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Developing an app for union members, aiming to strengthen their member satisfaction - case study

I forbindelse med den udviklingsproces ReSearch Humanity gennemførte med Dansk Metal, blev også målgruppen inviteret med til at finde løsninger på udfordringen.
ReSearch Humanity gennemførste bl.a. en design sprint sammen med Dansk Metal

The costumer & the challenge

The Danish Metalworkers' Union reached out to ReSearch Humanity as they wanted to create an app for their members, that could contribute to membership retention and recruitment. Moreover, the Union sought out to strengthen their internal competencies in facilitating and running processes fostering development, and in particular the Google Design Sprint, further developed by AJ & Smart.

We looked for a solution where we efficiently could facilitate and contribute to the analysis and idea generation when developing new digital solutions and improvement of existing solutions in our application for members.

Statement, Jacob Gammeltoft, application owner, Danish Metalworkers' Union

Following this challenge, we developed the following goal for the development process: Enhance the Union's understanding of membership needs in regard to their app, and develop a solution, that contributes to increasing member satisfaction.

How we went about it - in broad strokes

In order to reach the above mentioned goal, we mapped out three main steps that ReSearch Humanity would contribute with. First, we conducted interviews with members and developed a target group analysis. Thereafter, we facilitated the main part of the development process, i.e. the design sprint. Both Union employees and shop stewards participated in the design sprint. Finally, ReSearch Humanity designed and facilitated a workshop, where we, together with Union employees, developed objectives and key results as well as a timeline for the launch of the developed solution.

I've experienced how Karoline is passionated for developing solutions for organisations with a mission to support people, in our case our members. Furthermore, Karoline demonstrated a graphical style, knowhow, efficiency as well as interest for our mission, fitting to the way we wanted to work og develop solutions for our members and application.

Statement, Jacob Gammeltoft, application owner, Danish Metalworkers' Union

The solution

Som en del af design sprinten, blev der udviklet forskellige løsninger på udfordringen. På billedet ses tre af løsningerne efter, at teamet havde stemt på de elementer de syntes godt om.
Som en del af design sprinten, blev der udviklet forskellige løsninger på udfordringen.

Through a co-creative design sprint, and by close collaboration with Union shop stewards and members, we developed and tested an app for union member, which was centered around members and shop stewards. We identified this solution after searching how the union could facilitate the best connection or contact point with members, and through that ensure the best support and consultation of members. As such, this solution aimed at making it easy for members to a) identify their shop steward, and b) find information on how their shop steward can service them in various situations.

After having conducted interviews with members, who did not give strong arguments for why they were members of the union or did not have a clear picture of how they could use their union membership, we identified the need to enhance members' grasp of the values and benefits of being a member in the Danish Metalworkers' Union. As a result, we developed a solution, which aims to inspire members of (new) ways of using their membership and highlights the core arguments and values of union membership.

The overall result of the process can be summarized in two parts. First, the process has contributed to new insights to what members need in an app. Secondly, and most concretely, the Danish Metalworkers' Union is left with a tested prototype, which is ready for actual development.

We learned new, effective and efficient ways to strengthen our collaboration, create focus, develop objectives and not least good and relevant experiences for our members. Within a short timeframe, the design sprint workshops gave us priceless insights to members' needs and wishes. We've built high fidelity prototypes, which already have been developed into existing features in the application. ReSearch Humanity has fully lived up to our first impression by consistently challenging team perspectives and motivating and guiding the process.

Statement, Jacob Gammeltoft, application owner, Danish Metalworkers' Union

The process

The process behind the above mentioned solution had three main steps:

  • Conduction of interviews with members, and a target group analysis

  • Design sprint - a co-creation development process, including a prototype and iteration sprint

  • Development of objectives and key results, as well as a timeline for implementation

While the pre-sprint interviews contributed with the foundation for developing an app based upon what members need, the design sprint contributed with the framework for creating focus and develop concrete and solutions that could be tested. In short terms, the design sprint is a concentrated process based upon co-creation, where the sprint team achieve an enhanced as well as aligned understanding of needs, barriers and motivations, frame the challenge, and develop and test solutions. The sprint team in this case consisted of union employees, two shop stewards and ReSearch Humanity.

Udviklingsprocessen for dette projekt bestod af følgende skridt: forstå, skitser løsninger, lav prototype, test løsning, tilpas løsning, tilpas prototype, test løsning, planlæg udrulning
Den overordnede udviklingsproces

In order to evaluate whether the first aligned solution would result in the reaction we sought for in members, we developed a prototype and tested it on members. Through one-on-one interviews, members reacted to the developed features and content, and contributed with detailed feedback on how they experienced the app. After receiving this feedback, ReSearch Humanity again met with the union team to iterate on the solutions. Having found new solution to solve elements that wasn't working ideally and identifying quick fixes, we fine tuned the prototype to reflect these changes and took a new round of user testing.

