It’s the end of March and many companies have published or are going to publish soon their annual corporate sustainability reports. What happened last year within the sustainability theme? Did we achieve the targets that were set, and most importantly did we focus on the right things, the most valuable impacts to increase our positive impact towards the society and environment? In fact, how do we identify sustainable business within our organisation and predict our sustainability actions, instead of just looking into the rear-view mirror?

In many companies it seems that sustainability is lacking behind in digitalisation and data-driven management. Even though there is an enormous amount of work behind the sustainability reports, sustainability related data is in many cases scattered around, the figures are collected and analysed largely by hand (e.g., manpower) from multiple sources and separate IT tools or systems. A lot of new information would be required also along the value chains. Why are things like this?

This year came into force the EU Taxonomy (a classification system for sustainable actions) and it seriously kicked some speed in aligning sustainable business operations and unifying the CR reporting related to it, and the new Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD) will expand the responsibility for reporting. In the Taxonomy, from the six environmental objectives only first two ones (climate change mitigation and adaptation) have been approved. The Taxonomy will develop further, and more detailed assessments of each business units and company operations will be needed. I can imagine that this won’t work anymore by handling Excel spread sheets.

The economical pillar of sustainable development is becoming more important, and the new obligations will require an unified approach in handling sustainability related data alongside with the financial reporting. The amount of required data is huge, and it must be incorporated to the existing information systems and decision-making. In any organisation, wouldn’t we want to simplify this and if possible, do the data gathering and required analytics automatically?

Companies that start developing data management and digitalisation within sustainability can perform better and be more reliable in the eyes of investors, financial institutions or other stakeholders. Planning the sustainability targets and measures based on reliable data is also a key in increasing the much-needed transparency and building customer or consumer confidence. This is the final call for companies to seriously invest in the sustainability data gathering, developing the processes and management systems and digitalisation capability in sustainability, instead of increasing manual labour or buying new sustainability tools.

ESG issues are important for Gofore as well and like before our company is aiming for increasing the portion of impactful projects. Pay attention to our newly published sustainability report 2021.

Want to contact our experts?

Teija Hakaoja
Head of Design.
+358 50 3257 207
Minna Tontti
Service Designer.
+358 40 1602 650
Kristiina Härkönen
Chief Sustainability Officer.
+358 40 7423 411

 

Minna Tontti

Minna works at Gofore as a Service Designer focused on sustainability. Her main goal is to help companies and organizations seize the opportunities of circular economy and create solutions that will help us reach the 1.5°C climate target. Minna has a strong 16 years of experience in the energy sector, traditional engineering, and consulting for various industry sectors. Her inspiration for design originates to developing tools and practices for reducing environmental impacts and considering different stakeholder groups there. In her free time, she’s an active participant in her community and volunteers for child welfare.

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How would a general rise of 2.31% sound like? The company-specific collective agreement we made at Gofore in early 2022 has attracted widespread interest. In my opinion, the most interesting thing about the collective agreement is its salary settlement, where the general rise and, more broadly, the minimum amount of salary rises are based on the Gofore Group’s profitability and growth. The salary settlement also allowed the Gofore collective agreement to be made valid until further notice, instead of having to be renegotiated every year or two like other collective agreements.

However, the salary settlement is not entirely brand new. About a year ago, the Gofore chief shop steward, I was negotiating a local salary settlement for Gofore, and CEO Mikael Nylund presented us with an interesting idea: What if the size of the salary rises depended on Gofore’s profitability and growth? Mikael wanted the salary rises to reflect Gofore’s financial success. When Gofore is doing well, it can pay better salaries and the rises should be higher. At economically worse times, salaries could rise less.

Together with the shop stewards, we found the idea interesting, and we started creating a salary settlement based on it. We finally came up with a solution where salaries are increased quarterly based on EBITA% and organic growth for the previous quarter, according to the following formula: (EBITA% – 10 %) * 0,07 + (organic growth% * 0,0125). Furthermore, as such a solution would delay the general rises compared to the backstop settlement in the collective agreement, it was decided to pay a general rise of 0.6% in February to compensate for this.

The salary settlement was calibrated so that, if the previous year’s figures were reached, the earnings in 2021 would be approximately equal to the earnings of 1.2% general rise in February which was the backstop settlement. If we did worse, the rises would be lower, and if we did better, the rises would be higher.

