THE CITY AS A PLATFORM

A concept strategy to transform the municipality of Helsingborg

Client: The Municipality of Helsingborg
Role: Designer, Creative strategist
Team: 5 people, Full time
Span: 8 weeks

Background

Creating digital futures: Our project learning mission from Hyper Island was to focus on the ecology of the organization, exploring the theory and practice of organizational development and change processes. Our team of 5 digital media creatives packed our bags and went down to live and work in Helsingborg for 8 weeks.

 

Brief: The City as a Platform
Helsingborg has a vision of how the city should be like in 2035; a creative, vibrant, united, global and balanced city for the people and businesses. They also want to attract young creatives to come live in Helsingborg and feel the openness of the city so they can live and breath their creativity.

 

Our task was to work towards defining the idea of the city becoming a platform for the citizens and visitors of Helsingborg, now and in the future. How can we spark engagement and build the co-creating community of tomorrow? The desired outcome was to be delivered in form of documented research, relevant ideas, prototypes and strategies.

 

Challenges

Get the municipality and the inhabitants in the same boat when it comes to changes the 2035 vision will bring to the city.

 

The inhabitants’ image of the municipality as an organisation are somehow only focused on education and health care, when their job is much more complex and it’s actually to create a city worth living in and visit.

 

Process

We started off by settling a broad foundation of information by attending and facilitating workshops about the future visions, challenges and opportunities for Helsingborg. From these workshops we found a number of insights that we could take with us and have a deeper look.

 

 

From one of the internal workshops we held.

Results on post-its from the vision workshop.

During this research period we did mostly individual work presenting the results to the rest of the team in the end of the day. We could quickly find areas of interest among the individuals in the group and could from there divide the work.

We set a structure based on Google Ventures “Design sprint” which is a five day process for quick ideation, prototyping and testing. We tried it out and quickly found out that we would need more time than five days to work with our finding.


We took the process further by going deeper into the areas we found interesting during our research and boiled it down to five main insights. During this we combined team work with individual work to get the most out of every individual without loosing the collective intelligence.


From these insights we formed an combined insights report and action plan that Helsingborgs city can use when planning their future.

Delivery

As we got into the research phase, we soon realized that this project was already too complex to boil into three prototypes of ideas as we first had estimated. This meant that the delivery was comprising of an insights report where we elaborated on the most valuable insights of today, how this would look in the future and what concrete actions Helsingborg should do in order to meet the expectations of the insights. (Read the full insights report here.)

 

We created a prototype of a platform, which is one of the concrete actions Helsingborg should do today. The platform is essentially a means for people with an interest in Helsingborg to effect and make suggestions to the development of the city. Explained simply, it is a mix of a traditional e-petition site, liquid democracy and reddit.com.

Anyone can post an idea, or petition. Politicians publish their petitions that are up for debate. The petitions are then made available for up- and down voting. Moderators support the

publishers and maintain the content on the site, and all petitions are open for commenting.


We also included a strategy that describes proof of concept, the role of the municipality, a suggestion of how the back-end system could work and how they could communicate it to the world (see strategy below or read here).

Mock-ups of the main functions of the platform.

A visual mood describing the transformational strategy we created together with the city of Helsingborg. This is for a non-commercial purpose.

Edited by Mark Vesterlund.

Read the full insights report here.

Read the full platform strategy here.