. (picture from the staff development day: a work shop on staff development day to find out the possibility to cut back on the amount of medical information)
  • Finally turn inwards, impact on the organisation: From a strategic point of view The decisive consequence for the organization is that user input gets a completely new meaning and the user involvement has changed our thinking on business development. It’s not about the specific ideas, but the insights that we get from the total of ideas - and actually get implemented in the organization – that is a strategic change The big difference is that we used to work with user involvement on a small scale, and now we have proceeded to work more strategically with user involvement on a bigger scale, and as part a of the business strategy, through specific projects. It’s a change in how to run a business and develop a business strategy, and it affects the whole organization. It is important, however, to stress that it is not the methods in themselves that is the starting point for us when we make this type of survey, it is still the business development as such. But in that development the new methods and in particular the new knowledge/insights from the users have had an impact on the organisation. From a cultural point of view It is a shift in culture as well, it’s a changing process, it takes time. Takes an effort to change the perception of the world, and recognize that the world might look different. And it’s a new story that challenges the existing story The managers need to lead the change. Means that they have to believe it as well and be able to explain the how and why to the employees over and over again. Some are more committed than others. Most of our managers are classically trained officials, and here you have to be both open and interested in policy and operation being designed in other ways, than what you are used to. You have to be open minded and listen – not everything/all results can be put in boxes. When it’s hard, it important, that the top management has hand-on leadership. But we are getting there slowly and steadily. A big driver in this has actually been the employees : A large part of them are really committed and dedicated, and my impression is, that in some ways the change in story makes more sense to the employees. I don’t’ know, maybe it because they have the daily contact with the users – a fact is, that they are now closer to the people they work for. There is definitely an awareness in the organisation, that even if we think we are doing a really good job, the injured persons may need something more, and this we have to pay attention to this.
  • Our work with user involvement the last couple of years has moved the organization. It has been hard work (it’s no easy), but also excitement that we do new things, that make sense. So even though it takes resources, it’s our opinion that the new methods have contributed to qualifying our business development even more, enabling us to make it better for the injured persons, and at the same time in such a way that we can make it economically profitable for ourselves That was it for me. More than welcome to ask questions – I brought some as well on 3 very different themes. I don’t’ have the answers, it’s questions for me as well, I would like to hear your reflections, and if you have any experiences that would be helpful
  • How Public Design? Anne Ryslinge

    1. 1. User involvement in the creation of public service Anne Ryslinge Directors’ Consultant
    2. 2. Today’s presentation <ul><li>About the National Board of Industrial Injuries (Arbejdsskadestyrelsen) </li></ul><ul><li>Knowledge: Methods and application </li></ul><ul><li>The most significant experiences with user involvement </li></ul><ul><li>Impact on the organisation </li></ul>
    3. 3. About the National Board of Industrial Injuries (Arbejdsskadestyrelsen) <ul><li>Processing of concrete claims, most of them </li></ul><ul><li>imply a combination of medicine and law: </li></ul><ul><li>Industrial injuries </li></ul><ul><li>Private compensation claims, victims of violence, </li></ul><ul><li>patient injuries </li></ul><ul><li>Victims of the occupation period (1940-45) </li></ul><ul><li>Complaints about decisions made by </li></ul><ul><li>unemployment funds </li></ul><ul><li>A total of 65,000 claims every year, approx. 55,000 workers’ compensation claims </li></ul><ul><li>400 employees, including 40 medical doctors </li></ul>
    4. 4. Knowledge: Methods and application I <ul><li>General qualitative interviews </li></ul><ul><li>Description of service travels </li></ul><ul><li>Development of personas </li></ul><ul><li>Need: Knowledge about how the injured person experiences both communication and claims processing </li></ul><ul><li>Purpose: To adapt both communication and claims processing procedures so that these procedures become transparent for the injured person </li></ul><ul><li>Object: System is applicable for self-service, claims processing procedures have been changed and letters rewritten </li></ul>
    5. 5. Knowledge: Methods and application II - results and consequences <ul><li>Need for an overview of the claims processing procedures </li></ul><ul><li>No letters for information only: The injured person can still follow every step of the case, but in the electronic self-service system </li></ul>
    6. 6. The significant experiences … <ul><li>Be strategic with regard to user input </li></ul><ul><li>Input must be anchored in specific projects </li></ul><ul><li>and in the business strategy </li></ul><ul><li>Combine different types of input </li></ul><ul><li>React to input – otherwise it won’t have any </li></ul><ul><li>effect! </li></ul><ul><li>Involve middle managers and employees </li></ul><ul><li>= User controlled innovation is a strategic tool </li></ul><ul><li>for operation as well as development </li></ul>
    7. 7. Impact on the organisation <ul><li>A strategic shift </li></ul><ul><li>From traditional business development to user input as part of the business strategy </li></ul><ul><li>The insights coming from </li></ul><ul><li>the total amount of ideas </li></ul><ul><li>- and implemented in the organization </li></ul><ul><li>User insights in several specific projects – linked to the business strategy </li></ul><ul><li>A better service for injured persons – economically profitable for us </li></ul><ul><li>A cultural shift </li></ul><ul><li>A new story, a change in perception </li></ul><ul><li>Change management </li></ul><ul><li>New competences to learn new methods </li></ul>Insight
    8. 8. Questions: Reflection and discussion <ul><li>Management </li></ul><ul><li>In what way do and should managers act differently than they are used to – new skills necessary? What are the drivers and barriers for management? </li></ul><ul><li>How do we share (and move) user insights from one manager to another across different specialist areas when everybody is busy with the daily operation? Experiences? </li></ul><ul><li>Facilitator/change agent </li></ul><ul><li>What skills are required to effectively facilitate innovation processes? </li></ul><ul><li>How do we reward the employees? (Case processing the most important, no financial surplus). Experiences? </li></ul><ul><li>Co-production with citizens/users </li></ul><ul><li>What should the role of the citizens be? </li></ul><ul><li>Do we really need to listen to the users? </li></ul><ul><li>How are cross-border innovation processes perceived by the citizens? Experiences? </li></ul>