By engaging both service users and service providers in developing and testing solutions, the SPIDER project created new services that were citizen-focused, desirable to use and inclusive.
For example, in Ireland, the Northern and Western Regional Assembly, working with the Institute of Technology Sligo, applied the SPIDER approach to increase dementia patients’ independence and to reduce fatigue of relatives taking care of them at home. The project identified the reasons for career fatigue team interviewed both patients and their careers and organised workshops to investigate the causes of carer fatigue. This revealed a problem with a lack of free time, particularly at the weekend. In the North West of Ireland care services and day centres, which provide respite for the carer, typically run only from Monday to Thursday.
As a result of these workshops, they created a six-month pilot service for Saturday day centres. During this time, carers provided details of the impact the service had had on their fatigue. They reported being able to spend time with family and friends at the weekend, which had reduced the pressure on them. SPIDER’s financial review indicated that Saturday Day Centres like this offered a sustainable solution.
The 8 pilots created valuable examples of the benefit of service design, and these findings and the toolkit have been used for the training of civil servants. Additionally, more than 560 regional, national and European policy makers participated in the organized workshops or were reached through the organisation of public events. The project was also approached by organisations in Greece and Poland on transferring experience and solutions to youth unemployment.
Overall, this project demonstrated the added value of service design, and provided better citizen experiences at a lower cost. They also proved to be cost effective for public authorities as the solutions corresponded directly to the user needs, avoiding costly changes following failed implementation.