(What does a backstop settlement mean? Collective agreements stipulate that certain matters may be agreed upon differently through local agreements, and e.g. in the IT service sector collective agreement, salary rises must be negotiated primarily locally. However, if no agreement is reached, the settlement in the collective agreement i.e. the so-called backstop must be followed. The backstop for salary rises in our case was a 1.2 % general rise in February plus a 0.8 % company-specific element, which the employer can distribute as they wish. At Gofore, this 0.8% element had already been distributed by the beginning of the negotiations, so we only discussed a general rise.)

We still voted with the staff on whether they would prefer a 1.2% pay rise in February or the salary settlement described above. With clear numbers, the employees chose our settlement.

How did we do over the year?

Gofore’s last year’s results were announced at the end of February, and we were finally able to calculate the general rise for the last quarter of the salary settlement. Was our salary settlement worth it or should we have stuck to the backstop?

The general rises during the year were as follows:

February: 0,6 %
2021Q2: 0,37 % (April)
2021Q3: 0,32 % (July)
2021Q4: 0,32 % (October)
2022Q1: 0,68 % (January)

The total increase from these will be (note the compound interest) ~2.31%. The graph below helps compare the 1.2 % February rise to our salary settlement. If a person’s salary in January 2021 was 4,500.00 €/month, with the 1.2% general raise their salary in January 2022 would have been 4,554.00 €/month and 4,603.98 €/month with our salary settlement.

However, the overall increase does not tell the whole story, as you also need to look at cumulative earnings. As can be seen from the following graph, with a starting salary of 4,500 €/month: one will start by earning less than with the 1.2 % February rise. At worst, in June the difference is € -84.75, but by January 2022 the difference of cumulative earnings is a positive € 34.74. In other words, the wage settlement was worth it from an employee’s perspective if they were employed still in January.

The biggest winners here are those who only started their work during or after February and would thus have missed the general rise in February. However, due to Gofore’s salary settlement, they received their first general rise as early as April.

Of course, general increases are only part of salary rises. In 2021, the average salary of Gofore employees increased by as much as 4.9%.

The Gofore collective agreement signed earlier this year made the salary settlement even better: the organic growth coefficient has been increased 0.0125 → 0.015 and in addition to the general rises, at least the same amount of personal salary rises must be distributed.

During the year, we’ll see how good salary rises we’ll get with the new salary settlement. Looking good so far!

Juho Salmi, Gofore’s shop steward, 2020-2021

Juho Salmi

Juho is a hard-core leadership nerd spending his working hours on agile, product and systemic leadership.

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There are no dull days at Gofore. There is always something to learn and chances to challenge me. When one project ends, there is always a new opportunity to choose the next interesting project. As a software developer, I’m constantly interested in learning more, and hey now I have also seen what large-scale Spring Boot projects look like.

When we were having discussions about open projects in Gofore I saw there was an opening in Aimo Park. After hearing about what the project was all about and stuff that I would be doing I was completely sold. One could say Aimo Park project had a parking reservation in my heart after hearing what the project was all about. ?

Few words about Aimo Park for those who don’t know them. Aimo Park is a leading parking company in the Nordic region with close to 370 000 parking spaces. Gofore has been working with Aimo Park since 2016.

“I’ve fallen in love with doing backend stuff”

So, what I’ve been up to in Aimo Park project? I have been working as a backend microservice developer for the mobile application team. My job consists mostly of implementing features to microservices that the mobile application needs. The technologies that I have been working with most are Java Spring Boot microservices. As I said before, I had really focused on frontend technologies and learning about JavaScript’s quirks, and so on. But with this project, I’ve fallen in love with doing backend stuff more and more. ?

Prior to this project, I had experience with Java from school, and I had done a small internal project with it in my previous workplace. I was excited to see what large-scale Spring Boot projects would look like in Aimo Park. And I must say that I’ve been loving it. My only gripe with Java was previously how verbose it can get in some parts (getters, setters, etc.). Luckily, we use Lombok which in my opinion makes Java so much nicer to develop. It strips down, for example, all the verbose parts with special annotations that make it also much cleaner. Plus, other features that I probably haven’t even discovered yet. If I’d have to say something negative, one thing would be that I slightly dislike how much Spring Boot Automagically™ does behind the scenes. I’ve also had a chance to try out my TypeScript skills briefly in a couple of tickets related to mobile application development, which has been really nice change of pace.

