Crossroad co-designed Buurtlink, a serious social game for unemployed single parents to more easily get a job


The goal is to challenge the unemployed single parents to organize an event of their choice for (and together with) the neighborhood.

Challenge

There are a lot of initiatives ongoing to increase the chances of unemployed people getting a job. Almost none of them specifically target the barriers unemployed single parents face. That is why, together with 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 done with support of the European Social Fund (ESF).

Approach

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

Next, we created multiple concepts based on the insights, with the goal to remediate the specific barriers. These concepts were presented to peers, experts and unemployed single parents.
In the end one concept was chosen and designed. Multiple prototypes were built to get to a first pilot. This was done in collaboration with OCMW Turnhout and Sint-Niklaas.

Results

The result is “Buurtlink”, a serious social game that takes place in a specific neighborhood with unemployed single parents from that neighborhood.

The goal of the game is to challenge the unemployed single parents to organize an event of their choice for (and together with) the neighborhood. During the process of organizing the event, three things are being stimulated:
• The social connection with local people is enhanced
• Different generic competences are trained (problem solving, finding and managing resources in the neighborhood, etc) which can help the participant in finding a job.
• A context of ‘being at work’ is created during the game, in which participants face the difficulties they face when working in a ‘real’ job. This challenges the participants to find a solution for the problems they face when working. One of the biggest challenges is child day care.

The result of the project is a package containing a toolkit, training and coaching, for other municipalities to get Buurtlink going in their neighborhoods.