Directory of services (now ‘Finding support services near you’) weeknote 06/12/19

‘If I were given one hour to save the planet, I would spend 59 minutes defining the problem and one minute resolving it.’ Who’s going to argue with Einstein? Using the research from the discovery phase, we’ve workshopped our way to a problem statement for this project. It always pays to take the time to remember what on earth we’re all trying to do here. 

In a nutshell – and take a deep breath – volunteers don’t update the directory so the information gets out of date so community navigators and residents find it useless and stop using it so volunteers don’t see the point in updating it. And so it goes on.

Our next step is to apply the design thinking technique of ‘how might we’ to break this cycle of negative feedback. Hold that thought for next week. In the meantime, please feel free to read and comment on the fuller problem statement.

We’ve been working with user researcher Wing to delve further into some of these thoughts. Next week, we’ll be surveying voluntary bodies around Well Street to gather insights into their use of digital marketing. And, later, interviewing some in depth. Hackney Community Volunteer Service has been running a pilot in Well St and we specifically want to see if engagement with HCVS has led to a deeper digital footprint. 

If we want the break the negative cycle, we need voluntary organisations to engage with digital. But we need to find an approach that scales. If we hand-held every organisation then no doubt they would have a digital approach to rival Instagram (okay, okay, let’s keep it real). That’s clearly not feasible. But what is the minimum engagement needed to tip them into good-enough digital marketing?

Now we understand the parameters of the project better, it’s time we thought up a better name. It’s a poor project that’s named after a product and not the outcome we’re trying to achieve. We’ll be taking feedback at our show and tell on this. And, on that note, hold your diaries for 2-3.30pm Monday 16 December for a pre-Christmas reveal and review. 

Up next:

  • How are voluntary organisations currently verified in directories? 
  • What digital upskilling of voluntary organisations as already taken place? And did it work?
  • How will we join up with a project further down the user journey that tracks whether residents actually go to the voluntary organisation (aka Elemental).

As with every self-respecting HackIT project, we have a side hustle. In this case, it’s to open up the NHS calendar so it doesn’t take three days of paths-crossing emails to organise a meeting. Watch this space. 

One thought on “Directory of services (now ‘Finding support services near you’) weeknote 06/12/19”

  1. I’d love to have a conversation with you, Susan, about this work. We’ve been working on this problem for more than a decade and have identified a range of novel solutions we are now developing – would be great to connect and discuss our journey from localgov delivery to our current project.

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