Design thinking for better public procurement – Openlab supports the Digital Demo Stockholm initiative

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By engaging researchers, industry and civil servants in tackling societal challenges together, the region of Stockholm will see sustainable digital solutions as a result. This is the preface of Digital Demo Stockholm (DDS), a long-term partnership between the public sector, academia and industry with the goal to make Stockholm the world’s smartest city in 2040.

Openlab is supporting the DDS initiative by introducing design thinking as a tool for working iteratively across disciplines, supporting both the facilitation of single workshops and the crafting of whole projects. Design thinking is an iterative way of working with problem-solving, and guides the participants to work interchangeably with developing better user understanding and producing ideas and prototypes to meet their needs and tackle the original challenge. The result from this explorative process is being used by the different stakeholders to sharpen and develop their respective practices and offering. For the public sector the results primarily consists of understanding the users’ needs and getting a grip of the possibilities of new technology. This can serve as platform for shaping better and more targeted procurement criteria of digital products and services, criteria that meet the needs and looks ahead.

In September, Openlab was the scene for an important test and demo phase within the DDS demo project “Smart locks”. The project is facing the challenge of extremely time-consuming and insecure handling of physical keys amongst caregivers in home care (hemtjänst), and explores the possibilities and challenges of introducing smart digital locks to give caregivers access to the homes of elderly in need of help. The project invited a selected group of lock manufacturers in order to test their solutions together with healthcare staff and administrators through real-life simulations. Together with Openlab, the project team prepared for the test phase by prototyping the upcoming activities, the technologies and exploring the roles of invited participants. In this workshop, Lego and other physical material were used to build representations of the places and interactions that are daily routine within home care. With this experience, the project team was able to run a smooth and efficient test phase, having the right people at the right place at the right time, as well as being able to work pro-actively with tools for evaluation.

Read more about Digital Demo Stockholm at

For more information contact Sara Araya, Changemaker at Openlab, +46 (0) 700-87 71 59