A big part of my role also involves communicating with the microservices team about implementation details and so on. This also means that my merge requests are reviewed by people in the microservice team as I mostly work on their domain, and I must say that I’ve learned a lot from their comments and advice in merge requests. I love how everyone always helps me when I have questions about some business logic or something related to code. It’s also nice to have somebody who I can ask “dumb” questions about inner workings of Java and Spring Boot if I can’t find something with just Googling. I only have positive things to say about people that I’ve been communicating with (be it from my team, microservices team or somebody from Aimo Park business side).

Best: taking breaks together with the team

Besides other positive things in this project, I would say my favourite one is the Mandatory Fun event that is hosted on Tuesdays and Thursdays. There we get together to play some entertaining games with all the people from the whole Aimo Park project for 15-20 minutes. Games have usually been either Kahoot or Skribbl but new suggestions are always welcomed with open arms. My absolute favourite is Skribbl, as there I can bring out my artistic side with my laptop’s touchpad ? These events lighten up the mood in the project and I get to meet up with people that I don’t usually work within the project.

Overall, as a recent graduate, I would give Aimo One project 10/10. I have learned so much from the project’s domain and the people working there. There is always something new to do and research and the daily workday never gets dull.

Want to know more about the project opportunities Gofore offers? We hire Java developers for projects of different sizes in both the public and private sectors. Check out more!

Tuukka Juusela

Tuukka is a solid coder who has graduated from Tampere University of Applied Sciences with a Bachelor of Business Administration. Web development and JavaScript are close to his heart. Tuukka also enjoys disc golf and reading during his free time.

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Designing services that leave no one behind is the right thing to do. For many of us this makes sense, but the how can be a trickier question. In this post I aim to give you as a designer something to think about when designing digital services for a more equitable society. Recently my colleague Maija wrote about the need for diversity, equity and inclusion in the digital transformation of our societies, I recommend you read her post before you continue with this one. !

For us to understand the vast differences in our lived realities as individuals, we need to have difficult discussions about who we are, what drives us and where we come from. These discussions can be awkward because we’re not used to them and quite honestly often times our differences are things that we try to mask or at least diminish. Let’s try to change that!

Diversity, equity and inclusion, DEI for short, is often seen as something that belongs under HR, in innovation units or frankly, somewhere else but on our own plates. But in fact, DEI needs to be intertwined throughout our businesses in everything we do, in our strategies, in our HR, in our communications, in the way we serve our clients. This is where I’d like to challenge you! As a first step, have those deep, awkward conversations with your colleagues and note what the things are that both differentiate you and connect you as a team. Once you see your differences, learn to celebrate them! After looking inwards, it’s time to look at the services you design. In the following section I will give you some pointers to think about when designing with DEI in mind.

5 tips on how to design services that account for diversity, equity and inclusion[1]

1. The service design process is already inclusive, when given enough time and resources

If you’re a designer, you’re most likely already using human centered design methods in your work. At its core the service design process, its tools and methods are inherently inclusive, but they do need to pay particular focus and earmark resources (time+funds) on DEI. For example personas work well in showing the needs and goals of minorities, but if you don’t pay attention you might oversimplify when developing personas, which often times means that the voices of minorities are excluded.

2. Strategically recruit for user research

Five groups of people are more often excluded from the design process of digital services than the general public: ageing people, language and cultural minorities, people with disabilities, people with lower socioeconomic status and people who are not comfortable using digital services. This is not necessarily on purpose, but people are easily forgotten or not included because of convenience reasons. So, every time you plan user research, ask yourself “who are we leaving out if we don’t pay attention”? To recruit diverse participants you can for example find relevant groups on Facebook or other social media where you can advertise opportunities or build longer term collaborations with NGOs.

3. Make the participation of minorities meaningful

When you speak to minority participants, make sure to actually use the data collected, even if the number of participants is small. Can you remember a situation where you’ve managed to include less participants from a certain demographic than you initially planned? I know I can. In these situations, it’s important to not disregard the input from these participants, making sure their needs and goals are also reflected in the process and outcome. Consider building additional validation/testing in the project, specifically for minorities. Work together with minority experts by experience, NGOs and use DEI and accessibility experts for evaluations.

