Social and Policy Labs

The Social and Policy Labs – the nuclear piece of COMMUNITAS’ SSH work – are central to the evaluation and iterative development cycles. To carry them, a Design Thinking approach – a non-linear, iterative process to understand users, challenge assumptions, redefine problems, and create innovative solutions to prototype and test – will be used. It will involve five phases: Empathize, Define, Ideate, Prototype, and Test, and will be formulated in detail for application in practice through Participatory Laboratories in close collaboration with the pilots.

Its formulation is to be informed by a data analytics-based questionnaire in the Leader pilots policy and regulatory research, User eXperience (UX), usability and usage research, and, in a later stage, by the business modeling research. This way, legal, regulatory, social, technical, and business aspects are included in the iterative cycles. The demonstration of COMMUNITAS’ tools is sprint-wise evaluated in close collaboration with pilot partners.

Evaluations will lead to new definitions of designs that are further factored in subsequent developments, also updating iterative developmental stages as needed. Throughout the Participatory Labs  – focusing on:

  1. fulfilling the project’s key objectives from an SSH perspective;
  2. the psychological, social, cultural, and ethical barriers and drivers towards active participation;
  3. the influence of top-down market developments and bottom-up changes in the market arrangement;
  4. the usability and user experience, and actual usage – the project outcomes will be evaluated and designs of the underlying technology or methodology will be improved, in constant and close contact with citizens and communities.

Methods used in the COMMUNITAS Participatory Labs include: 

  1. field studies such as observations, interviews, questionnaires, and focus-groups/workshops/co-creation events, and local participatory actions;
  2. lab studies such as Usability and UX studies, neuromarketing – eye-tracking;
  3. monitoring actions on the actual usage of products and services through data monitoring and analysis.

The data of the different pilots are brought together to also identify drivers and barriers for the intercultural use of COMMUNITAS’ outcomes. The results will not only lead to the continuous technical and social improvement of the outcomes but also improve the legal, business, and financial aspects that support the set-up, running, and expansion of ECs, acting as a determinant tool toward the replication of COMMUNITAS.