Designit takes home two awards for public service projects at DOGA Innovation Awards
OSLO, NORWAY, 16th January 2024 - Designit, the Wipro-owned global experience innovation consultancy, has taken home two awards for inclusive design at the prestigious Design and Architecture Norway (DOGA) Innovation Awards.
The first project that was selected by judges as award-worthy involved transportation around the city of Oslo. Trams make up a core part of the Oslo municipality’s public transportation infrastructure; however, after experiencing rapid population growth combined with ageing tram stock, the capacity and accessibility of the tram network began to fall short of demand.
The result of this seven-year project, which began in 2015, was a completely new tram for the city of Oslo, designed with the specific needs of the residents in mind. The SL18 tram increases the capacity of the network, improves passenger flow, and improves the accessibility of the network for the elderly, disabled, and childcarers while reducing operating and maintenance costs for the municipality.
With cost-saving measures front of mind to ensure the best use of public funds, the SL18, designed in collaboration with Sporveien and Ruter, is based on a standard tram model, the Urbos 100, from the Spanish company CAF. After undertaking rigorous user testing, Designit, Sporveien, and Ruter identified modifications to the model that would benefit employees and users alike. Featuring more doors, fewer obstacles in the cabin, step-free access, and further enhancements to assist the visually and physically impaired, the new trams are enjoyed by 90% of travellers, as reported in customer satisfaction surveys.
The team at Designit credits the user testing with delivering these improvements, easily identifying areas of the carriage that needed modification, emphasising the value of integrating design into procurement and selecting a model which was easily modifiable, saving the project time and money.
Speaking on the importance of user testing, Anders Wergeland, Director Project & Technology Trams Sporveien, said, “In the beginning, I thought user-involvement was a waste of resources, but now I am convinced it was totally worth it and supporting similar investments in the future.”
The new trams, which replace the previous fleet comprised of models from the 1970s and 1990s, are also more environmentally friendly compared to the previous fleet, operating at the lowest energy consumption per passenger kilometre as compared to other modes of transport. The seven-year project marking the first design-driven procurement process undertaken by Designit.
Designit also took home the Innovation Award for Universal Design for its bridging service, designed to ease the transition from junior high school to high school for teens in the Grünerløkka district of Oslo. The project aimed to lower dropout rates and systematise support for the youth of the Grünerløkka district, which, despite proactive efforts from the education department, had seen dropout rates rise to 50% over the previous ten years. Built with Do No Harm, a framework championed by Designit that takes cues from the medical field to impart a level of responsibility to creative fields, the bridging service is built with inclusivity front of mind to pre-empt and manage issues that may arise.
Research from Designit indicated that 80% of those who complete the first semester of high school go on to graduate, which, combined with further research that sought to understand the complex and often intersectional causes of dropout, led Designit to create a new role in the education system - The Bridging Guide.
To date, two cohorts of students have received assistance from the bridging guides, leading to staggering results compared to the average. Students who sought the help of these individuals had an average bridge rate of 97%, greatly increasing the likelihood that they then go on to complete their education program.
Dr. Pardis Shafafi, Global Responsible Business Lead, Designit, said, “Experience innovation is core to our mission at Designit, and the results of these projects are testament to the impact that considered design practices can have on people's day-to-day lives. Education and transportation are core functions that have a massive impact on the quality of life of residents, but focussing on the macro societal results often neglects the micro experiences of everyday people.
“While the tram project predated Do No Harm, the considerations made to ensure those with accessibility needs were accounted for, very much forms the ethos behind the framework we would later formalise. The bridging project, however, was built from the ground up with Do No Harm principles woven throughout. At every stage from conception to delivery, we consulted the principles inspired by the medical field. This included validating ideas where instead of blindly subjecting users to testing, we instead used proxy users understanding that students would be put in a vulnerable position by these tests.
“These projects were designed for real, everyday people with those needs front and centre throughout the whole process. We’re honoured to receive these awards from DOGA and hope to continue working with the municipality of Oslo and many others to improve the lives of people everywhere.”
Stein-Fredrik Fossum, Strategic Design Lead, Designit, added, “Service design is well understood in Norway, but there is still room for applying the process to more areas of business and public services. As is evident from the results of the bridging service and the tram project, when you combine a service that genuinely wants to improve the experience of its users with a solution that fully understands the needs of those users, you see great results. One might think of service providers and users in the context of private businesses, but these concepts are just as important to public life. Citizens are users of transportation networks, healthcare systems, municipal systems, and education systems. Improving the quality of these services improves the quality of life of those that use them.
“Marking the first time that design principles were used this thoroughly in the procurement process, the tram project, in particular, is evidence of how impactful inclusive design principles can be when embedded early on rather than retrofitted. By incorporating these principles into the procurement process, we were able to help the Oslo municipality make use of a standard tram model, albeit with modifications to the cabin and driver’s cab, in order to better its transport infrastructure. Which, compared to the cost of a bespoke build, allowed Oslo municipality to better people’s lives in both a fiscally and socially responsible way.”
Jannicke Hølen, Senior Advisor Design, Design and Architecture Norway (DOGA), said, “Every design decision has the potential to include or exclude people. Inclusive design is about designing for a diversity of people and their needs. The category winners of the Innovation Award for Inclusive Design represent new products, services, and digital solutions are role model projects on diversity, equality, and universal design in practice. Designing user-friendly solutions that reduce barriers and arouse enthusiasm in use is important for competitiveness in the business sector and helps to lift society as a whole.”
For more information on the bridging service and the SL18 trams, please visit SL18 Tram for all - Sporveien and Bridging Service for the schools of Bydel Grünerløkka.
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About Designit, a Wipro company
Designit is a global experience innovation company with creativity at our core. For more than 30 years, we’ve helped businesses build competitive advantage and deliver positive change through creative pragmatism. We use our expertise in strategy, design, marketing, and tech to create bespoke solutions to the most complex of client problems. Our clients include BMW, Kraft-Heinz, and Microsoft. Across 14 locations from Aarhus to Australia, we’re home to 700+ designers, analysts, creators, strategists, and marketers, united by a single ambition to create the change we want to see in the world and turn innovation into progress that can be shared by all. To learn more, follow us @designit or visit www.designit.com.