How might we ensure that the services we provide are both useful and desirable to our customers?



This was the ninth of our discovery sessions around the 10 ‘how might we’ questions that make up our current exploration pipeline.

Working out loud is one of our Lab guiding principles and we are really keen to share both our colleagues work and their ideas. We are sharing the high-level themes which emerge from each session, rather than waiting for them to be worked up into something more substantial. Following the sessions, the next steps will be for Innovation and Insight to work up some solid test plans based on what we learned and we will, of course, be sharing more about those in due course.

Workshop Summary

Discovery Session - How might we ensure that the services we provide are both useful and desirable to our customers.png

The output from previous service design work formed the starting point.

The problem is, we don’t currently know enough about the demand for / impact of,  the additional services we make available to customers. We don't always know whether our additional services are meeting the needs of our customers, or whether the services we currently provide are making a difference. 
Questions we would like to explore include:

  • Do we know what the impact of universal credit will be upon the way we deliver services?
  • Could services be better provided by communities themselves?
  • Which services could be better provided by communities themselves?
  • Are there any gaps in services or specialisms emerging?
  • Are our service outcome targets the right ones?

The objective is to deliver a coaching approach that encourages customers to do more for themselves and each other. This, in turn, should reduce demand on reactive services and switch investment towards value creating proactive activities. The localities approach is not a 9-5 model. Coaching is delivered according to what works for the customer. The coach owns the relationship and pulls in additional services as necessary - ensuring a seamless transition for the customer. 

The guiding principle here is ‘abandon activities that don’t add value’ and only create new services when business or customer need cannot be catered for through existing roles or within the community itself.

In order to stimulate and frame our discussion we provided colleagues with six 'how might we' questions:

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During conversation several key insights emerged:

  • The localities approach will play a key role in this work moving forward
  • Coaching colleagues is as essential as coaching customers
  • The boundary between the provision of additional services and the role of Neighbourhood Coaches is ever changing
  • Rather than plugging gaps that emerge by adding new services we should look at evolving the localities approach
  • Services should be constantly evolving in parallel with emerging need
  • This work should be about Bromford transferring skills to partners and people who live in our communities before stepping back from delivering services ourselves
  • Human centred design is central to the development of our service offer
  • Customers have to own responsibility for achieving their outcomes in order for behaviour change to be sustainable

During the workshop, some key principles emerged and colleagues were keen for us to test ways to bring each principle to life:

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Some ideas suggested by colleagues include:

  • Community Champions - Seeking out trusted members of  the community (school gate experts) and providing them with key knowledge and skills so that they might better support their communities
  • Social Prescribing - Colleagues work within communities to map existing provision and ‘knit’ collaborative support networks to which people can be referred
  • Colleague Coaching Pool - Set up a pool of coaches who are there to coach colleagues and help them achieve a range of outcomes (not customers)
  • Back to the floor - All colleagues spend time in our localities so they truly understand impact of service decisions

We will use the emergent themes from this workshop to form part of the principles which will ultimately inform the tests that we will be developing with colleagues over the coming weeks. A key priority will be around learning more about what support already exists within our communities and how we can work with customers, communities and partners in order to identify and respond to ever-changing need.

You can keep an eye on our progress by checking out our exploration pipeline



@simon_penny & @ChelleKButler