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Asker WelfareLab

From EPSA - European Public Sector Award

Asker WelfareLab is a concept for service delivery, solely centered on the citizen, in which all relevant municipal services, together with external partners of collaboration, invest together, aiming to raise the living standards, thereby bettering the quality of life of each individual and family in the program. The municipal part of the investment is closely monitored through a new form of reporting, focusing on the realisation of benefits.

It all started in 2013. Asker municipality was asked to be a part of a project, piloting service design as a method of reshaping the social housing services. The project owner was The Norwegian Centre of Design and Architecture (DOGA), and the project was funded by the Norwegian State HousingBank. LiveWork Studio was engaged as the partner delivering the service design methodology. The citizens with complex housing- and living conditions/situations, expressed that they oftentimes did not get their needs met in a sufficient way. The municipal workers, on their side expressed that they did not get to perform their jobs in an adequately purposeful manner. Based on these insights, the project took a different perspective, and chose to adjust its goals and project plan drastically. The services of the future are to be the citizens’ services, where the main rule is to be that ‘NO decision ABOUT me is to be made WITHOUT me’. Based on this background, a totally new concept for service delivery was developed, challenging the traditional ‘public sector mindset’. Most businesses with a wide variety of product lines are ‘silo-based’.

This is also true of the public sector. We know that if we are to obtain lasting results, we will have to work with all the pillars of welfare; work, health, education and housing, simultaneously. The following hypothesis was therefore developed: ‘What if the municipality starts thinking like an investor, investing in people, instead of just being a case worker, pushing people and paper around?’ With this ‘investment thinking’ as a starting point, the model for the service concept Asker WelfareLab was developed. In the first phase of the project, the concept was created, based on the following principles: 1. Taking the risk of early investment to get the socioeconomic benefits in the long term. 2. Creating a better experience for the citizen. 3. Planning long-term courses where the municipality is coordinated as one unit. 4. Looking at/considering the citizen as a co-investor, actively contributing to his own future.

Inspired by the investment thinking, a new department was established within the municipality in the fall of 2014, called ‘Citizen Square’. This ‘spin-off’ from the first phase of the project became a small-scale test of some of its principles. Its purpose was to ensure coordination for citizens with complex needs and life situations. Here, citizens with comprehensive needs get a thorough mapping of their life situation, through just one conversation with Citizen Square. They experience having just one case worker across several services, and receive simultaneous and coordinated services. Asker WelfareLab was now entering its second phase of development, involving a broader set of services and participants.


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Award info
Award category: new solutions to complex challenges - supra-local and local level
Award type: diploma
Award year: 2017
Project type
Sector: Public administration, modernisation, institutional affairs, reform
Type of activity:
Keywords: Welfare, health, work, housing, living conditions, conditions for upbringing, cooperation, co-creation
Short English description: Asker WelfareLab is a concept for service delivery, solely centered on the citizen, in which all relevant municipal services, together

with external partners of collaboration, invest together, aiming to raise the living standards, thereby bettering the quality of life of each individual and family in the program. The municipal part of the investment is closely monitored through a new form of reporting, focusing on the realisation of benefits.

Further information
Organisation: Asker Municipality
Other applicants:
Homepage: http://www.asker.kommune.no
Level of government: local level
Size of organisation: >100
Number of people involved: >15
Country: Norway
EU membership: other European country
Language code: en
Start date:
End date:


Asker WelfareLab (59.8218296, 10.420987100000047)
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