“The best indirect effect of our project with Holstebro is that the department is now integrating new digital opportunities by itself – it is thinking in more design-orientated ways.”
Anne Danielsen is a service designer at Hatch & Bloom, a Copenhagen innovation agency that utilises design thinking to make solutions that create everything from improved services and organisational structures to better experiences and brighter branding and communication.
Developing a new concept for the handling of a waiting list in the Danish Holstebro Municipality and redesigning the associated workflows based on behavioural design principles created a 78% reduction in the waiting list in only six weeks.
Uncomfortable work situations and a need for better service pushed the municipality towards upgrading its service level in the assessment department regarding home care, etc. The service level needed to be upgraded externally, but, for that to happen, the internal work flow was in need of an injection of service design.
“We humanised the assessment process by creating visual profiles for each citizen. The visual profiles were then combined with a name, location and each citizen’s specific need, and hung them up on the wall of the corridor in the department. Then we applied gamification principles to motivate employees to reduce the number of citizens on the list and to provide an increased desire among the employees to reduce the waiting list,” says Danielsen.
The elements of gamification included prizes, so the employees were given a gift for each 20th or 30th citizen who was removed from the waiting list during the assessment process. This kind of gamification worked.
According to Danielsen, something happened to the employees – if on a break, for example, they went straight out to the wall so they could examine the possibility of covering several citizens on one drive instead of making multiple drives, making the whole assessment process more efficient.
Altering the telephone hours for the better
Another part of Hatch & Bloom’s service design injection into Holstebro Municipality was a streamlining of the assessment department’s telephone procedure and its telephone hours. Operating the phone was previously referred to as strenuous and annoying by employees. Not because of the citizens, according to Danielsen, but because the phone line was open only one hour per day with no guidance on receiving calls, leading to huge piles of unfinished documentation and notes on different phone calls from citizens.
“The line is now open more hours per day and a more structured process for registering phone calls has been implemented. After each call, the employee now has five minutes to register the call and make sure all documentation is correct. On top of this, we’ve made a service notification in the shape of a partly-handwritten postcard to the citizen with information about the municipality’s next visit to his or her home. This really makes a difference,” says Danielsen.
In addition to the pure service-design part of the assignment, Hatch & Bloom has also re-designed all of the communication material in and around the assessment department in the Holstebro Municipality. The department has taken initiatives to incorporate new digital opportunities into the assessment process.