Service Lab

An application for inventing new regional services


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FR France

In development

About the project Edit

Service Lab is an online application designed by the User Studio agency that allows the people of the Hauts-de-Garonne (Bordeaux) to develop new services for their region. The inspiration for the application sprang from the community immersion phase of “Territoires en résidences”, a project created to stimulate social innovation in an urban setting, carried out in 2009 by User Studio. This initiative was made possible by the support of the Associations des Régions de France, the European Commision as part of the Europ’Act program, the Deposits and Consignment Fund and the Fondation Internet Nouvelle Génération (FING). The project addressed the four cities on the right bank of Bordeaux in the Aquitaine region: Bassens, Lormont, Cenon and Floirac.

The mayor of a particular city can use the community Service Lab to locate the highest rated services for that district or to quickly identify the categories of commonly listed services. Similarly, residents wishing to help improve their neighbourhoods can use the service to easily locate and join existing projects in their area or offer their expertise by commenting on these projects. Service Lab is a veritable tool for citizen collaboration. Beyond this application, Service Lab can be used as a facilitation aid for creative workshops to help institutional partners and the local community collaborate to develop, geolocate and launch new local services. This project has empowered citizens to become accountable for the development of new urban services, allowed them to master the digital tools related to urban territories and has even stimulated the development of innovative street furniture that represent a fusion of digital and physical space. An example of this type of installation is the “greffe à idées,” a physical representation of the ideas posted on Service Lab’s online creative commons placed in its real geographic context.

In what ways is this project unique and creative? Edit

The project emphasizes three main functions of its online software accessible at
1. Development
-Targeting small plots of vacant land such as, les Berges du Lac, the Parc des Coteaux, the industrial field, etc.—potential locations for future services;
-Adding descriptions of specific aspects of services such as geolocation, regional context, season, necessary equipment, target population;
-Creating a short two to three-word description of how the project will work;
-Publication: services are instantly pinpointed on a digital map and posted in an idea library.
2. Inform:
-Access to the idea library via a regional map.
3. Exchange:
-Opportunity to post commentary on different service ideas submitted.

The “carottage numérique” method was the basis of the approach taken by the visiting field workers for the project immersion phase. This method consists of exploring a region, which is rather large in the case of a metropolis, by starting at a specific geographical point. Relevant projects are then proposed for this location and the surrounding area. In this way, field workers do not end up getting lost in an exhaustive study of the city’s urban territory.

What is the social value of this project? Edit

The Service Lab platform was created for the use of all the relevant players in the region: citizens, associations, designers, informal groups, media, businesses and public figures, who are considered both users and innovators. It is not necessary to possess previous knowledge of digital tools since the user interface should be as simple, visual and intuitive as possible to simplify the creation of project proposals for the consideration of decision-makers—a real issue in participative democracy. A specialized facilitator must lead the immersion phase (User Lab is a design agency that specializes in the creation of digital products and services) over a short mobilization period of about three weeks. It may also be necessary to implicate a sociologist as part of the residency team.

What is the potential of this project to expand and develop? Edit

This initiative is essentially the facilitation of multi-community citizen creativity and can be extended to other regions without any cultural or linguistic limitations or weaknesses since the facilitation tools are purely visual. Furthermore, the content developed during the immersion phase is released under a creative commons license, which authorizes its free reproduction and distribution. However, the software tool is owned by User Studio.

What was the triggering factor of this project? Edit

What is the business model of this project? Edit

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