(Re)designing services: The “Help at Home” case study.
A multi-faceted investigation into the valuable “Help at Home” service that led to proposals in order to improve its effectiveness.
What was this?
The innovative human-centered research/service design toolkit was created in 2021 by the innovation organization “among” in collaboration with the Municipality of Thessaloniki and the support of the TIMA Charitable Foundation. Our team used participatory and innovative methods to study the “Help at Home” (HaH) program from the perspective of the providers as well as from the perspective of the users/beneficiaries.
Our goal was to introduce the methodology of human-centered service design to the Public Sector, aiming for the overall improvement of the way services are provided: better resource management, direct and immediate services to citizens, easier management processes for the service providers.
The purpose of the toolbox was to support the work of the 3.000 employees in the HaH program using human-centered tools, so that there is a more efficient distribution of tasks, resources and working hours.
Why did we choose Help at Home (HaH)? The services of the Help at Home (HaH) program provide primary care to people who really need it. Employees of the program all over Greece face extremely difficult situations, with limited means and resources in some cases. Nevertheless, the impact of HaH and its benefits to society are extremely important. We chose this specific program because it is an excellent example (case study) of a service with a long history, many employees and a great impact.
A service is an intangible exchange, such as medical care, the post office, a hair salon. What determines a true, functional, easy-to-use service is the human-centered approach, that is, whether or not it is designed based on the real needs of its user.
The services provided by the Public Sector serve a wide range of needs: health, education, exercising our democratic rights, serving citizens, etc. At the same time, the direct/immediate and easy access of all citizens to Public Services is a basic principle of a system that cares about the quality of life of all citizens.
The process that precedes a properly structured service is not simple. It requires understanding the needs of the service user (e.g. the need for immediate help at a Public Hospital), the involvement of all competent partners in its planning (e.g. administration, doctors, nurses, IT department, cleaning department, public transportation outside the hospital, etc.), the continuous research of the factors affecting the service (seasonal flus, insurance coverage, medical equipment, etc.), the visualization of its steps and their full understanding by everyone involved. Α holistic methodology covers this process of service design as seen implemented in the example of HaH.
A human-centered approach to service design consists of 4 steps, which record all the necessary elements that provide value both to users and service providers:
1. EMPATHISE2. IDEATE3. PROTOTYPE4. TEST