So­cialde­partem­en­tet, SVID

Empowering youth to feel more in control

Being in touch with Social Services can be confusing and challenging for young people. The app concept “Kollen” was designed to increase young people’s influence over their situation through better information and provides a secure and accessible channel to engage with social workers.

Through funding from Vinnova, the Swedish innovation agency, we have been able to continue this project into a second phase. In Kollen 2.0 we have taken the concept further and made a prototype, which we have tested with people in the potential target groups and gathered valuable feedback to move forward into potential development of an app.

If you send an sms you don’t know if the social worker has read or is about to reply. It’s good to be able to see that. And sms costs money, but you can always find free internet somewhere – like the library.

Young person in touch with social services

Background

Swedish social workers only spend 2% of their time in direct contact with children and young people, according to a recent study. The Department of Social affairs in collaboration with SKL (the Swedish Association of Local Municipalities and Regions) and SVID (the Swedish Industrial Design Foundation) gave Ocean the task of investigating how to increase young people’s influence over their situation when in contact with social services.

We conducted 24 in-depth interviews with young people, social workers and experts. Through our research we defined three building blocks that together form the foundation for increasing influence; Availability, Information and Relationship.

The existing channels for communication were viewed by many as outdated and failing to meet young people’s needs for privacy and availability. We also found that some young people lacked basic and essential information, such as what would happen next in the process and the meaning of important terms like “investigation”. The personal relationship with the social worker was described as absolutely crucial, and as both affecting and affected by all other building blocks.

The concept

The app concept “Kollen” (≈ Keeping Track) was created as an answer to the needs discovered in the research process. Kollen helps young people keep track of, and understand, their process with social services through an interactive timeline. The app also improves availability and relationship-building by providing a secure and private channel of communication to social workers.

The concept was created in collaborative workshops where young people and social workers came together to co-design a solution. The solution was presented at a nation-wide series of conferences for social service workers and has been very well received, with many municipalities signing up to be part of the development.

Read more about this project

Read the report to get a deeper understanding about the insights from our interviews and how we created the "Kollen" app concept. Report (in Swedish)

“This app would definitely be a step in the right direction to improve the work of relationship-building in social services for children and youth.”

Cecilia Grefve

National Coordinator for social services for children and adolescents, The Swedish Department of Social affairs