Change radically

Does your municipality face challenges so big that you have to try completely different approaches to solve the future of your welfare services? Have you tried everything but still haven’t got the results you wanted? 

Project Förändra radikalt is operated with funding from Vinnova with the mission to strengthen innovation in local government.

Radical changes rarely happen by chance. Instead they are the result of strategic processes where one has deliberately worked to question and shift ones' usual perspective. Without an overturn of everything you thought you knew you can't expect new and different results, just improvements of the old ones.

The Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions (SALAR) operates, in cooperation with VINNOVA, the development project Förändra radikalt (change radically). The project gives approximately ten Swedish municipalities the opportunity to try new solutions to their old problems, by offering process support and joint activities.

Why do we need to change?

Today, the municipalities in Sweden and the rest of the world have a difficult equation in front of them. The population gets older than ever before and young adults study for a longer time. At the same time the publics’ demands for service increase and young people are moving into the cities, leaving behind an aging population in the smaller municipalities. If we continue in the same way as today, we will in 2035 have a gap between resources and needs in municipal taxes equivalent to 13 crowns. A scenario which of course is not desirable.

Who should be asked?

Changes therefore need to be made to give users/customers the services they require, at a lower cost. But the innovative work should not be mistaken to be about cuts that impairs service. The radical changes instead means to ensure that the service provided by the community is actually the required one. And those who know what services they need are, of course, those who make use of them. Then why is it not them who are asked when putting together the service offers to the citizens?

Users and customers need to be transformed from passive recipients of services, into active co-creators of the work process. We also need take into account, and listen to, the rest of the community. In short; many cooks don’t spoil the broth at all. They make it better.

Different – Better - Lower cost

The inspiration to project Förändra radikalt comes, among other countries, from

Australia and Great Britain, who has several exciting and innovative projects going on. Their background was, just like in Sweden, a strained economy in the public sector, combined with increasing demands and expectations from the residents.

It’s been done before

There isn’t just one method that leads to radical change, but a variety of strategies and approaches that do. Several organizations around the world have developed their own models of how they work to get the right radical changes. Some of them are the British Nesta, Innovation Unit and the Norwegian Kommunesektorens Organisasjon. Several other countries can be said to be at the forefront in the development field. Denmark and Australia are two of them and that's also two of the countries from where the project's inspiration has been drawn. The work now needs to be tested and adapted to Swedish conditions and Förändra radikalt plans to contribute to that, through a series of concrete actions.

Recipe for change

Although the sources are many, our precursor projects have common success factors. Briefly, they all have:

  • involved many new skills and eyes
  • ensured that users were included as a natural and authentic part of the project
  • allowed the analysis of the challenge to take time instead of going directly to possible solutions
  • had courage to take risks and experimented in an early stage, instead of possibly failing in a larger scale later
  • learned from - and evolved through - mistakes

What is Förändra radikalt?

Project Förändra radikalt is operated with funding from VINNOVA with the mission to strengthen innovation in local government. The project will between March 2014 and June 2015 and work with approximately ten Swedish muncipalities. SALAR will during that time offer support in the form of group meetings in Stockholm and consulting support in the individual municipalities.

The process is carried out until June 2015 when the participating municipalities with the support of consultants and SKL should have experimented their way to a finished result. After June 2015, the project has set aside six months, where SALAR will engage in the draw and dissemination of the finished work, which in full will be completed in December 2015.

The project organization and leaders will begin working with surveys, field studies and dialogues with local residents (not least in terms of customers/users). Next the experiences will lead to a practical testing of the new ways of working.

I want to know more!

Are you interested in knowing more about Förändra radikalt? The Swedish homepage contains information that can be translated with, for example, Google translate. We also use different kinds of social media (i.e. blog, Twitter and Facebook). If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact anyone of us.

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