Feb - June, 2021
Newham Council, Hackney Council, York Council,
Delivery teams and
employees in the public sector
2 Service Designers
Ensuring learning is prioritised in the public sector organisations so that the organisations can embed new practises to meet the needs of community in a more efficient manner.
We redefined learning in the public sector through key interventions that focus on effective learning, so that the people in the organisation can be better engage in learning new practices and shape transformation.
Multiple local councils across England show interest in embedding our service into their organisations and working with us to take the project forward.
The public sector aims to meet the needs of the communities. By embedding and learning new practices, the public sector can achieve its goal in a more efficient way. We believe there is a need for organisations to learn how to address changing needs in the most effective manner. In this project, we are sowing the seeds of transformation through engaged learning, so that learning can be prioritised in organisations. We achieved this by co-creating our solutions with many key players in the public sector.
The problem is, you walk away and [the learning] doesn’t embed”.
We initially took a hypothesis-driven approach to understand why learnings were not being retained in Councils. We realised that the bigger problem was that learning was not prioritised in councils. Learning not being retained was a consequence of it not being prioritised. The goal of the council is to meet the needs of the community. Old ways were working, so they didn't have to learn new practices to achieve their goal. But they are time and resource-heavy and, in the long term, rigid.
So we think there is a need for organisations to learn how to address changing needs in the most efficient manner.
To meet the needs of the community, the council needs to have effective practices. These effective practices need to be learned and embedded. We see an opportunity here - ensuring learning is prioritised
We started at the heart of the learning ecosystem, with the delivery teams wanting to deliver learnings/ trainings, and engaged employees, who are willing to learn and are our changemakers. Engaged employees account for 25% of employees in the public sector. Their respective needs differ in the learning process:
They need to be constantly present for any learning to be retained.
They need to align to different learning styles for better engagement within a team.
They seek support to deepen and enrich their learnings.
They have different engagement styles, and this affects their agency in learning.
They are also keen to find like-minded peers who can learn with them.
Helping employees to be more involved in their learning, and to aid delivery teams in creating the space for employees to do so. We do this by creating engagement in the learning process
Ideate, Prototype & Test
Our process of validation was step-by-step. First, seeing whether the need for learning was valid, then understanding the priorities of the delivery teams and their involvement in the process, and testing what excited our delivery teams to validate our vision.
Our key sights were:
Delivery teams wanted to define how they used the tool, and they wanted tools for different purposes, not to fit into just one process.
Delivery teams, while needing engagement, are not always likely to participate in helping employees apply and reflect on their learnings, and so, decided to widen the scope of our solution to include Engaged employees as well.
We created SEED - a hybrid of tools and services for delivery teams and employees to engage with new practices by targeting the phases of learning and trying to alleviate the needs of the employees and delivery teams in the public sector.
Learning Style Survey
We designed the survey based on our findings of different learning styles, their preferences, interests, and priorities, which could help deliver teams identify the composition of a learning group, and allow the engaged employees to understand their learning behaviours.
Learning Style Guideline
We highlight the importance of different learning styles. This helps delivery teams identify, and onboard different engagement styles in the learning process. Delivery teams can use this tool to understand the composition of their learning cohort before delivering learnings, for more meaningful and productive conversations around common interests and goals.
Our question prompts are a way to help the learners define their own progress. We use provocations to help learners create milestones in their reflection and subsequent application of learning.
Learning Group Guideline
This tool can be useful to keep track of this progress or growth through individual reflection and self-organised learning, which is also a way for employees to meet like-minded peers and initiates informal knowledge transfer, while also allowing reflection.
Future application and Vision
User research - understanding the key success that the team values the most.
Our learning style guidelines help delivery teams understand the composition of their learning cohort.
Delivery teams will be able to plan ahead and design courses with this knowledge of the different learning styles.
Capability building - creating an agile cycle for teams for fast learning.
The goal of learning in the public sector is to grow capabilities within a larger team because learning is not isolated to individuals. Our question prompts can be used in a team to define the new actions for developing capabilities and reflecting together. Then, Learning groups can become a regular practice within teams, dedicated to building communities of learnings
Team building: teams can learn how to work with each other better to tackle challenges
Our learning group guidelines are designed to open lines of conversation between delivery teams and employees. The scope of this tool can be widened to create ways for team members to understand each other better.
This growing knowledge of each other opens up opportunities to effectively address challenges together by targeting team strengths.
Turning our challenges into strengths. We had a bumpy ride to seek for partnership, instead, we’ve reached out to various organisations in the public sector, which helped us consider every barrier and our solutions can work with any of the constraints of the most public sector.
Recognising an individual's agency. We acknowledged that the needs and priorities are different across organisations and learners. It's important to keep our tools simple and flexible to accommodate different needs.