4. Make the participation of different groups as easy as possible

Offer different ways of working, so people can choose the most comfortable option for them. Need a translator? Prefer face to face or virtual? Location (home/office/other)? Also remember to allocate more time for collaboration with minority participants.

5. Look inward and both include the minority perspective in the design team and build capacity of designers

Earlier in this post I challenged to you have awkward conversations. The next step from there is to look inward and build your project teams as diversely as possible. Include people with first hand minority experience but also different educational and career backgrounds, designers from different regions etc. Last but not least, educate yourself on DEI issues, attend trainings, follow public discussion, read blogs and listen to podcasts. And dare to have those difficult discussions, at work, at home and anywhere where people will listen.

 

Does it all still sound complicated and confusing? Don’t worry, we can help! These are issues that we have been thinking about a lot at Gofore as a part of developing our ethical capability. If you need a hand in getting started on designing inclusively, let’s have a chat and make it happen!

 

References

[1] The tips are derived from my MBA thesis research, the full thesis is available at: https://urn.fi/URN:NBN:fi:amk-2021113022818

Michelle Sahal Estime

Michelle works at Gofore as a Service Designer. Throughout her career, she has focused on reducing inequalities working at the UN, in NGOs and academia. In recent years it has led her on the path of digitalization, service design and user-centric design and she is particularly passionate about ethical and inclusive design. On her free-time Michelle likes movies, gardening and spending time with her family and friends.

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Digital transformation reshapes economies, industries and essentially, our society. While some of us welcome the ease, efficiency and opportunities it may introduce into our daily lives, the impact is not the same for all.  

Personally, I know this to be true by observing the life of my 95-year-old grandmother who does not have a smartphone, let alone an online banking app. Being excluded from digital services due to the lack of access, skills and resources is a substantive issue, and what’s more, the very logic of how our digital systems work and how they are designed can be exclusive in nature. Data-based automated decision-making systems (or artificial intelligence if you want to call it that) can become outright discriminatory if the machine learning algorithms are taught with biased data and operated with a lack of social context. When we depend on automated systems to get an insurance, a loan, an invitation to a job interview or basic social services, we essentially allow these systems to determine the course of our individual lives.

As the designers of digital systems, we hold a great responsibility. Our society is biased in many ways, and if designed carelessly, our digital systems can amplify those biases, isolating and discriminating against marginalized and vulnerable groups even more. People’s circumstances can become even more challenging when it comes to achieving their goals in life, getting a career or simply, running everyday errands. People become excluded from benefitting equally from the opportunities, welfare, and prosperity in our society.

An antidote to bias

We humans have a natural tendency to rely on defaults. For example, I eat the same breakfast almost every morning. A default doesn’t require additional effort and it has produced satisfactory outcomes in the past. These seemingly innocent defaults can easily turn into biases. If our surroundings echo only our defaults, our thinking and decision-making becomes skewed, or biased, towards them. We become oblivious to experiences outside our own bubble and end up with a narrow understanding of the world. And biases do not exist only in the minds of individuals. They are organizational practices, cultural norms, and social policies. They are systemic.

Digital systems reflect the surrounding society. When we are designing them, we easily end up transferring our biases into them. But if ever, digitalization is the time to dismantle the biases — not just reinforce the status quo — since we are reshaping how our society operates. And if the problem is systemic, the solution must be systemic too. Though a good starting point, it is not enough to just acknowledge our own individual biases. We need to embed diversity, equity and inclusion systematically into the design processes of digital systems.

Diversity: Acknowledging our differences

Age, gender, race, ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation, religion and socioeconomic status are some of the aspects by which we humans differ from each other as members of society. These differences shape our experiences, perspectives and interactions with the world. When a diverse group of people come together, these different perspectives are combined. Diversity, as a property of a group of people, is about acknowledging our differences: instead of ignoring how and why our experiences are different, we recognize and value the variety of perspectives and approaches our differences result in.

The business case for diversity often correlates diversity in organizations with better profitability and increased creativity and innovation. In the context of digital society, we also have an obligation to address diversity from the perspective of power and influence. What kind of a group of people gets to design our digital systems and services. Is it a diverse group, representing varying views and understanding of the world? If not, then what will the end results be like? We can’t create an equal digital society if we ignore all the various human perspectives.

