Coming back to your RSS feeds after a long time is a bit like seeing an old friend after too long: it can take a bit of time to get going, but there are so many interesting things to catch-up on; so much fun to be had.
I managed a partial catch-up last night and came across a post from GDS exploring whether their new User Research Lab (to test user experience on their sites) has been worth the investment.
The conclusion of the post is yes. This is for all sorts of reasons, including the bottom-line, as the Lab will pay for itself in less than three years. Money aside, there are a number of other compelling reasons why the Lab has been helpful to GDS. One that stood out for me was that having the Lab in the same building as GDS means that senior staff will now often pop down to watch part of a session.
“It’s been considerably easier to get senior management involved when they only have to pop downstairs instead of across town. That’s a major win. Making recommendations based on research is a whole lot easier when the decision makers have seen users interacting with a service first hand.”
This set me thinking. People inside and outside government involved in running public engagement processes aimed at influencing policy processes face a number of different challenges. One of these is ensuring that senior policy makers take part in the process in order to understand exactly how it works and why the evidence that emerges is so valuable for the decision they have to take.
What would it mean if every government department that consults with the public on a frequent basis had a Participation Lab somewhere in the building where the majority of their senior policy makers work?
There would be lots of challenges to overcome for a Participation Lab to be set-up, even in one department. However, as a thought-experiment would it be a good idea? Or are there bigger challenges to overcome?
Most catch-ups with old friends veer between serious life conversations and silliness. Ideas spark, old and new connections get made, some useful and many forgotten. Even if this is a mad pre-Christmas idea, I will visit my RSS feeds more often, it was fun.
Photo credit: sydneyuni