Fix it! Building a solution for the City of Zurich’s School & Sport department to report damages
Public Services & NGOs
Services
Prototyping & Testing
Applied Methods

→ Qualitative user interviews
→ Best practice research
→ Wireframing
→ User testing
→ Roadmapping
→ Design sprint

Digital tools

→ Zoom
→ Miro

Duration

3 Months

client
challenge
The City of Zurich wanted to find a common system that would help school, kindergarten and daycare staff to easily report and then fix any maintenance issues. From a broken door knob to reporting graffiti, the city sought an easy to use tool that would actually be used by school and daycare personnel as well as janitorial staff.
Process
Qualitative research
Design sprints
Prototyping
User testing
Analysis

Qualitative research

To begin, we carried out a qualitative exploratory user research in which the team conducted semi-structured interviews with teachers, daycare personnel and janitors (who would be the main users of the application). We supported the team in understanding their current reporting behaviour as well as the needs and pain points associated with it.

Design sprint

We continued with making sense of the data gathered during the qualitative research as part of a 4-day Design Sprint. This analysis helped us identify the most pressing topics impacting the school staff from which we selected a problem to focus on (problem statement). After homing in on a challenge we started to work on ideas of how to resolve it. Concentrating on 3-4 ideas we developed + tested several prototypes including a wireframe and a role play format.

Prototyping

While we were certain at this point that the benefits of our solution were obvious for janitors, it was unclear if teachers and day care personnel would actually use the solution. To understand this better, we developed a MVP(Minimum Viable Product) to further understand the solution in the everyday context. Developed by our partner Bitforge, the solution involved scanning the QR Code tied to the location, describing the damage and adding pictures.

User testing

The solution was launched as a pilot at three school locations for about three months and introduced briefly by the headmasters. Afterwards no interventions were made and the actual usage was observed quantitatively and qualitatively. A total of 136 reports were sent over this period. Following the pilot period Spark Works jointly with Bitforge ran qualitative video interviews to understand in-depth the advantages and problems of the MVP developed.

Analysis

It became clear that Fix it! orders were generally prioritised compared to traditional emails.  From housekeeping’s perspective, they didn’t forget notifications which meant damage was more reliably repaired. By taking photos of damages, they received fewer queries and long-winded messages because information could be directly recognised from the photos. They also saved time by not having to walk to the site to assess the damage directly. An initial concern was the level of acceptance by teachers and daycare personnel. However, there was a high adoption as they recognised the benefits of the solution. For example, teachers could report damage quickly on the spot and did not need to turn on their computers. This on-the-spot reporting meant they also reported more reliably and didn't need to remember to report the damage. Now, it could be dealt with at the moment and they could move back to their jobs.

“The newly created process in form of an app is very practical, fast and uncomplicated. The prototype really is self-explanatory.”

Teacher, Lavater School

outcome

Overall, the easy-to-use app also meant that the group of people reporting damages increased. The maintenance team encouraged the use of Fix it! And by the end of the three months it became the exclusive channel to report damages on.

The pilot received positive feedback from school staff. The City of Zurich plans to officially roll-out the FixIt solution system to all schools across the city within the next two years.

Project Lead
Daniel Perschy
Business Consultant
Daniel is academically trained in innovation management and business development and has previously gained industry experience within the banking and mining industry. He holds a MSc from Copenhagen Business School and a degree from Vienna University of Economics and Business. Innovation as a means of creative problem solving to benefit human, society and environment, requiring freedom, experimentability and diversity – this understanding is at heart when he collaborates with clients at Spark Works.
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