As a final step of the process, we looked at the final changes to be made after the last round of testing, and completed a workshop where we identified objectives and key results, which the team should work towards in the final development and execution fase. As part of this workshop, we also created a timeline for final development and execution, and addressed how the team could solve key challenges during the coming four months.

The result

High fives mellem deltagerne da vi havde fundet en fælles løsning vi skulle gå videre med i den resterende udviklingsproces
High fives efter, at teamet blev enig om en samlet løsning

As a result of our development process, the team has developed a prototype, which is ready to be forwarded to the developers. We also have a timeline and plan for the core steps the team is about to take up until launch date. Finally, with the tangible and measurable objectives and key results, the team has valuable tools to address and explain their priorisations regarding the app.

In addition to having developed a solution, which will create value for their members, the Danish Metalworkers' Union has also gained insights in regard to execution and facilitation of the design sprint. This will strengthen the team, as they are empowered to enhance their use of co-creation, workshops and development processes in their daily work as well as in focused development projects.

ReSearch Humanity's role

ReSearch Humanity's role in development processes as the current, can be summarized in the following bulletpoints:

  • Design of target group analysis

  • Conduction of interview with members

  • Tailoring of design sprint

  • Design of supporting workshops

  • Facilitation & counseling during the development process

  • Reporting & final recommendations

Gennem udviklingsprocessen hjælper ReSearch Humanity med design af proces, facilitering, målgruppeanalyse og rådgivning
Karoline Barkvoll Holstad fra ReSearch Humanity faciliterer

Other central elements for ReSearch Humanity's work in this and similar projects is to contribute to alignment of the team, and to help identify and address challenges and barriers that can challenge or delay the execution of the agreed upon solution.

Including the target group

As we conduct different development processes, such as the design sprint, there exists several opportunities to include the target group in the process. The classic approach would be to conduct target group interviews before going into the sprint, as well as during the sprint, when we test the prototype. This level of inclusion of target group input will contribute with valuable insights for the development team, as we e.g. seek to strengthen the satisfaction among members.

Members' feedback on a prototyped solution can in many cases be particularly valuable. This is due to the concrete, detailed and realistic feedback that user testing can contribute with, as we test wether or not the solution influences given barriers and motivations. As a result of these user tests, we can minimize the risk for underlying misunderstandings of how we can meet target group needs in the solution we develop. Additionally, testing a solution on the target group, can be a great benefit if the team wants to test two competing solutions.

For at integrere målgruppens perspektiver fuldt ud i udviklingsprocessen, blev medlemmer og tillidsrepræsentanter inddraget i udviklingsprocessen for at få deres tilbagemeldinger og bidrag når løsningerne skulle udvikles
Også målgruppen blev inkluderet på flere niveauer i udviklingsprocessen og design sprinten

While this classic solution is an excellent option, many development processes will benefit from a more extensive inclusion of target groups in the actual development workshops, inviting them to be a part of the development team. This is particularly the case for organisations and unions, as well as public actors, who work to create change for or among communities.

Now you might ask, why particularly these actors?

While the answer to this can be multifaceted, we can identify three main reasons.

1. First, in many communities, organisations and other actors will receive validation from the community by including members at all levels of the development process. Abstaining this inclusion, however, might cause negative attention as the solution might miss vital features that the community could have contributed with, if they were included.

2. Consequently, the second reason is that many of these actors follow the premis of "nothing about us without us". Thus, including members who have lived experiences relevant for the challenge can contribute with novel perspectives that can be vital for the development of the solution.

3. Finally, many of the challenges these actors seek to solve, highly benefit from community members who experience ownership of the solution or initiative.

This was also the case for the Danish Metalworkers' Union, as we invited two shop stewards to take part in the design sprint in order to find solutions for the app targeted to members. The shop stewards took part in the process as we identified target group needs and developed and got aligned on a solution. As a result of getting the contributions from the shop stewards, we not only Not only did the shop stewards contribute with highly valuable perspectives during the development process, they themselves also found it valuable to be part of developing a solution, which benefited members, themselves and other shop stewards.

So, if you are one of these actors who work with and for communities, I highly recommend including the target group to the highest degree possible, as you go on to your next development journey.

If you are working on campaigns, I have also written a blog post on how the target group can be included in the development and content making of campaigns.


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