Over the last 8 months, our team has been working with municipalities in Utrecht to explore how Community Reporting methodologies can be used to support their service design and implementation when addressing ‘wicked’ problems.

Late last year, the team from Houten were initially trained as Community Reporters themselves, equipping them with the skills to capture insight stories about issues concerning unemployment, specifically in terms of investigating the mismatch between employment opportunities/employers expectations and the skills/experiences of the people who were looking for work. This training enabled them to understand more about the methodology of our practice, explore how it could be implemented locally and to work with our team to design a plan for its usage as part of a co-creation pilot.

Earlier this year, the team went on to the next stage of their Community Reporting journey and up-skilled to become Community Reporter trainers themselves. They’ve used this learning to train others and have begun to collect some insight stories. With the stories flowing in, we revisited the team to introduce our story curation model and support them to use it to analyse the stories they were gathering. Initial findings from the stories include the identification of barriers to employment such as taxation issues and difficulties in navigating the support systems available, as well as potential solutions to such challenges, namely bespoke coaching.

With this initial learning, the team then worked with us to start planning how they could start to make practical interventions using our Conversation of Change process. As part of this, facilitation techniques for engaging different stokeholders in dialogue with one another were explored, as well as what types of change they are hoping to create. The team are currently in the process of finishing their story gathering and analysis, and working on ideas for their Conversation of Change events. We’ll give you an update later in the year on how they take the knowledge of lived experience and transform it into action as part of their public services!

These activities are part of an Horizon 2020 funded project – CoSIE – that seeks to investigate the co-creation of public services across Europe through practically applied research techniques.

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