What is a Greenhouse?
The aim of the Greenhouse-project was to create a new and more engaging way of working, collaborate with customers, create better services and in the end gain the trust of the Swedish people. A Greenhouse can best be described as an arena where both customers and frontline staff are put in charge of the complete development of services and processes. The most significant attributes of a Greenhouse are:
Prototyping for organizational change
Arbetsförmedlingen started to work with Greenhouses in April 2014. The first goal was to set up guidelines that included working with co-creating at a few select local offices to start with. The selected offices work with both the concept of Greenhouse as well as co-create service solutions involving customers and employees. By involving staff from local offices as key stakeholders Transformator was able to gain engagement and internal buy-in for the new service solutions as well as building a solid foundation for the Greenhouse-concept.
The well-defined solutions that had been identified in customer journeys made it easy to prioritize which service Arbetsförmedlingen should start develop. A core team responsible for the coordination and support was set up. The team consisted of members from Arbetsförmedlingen's headquarter and Transformator. A manifesto for the greenhouses was also created in order to secure that all participants shared the same vision.
The process of learning by doing
Seven local offices were selected for the first Greenhouse project. The collaboration between local offices and the headquarters began with a three day crash course in service design. During these days the importance of truly understanding the needs of the customer were highlighted and the participants tested different ways how to reach this understanding. They also got to test different method tools and approaches they later on could use in the Greenhouses.
The crash course was later said to be a key success factor of the journey ahead, since it was practical and successfully introduced a new way of thinking. After the course the local offices were given service solutions designed in previous customer journeys. Their task was to perform the final iterations of the development based on local conditions. During this learning process the local staff interviewed customers in order to adjust and adapt the solutions to their everyday work.
The Greenhouse approach is based on making mistakes, preferably early in the process, admitting and embracing them, learning from them and adjusting as you go. Throughout the period of the first Greenhouse initiative members of the core team coached the staff at the local offices and moderated the process through weekly online meetings and local visits. Persistent encouragement from the headquarters helped the offices to start thinking and acting outside the box and they started to share their experiences of success as well as failure. Parallel with the service development in the greenhouse, the very concept of Greenhouse was also iterated, adapted and refined.