HEROES Co-Creation Workshops in Austria – held by rapid user feedback
As for many different organizations, institutions and research projects all over the world, the Covid-19 pandemic had an impact on how we are working together in teams and also how we bring different people together for workshops, meetings and other business gatherings. Although gatherings on site have been possible under strict safety precautions, making it easier for people to get together physically, whether in a private or business setting, many people still prefer to stay online rather than in person. This also forced us to think differently about how to bring people ‘together’ for our HEROES Co-Creation Workshops* in the last few months.
- Why Co-Creation is such a crucial part of product development:
What is a Co-Creation Workshop: Co-creation is a strategic tool in product development and one of the main methods of design thinking. Co-Creation corresponds to the guiding principle of customer centricity, which places the customer in the focus of all entrepreneurial activities. Co-Creation not only places the customers / users in the focus of development, but also actively involves them in the process. Thanks to co-Creation, meaningful information can be gathered about the wishes and trends within the target groups. This valuable information enables more efficient and thus resource-saving product development. There are three central arguments for actively involving the customer in the development process:
- Optimisation of the product
- Reducing development resources (avoiding sunk costs)
- Strengthening the customer relationship
- Set-up of our Co-Creation Workshops
In the project HEROES we are conducting Co-Creation workshops in all participating countries (Romania, Austria and Switzerland) with our 3 main target groups of the platform:
- Recruiters: people, families and institutions looking for caregivers for their loved ones. Through the HEROES platform they can find the right care givers, assessed by people who have a professional background and / or a vast life experience.
- Candidates: people who want to work in caregiving or have experience in it and want to apply for open jobs via the HEROES platform. For these people the platform allows them to easily find the right jobs at the right time especially for their individual strengths and experiences.
- Reviewers: professional caregivers and / or elderly people with vast life experience, who review and assess the candidates applying for caregiving jobs. So it is secured that families and institutions get the best candidates for their posted care giving jobs.
In our current Co-Creation workshops conducted by rapid user feedback in Austria in September 2021, we focused on the third target group “The Reviewers” of the platform. Within this target group we divide into two different kinds of reviewers: on the one hand we have people with professional care giving backgrounds, e.g. nurses and caregivers in retirement homes and on the other hand, we have people over 50 years of age (which we call Best Agers), who have a long life experience and good people skills to review candidates. In total we had three workshops in the last two weeks of September with three professional caregivers and two elderly people above 70 years of age, who would all be willing to take part as a reviewer within the HEROES platform, when it goes live in 2022. All three workshops were conducted as remote online workshops, with one or two workshop leaders / moderators from the rapid user feedback team.
Image: Online workshop with two moderators and two participants (Reviewers, 50+)
Compared to the first round of workshops in May this year, where we put our focus more on the whole care situation in Austria, the working conditions in this sector and the general perceptions and expectations, caregivers and elderly people would have in such a platform, this workshop was planned to be more focused on the platform itself and its functionalities. Therefore the development team of our consortium already developed a first click prototype of the platform / app, which could be used to show the flow of different use cases and features and also show our participants how we included their feedback from the first round of workshops.
Image: Screens of the HEROES app click prototype
By including the click prototype into the workshops we had the chance to ask very concrete questions like what people think about different chat functions, what kind of communication they prefer and what they think about the app layout in general and for specific screens. In Addition to the click prototype we presented what the format of video applications from candidates will look like in the platform.
Image: Example scene of candidate recording an video interview answer for the HEROES app
Through including such visual components into the presentation and workshops, it was possible for us to focus more on details and certain formats and features of the platform, instead of just asking general questions. The focus on visual presentations helped our participants to get a clear picture of what we were talking about.
After the discussion part was over, we also included some short quantitative questions regarding topics on if reviewers would like to get paid for their work and how they would like to receive payments. For this we included some tables with questions into the presentation, asked the participants and listed their answers into our notes.
Image: Example (in German) of quantitative Question within the online workshops
- Our Learnings from holding remote online workshops:
Through putting our Co-Creation Workshops into fully online formats, we had the chance to gather some good insights and learnings from it, which we want to share with you:
- Set a date and time and communicate it right in time with all participants: let your participants know that they should open the link at least 10-15 minutes before the event starts, so they have enough time to get into the virtual event, even if there are some technical difficulties.
- Choose an easy to use online meeting tool and test the link in different browsers beforehand: we already had the problem ourselves, that some clients or partners of us used meeting tools that didn’t work in some browsers, so we had to download an extra client, which often just doesn’t work smoothly.
- Prepare your materials in the right format: be aware of different desktops and devices from your participants, so prepare a format of your presentation that can easily be read by every participant. Do not use too small fonts and icons.
- Test, test and test: test your setup within your team and with colleagues, to see if everything works the right way. Not only on one screen, but in real conditions, with different devices and browsers.
- Send out tutorials and other important information beforehand: we always try to make good tutorials with screenshots and descriptions that we can send out to our participants one or two days before the workshop starts. Also prepare informed consents and other required questions, e.g. for demographic data or details for monetary compensations beforehand, so that participants can already fill it out before the workshop actually starts, for example via an online survey tool.
- Schedule breaks: if your workshop lasts longer than 1,5 hours, you should definitely also include a short break. So people don’t start looking at their phones or other stuff during the workshop, because they know they will have a break.
- Post-Workshop learnings: reflect your workshop afterwards, so that you can learn from your mistakes and make it better the next time.
- Insights from workshops about the HEROES platform:
App Layout: we received positive feedback throughout all participants regarding the layout and structure of the app. There were only a few little things, which participants mentioned that could be improved.
Interview format with video answers: also regarding the video interview format we received positive feedback throughout all the workshops, as participants said a video format is very well suitable to get to know candidates better, than just by written answers.
When we asked people about their feelings regarding the focus of the new HEROES platform, most participants mentioned that the focus should be better put on long term care giving jobs like 24 hours care giving, instead of short job postings, e.g. supporting in things like grocery shopping or smaller supports at home, because the whole effort on the platform seems to be too much for such small jobs. Also there are already good providers like “Dorfservices” or “Heimhilfen” for such small supporting jobs in Austria.
In addition to the information above we got a lot more feedback from our participants, which will be analyzed together with the feedback from other countries and then implemented in the app and the platform as a whole. Our next Co-Creation workshops will be held in November this year. After that we will go on with working on the app to improve the prototypes and features, so that we can start our 12 months long field trials next year in April. If you are interested in being part of our Co-Creation phase – Workshops or Field Trials –, feel free to get in touch via Mail ([email protected]) or call us via +40 752 614 263.
by Marco della Schiava for Heroes Project
rapid user feedback