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Knock Knock

Knock Knock is a community service that provides physical and digital tools to kick-start conversation and nurture an environment encouraging sharing and collaboration.

Scope 

Problem framing

Concept validation

Piloting ideas

Client

whg

(Housing sector)

Duration

Jan.-Jul. 2020

My Role

Service design

Product design 

User research

Design strategy

Workshop facilitation

Prototype

Branding design

 

WHAT'S THE CONTEXT?

This project aims to explore "how we can build stronger social layers in communities across the UK by increasing local social opportunities available to current and future residents". This is because social alienation, isolation and disconnection has become an urgent issue among individuals in urban spaces, despite population density  increasing. This can partly be as a result of living digital lives, a highly commercialised approach to development and the psychological barriers to developing trust and channels which allow people to share, connect and collaborate.

 

In light of the existing global pandemic these issues demand an urgent response. The emerging and increasing needs of society and industries since the COVID-19 pandemic include; addressing cohesion, increasing social connection, and enabling greater access to existing assets within communities for improved resilience, as well as increased opportunities for collaboration, sharing and support.

THE CHALLENGE

Reshaping deprived living communities in Walsall, and creating an environment that encourages sharing and collaboration.

​Building  trust among residents and kick-starting conversation between neighbours.

AIMS

• To improve the relationship between residents in Walsall.

• To increase  mutual trust & the number of activities between communities.

• To reduce operational burden inside of the organisation.

OUTCOME

Knock Knock aims to help housing associations and letting agencies foster a sense of belonging for the residents in their communities and improve community cohesion. 

Having presented a prototype of the final concept to 25 residents for approval, 90% of people were in favour of the Knock Knock idea and were very satisfied. 

We pitched this idea to +40 whg stakeholders and 99% of them agreed to allocate resources to pilot the idea within their communities with 4 high-rise apartments & 40 residents followed by a scaling plan for partnering with other community services, such as HealthWatch and Aico fire service.

DESIGN APPROACH

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WHY IS THIS A PROBLEM?

Urgent need to tackle social isolation and loneliness

By 2050, 70% of the world's population will live in a city. We're going to experience the highest rates of population density. Unfortunately, there is also an alarming increase in our ability to connect with our communities. 27% of UK residents feel a sense of loneliness and isolation. We partnered with an influential stakeholder in the urban ecosystem - a housing group, whg - with a portfolio of 24,000+ homes, and who are keen to improve community cohesion.

 

We also interviewed a range of residents to understand their perspectives. "I feel quite lonely since I just moved into my building and I don’t know how to meet more people,” said one Walsall resident. Similar sentiments were echoed by others who they felt it was difficult to interact with other residents.​

Engaging with your neighbours and community promotes social cohesion

At the core of this problem is that there might be a missing component in the resident experience that could allow residents to connect with their community members and inform them of the resources available to them for sharing, collaboration and support within the community. 

 

Based on our qualitative research, our hypothesis suggested a conscious approach to introduce people to their communities and integrate them to promote stronger social cohesion. Social cohesion can be measured based on the strength of social relationships, characterised by the presence of trust and participation among individuals within that society. 

CULTURAL PROBE

Investigating 15 people to confirm initial assumptions.

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HYPOTHESIS FRAMING

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#1 

If we provide practical tools to residents to increase social opportunities 

then we will help residents improve relationships

because people would like to know their neighbours and look out for each other.

#2 

If we create a platform that can increase physical activities in a community

then it can transform a deprived community into an environment that encourages sharing and collaboration

because people are happy to participate in group activities and improve their community together. 

IDENTIFY TARGET USERS

Interviewed 15 residents from both London and Walsall.

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Archetype

INSIGHTS

insight

KEY FINDING

4 Principles for social engagement

We learned that while people have a high level of motivation to connect with other community members, they need support to realise this. Importantly our service needed to provide social opportunities with disguised social intentions, allowing people to opt in based on their needs, be resident-led and not seem forced.

01/

Disguise the social intention

People don't feel comfortable if someone is direct about wanting to establish friendship because it may be seen as suspicious.

02/

Give people excuses to talk to each other

People like building relationships organically, but they don't mind using prompts or excuses to start a conversation.

03/

Sense of safety

Because they need a safe social circle, people are willing to get to know people who live near to them and they can potentially support each other. 

04/

Resident-led community

Community engagement needs to be facilitated, but it should be led by existing residents.

OPPORTUNITY

How might we design a living community service that creates an environment encouraging sharing and collaboration?

THE SOLUTION

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Knock Knock is community service that provides practical tools, including a social kit and a digital platform. 

 

The social kit contains fun items and activities to help residents approach their neighbours indirectly through various nudge strategies. 

 

The digital platform provides practical information and access to other community activities, such as group drop-in tea sessions to meet other residents.

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SOCIAL KITS

Soical kits

DIGITAL PLATFORM

digital channel
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KNOCK KNOCK EXPERIENCE

DESIGN PRINCIPLES

PROTOTYPE SESSION

Unpack new residents' experience

Through our prototype session with 25 residents in Walsall and London, we learned that there were nuances to delivering a socially enabled resident experience

Purpose for prototyping

•Knock Knock concept validation.

• What kind of tools would be useful to residents?

• Understand what motivates people for community engagement.

 

IDEATION & CONCEPT DEVELOPMENT

Co-created concept with whg stakeholders and residents

Through intensive co-creation and collaboration with residents in Walsall and stakeholders from whg we were able to unpack the resident experience to identify key touch points to design  a socially enabled resident experience.

Co-created workshop

Crazy 8 exercise

We went through some ideation processes and tried to capture any possible solutions in the early stages. It turned out most of the ideas created an environment encouraging sharing and collaboration, and empowering residents to take ownership for improving their living community.

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IMPACT CREATION

Transform the current community into a livable and friendly community.

Impace creation

VALUE EXCHANGED

Knock Knock tries to create an ecosystem that can benefit from multiple  stakeholders.

Value exchanged

SUCCESS METRICS

We measured the success by evaluating qualitative and quantitative data.

PILOTING

Whg is in the process of piloting session that continues to iterate how solution could be best fit for community life.

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FINAL THOUGHTS &

TAKEAWAYS

Knock Knock is a special project for me which resonates with my life experiences. I always used to feel disconnected from the place where I lived before because housing providers rarely consider house design beyond the house itself. Now, as we are facing a global pandemic, my intention is to respond to social isolation by shaping urban living experiences in this project. By conducting a lot of research, I have learned about people’s lifestyles in different communities, and their motivations and concerns in relation to living experiences. I believe that creating a community among residents will bring tangible benefits to their lives. 

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Through the provocation test, I learned that people are social animals, but that we disguise social intentions.

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Exploring community experts’ point of view gave us more inspiration for where we could intervene for improving social interaction in living communities.

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Some interesting topics came up through participating in some co-living events. This allowed me to think deeper about how potential stakeholders could help foster a tight-knit community.

TEAM

X2 Service designers

X1 Innovation manager

X2 Design consultants 

Irene Liao

Amogh Lux