• BDO Digital co-designs Buurtlink, a
    social game to help unemployed
    single parents to find a job more easily
Case study:

BDO Digital co-designs Buurtlink, a social game to help unemployed single parents to find a job more easily

14 August 2019

“The goal is to challenge unemployed single parents to organise an event of their choice for (and together with) the neighbourhood.”

Challenge

To increase the chances for unemployed people to find a job, a lot of initiatives have already been taken. However, almost none of them specifically target the barriers unemployed single parents have to overcome. That is why, in collaboration with the Vereniging van Vlaamse Steden en Gemeenten (Association of Flemish Cities and Municipalities), in short VVSG, we tried to fill this gap in public services. This project was supported by the European Social Fund (ESF).

Approach

Firstly, we needed to deepen our knowledge about the context and the specific issues unemployed single parents face when finding a job. We opted for a human centred design and service design tools like group discussions, diary studies and interviews with employers and experts to identify specific barriers. Some of these barriers include lack of social network, lack of holistic public services and inability to ‘sell’ their own competences (e.g. perseverance and planning) when trying to find a job.

Secondly, we created multiple drafts based on the insights we gathered with the goal to overcome those specific barriers. These ideas were presented to peers, experts and unemployed single parents.

In the end, one draft was chosen to be designed in real life. In collaboration with OCMW Turnhout and Sint-Niklaas, multiple prototypes were built to set up a first pilot.

Results

Our project resulted in Buurtlink, a grown-up social game in which unemployed single parents from a specific neighbourhood participate. The goal of the game is to challenge the unemployed parents to organise an event of their choice for (and together with) the neighbourhood. During the process of organising the event, three things are being stimulated:

  1. The social connection with local people is enhanced;
  2. Different generic competences are trained (such as problem solving, finding and managing resources in the neighbourhood) which can help the participant in finding a job;
  3. A context of ‘being at work’ is created during the game, in which participants face real-life work difficulties and are challenged to find a solution, among others for child day care.

The result of the project is a package containing a toolkit, training and coaching for other municipalities so that they can implement Buurtlink in their own neighbourhoods.