The workshop looked at how the user story technique might help us to redesign democracy around what people need. User stories are simple statements always written in the same way:
As a... I need to... So I can...
You can see the set up for the workshop plus some background links over at the event website here.
Our mission, as with all the other workshops, was to come up with three ideas for local democracy that people could take forward and work on.
Three user stories
The three actions from this workshop came as three user stories (I've simplified a little):
1. As a local resident I need to see council reports in a form I can easily digest so I can understand the decisions that are being made
2. As a disengaged voter I need to understand why politics should be of interest to me so I can work out whether to vote and who to vote for
3. As a council policy officer I need to see through the eyes of the public so I can deliver good solutions to the actual problems people face
It's worth saying a little about the process just because the workshop went a little differently to any I've run before - I have been trying to learn a little from the principles of service design and apply those.
- I brought a lot of cards with me and put some instructions on the back
- These were then handed out to people at the event who were asked to write their user stories and post them in the ballot box (provided by @72prufrocks - thanks!)
- By the time we came to the workshop we had collected about 40 cards which turned out be just right for the time we had
- For the workshop we stood up in a group and, discussing each card in turn, sorted them and stuck them on the wall under one of four headings; 'mmm, not sure what that means'; 'yes, this need is already met'; 'woah, that will need a big change'; and 'yes, definitely one to think about'.
- We then sorted the ones we had in the last pile between; 'small difference'; 'some difference'; and 'big difference' piles and we were left with 6 cards which we discussed and reduced to three.
- This all took about 40 minutes.
I think it worked pretty well and group were happy with the final choices - well done guys!
Well our challenge is to work on these stories and come up with solutions. At the end of the event everyone had a chance to sign up to working on things they wanted to change so think of this post as just a first step - watch this space and let me know if you want to get involved.
Here are some other user stories from the event to give you a flavour of the discussions:
As a person living with a loved one in a care home I need to understand the democratic accountability for his care so I can decide how to vote in a way that will make a difference and know who to hold to account when things go wrong
As a resident I need to be more aware of what my local council are doing so I can have more say in how I live in my home
As a student I need to be more aware of what is happening in local government so I can solidify my future
As a regular traveller I need to find ways to connect with the work of the council so I can volunteer and contribute when I have time available
As a fun loving individual I need to feel that I can be myself in meetings, when writing letters etc... so I can express myself freely
As a youth council coordinator I need to reach more young people so I can empower them!
As a broadcast journalist I need to raise awareness of the local council so I can get people more involved in politics