Equity: A requirement for true equality

While equality is sometimes a straightforward concept (e.g., “We get the same pay for the same work we do”), equity on the other hand, can be harder to define. Equity means that people who are in disadvantaged circumstances, are provided with added support to be able to enjoy the same opportunities as others.

Consider, for example, kids taking an exam at school. It seems equal to give everyone the same amount of time to answer the questions. But what if you have dyslexia? You may know the answers just as well as your peers, but it just takes more time for you to read the questions and write down your answers. In this case, equity is getting some extra time to take the exam to even out the disadvantage. And in the bigger picture, equity is about reconsidering the entire system for evaluating school performance to ensure equal opportunities for all kinds of learners.

This is what we need in the design of digital services too. We need to complement our idea of equality with equity so that our systems foster genuinely equal opportunities, participation, and membership in the digitalized society. When we are defining how our digital systems operate, we need to elevate the experiences and needs of people who belong to vulnerable or marginalized groups.

Inclusion: Everyone benefits

Diversity focuses on the representation and inclusion complements it by focusing on the action. Diversity and inclusion trainer Vernā Myers describes it beautifully: “Diversity is being asked to the party, inclusion is being asked to dance”. It means that individuals in a diverse group of people feel confident and comfortable enough to be themselves and are appreciated and valued as active contributors in the group.

Inclusive design methods engage diverse groups of people in the design processes of digital systems and services. An inclusive approach produces solutions that create better outcomes for everyone. For example, accessible websites perform better in Google search results visibility, i.e., the more accessible websites we have, the more relevant search results we all get.

Sometimes false inclusion becomes the pitfall — it tokenizes individuals and creates a meaningless impression of diversity. False inclusion assigns the role of a mere study object to marginalized groups as opposed to treating people as active subjects with control over the outcomes. True inclusion requires that diverse groups of people are given the space, power and resources to contribute to the solutions utilizing their own individual experiences and viewpoints.

We can do better

Luckily, our awareness of social issues related to digital systems is constantly increasing and the systems are held to higher standards. For example, the web accessibility directive was adopted by the European Union in 2016, and just last year, a proposal for regulation for artificial intelligence was released, seeking to ensure the protection of fundamental rights of the European Union.

But let’s not wait for legislation and regulation to catch up before we act. Instead, let’s continue to reshape the way we design digital services and develop new standards for diversity, equity, and inclusion. Let’s do more than the bare minimum. Not just for the business case, but because it is simply the right thing to do.

If you are now wondering how to start your journey into embedding diversity, equity and inclusion in your digital service design, continue to read my colleague Michelle’s post here.

Are these topics close to your heart? Join us at Gofore and let’s work together towards an equal digital society.

Maija Paananen

Maija is a UX designer with a keen interest in equality and equity. She is a strong believer in diversity and multidisciplinary problem solving and strives for continuous improvement both at work and as a person.

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Digitalisation as a cause and solution for psychological well-being and ill-being.

I recently had a personal discussion with a senior citizen. He is a tech savvy engineer who sees technology as a positive thing in general. However, this time he told me about his struggles with digitalisation, one with his Internet service provider, the other with his bank. His Internet provider had informed him that they weren’t sending bills through email anymore, which had been the customary way until then. He had difficulty setting up the payment in the newly required way. The experience was time consuming and cognitively stressful. He also noticed that his bank had started to charge an extra monthly fee for its services. After contacting the bank’s customer service line, he found out that only the bank’s mobile app users would not have to pay the extra charges. Thus, using the bank’s desktop Web service, which he was fluent with, was not enough anymore.

These two cases happened simultaneously and were related to necessities, Internet and banking, and neither case was his choice. Setting up the payment for the Internet provider took him several tries and about a month to resolve. Also, installing and signing up for the bank’s mobile app was stressful. It required external help and contacting customer service several times, including a face-to-face meeting.

It also became clear that the stress was continuous and affected his overall psychological well-being, as it took several weeks to resolve these issues. The cognitive stress actualised, for example, in the form of feelings of helplessness and frustration. In addition, the burden of learning new technology and trying to negotiate with the service providers caused him feelings of incompetence and loss of control related to his basic needs. It was not enough that he was fluent in using the traditional Web-based banking services and email; the push of digitalisation required him to learn even more. One could argue that you are never too old to learn. However, in these cases it was not his autonomous choice, but the push came from the companies that provided the services. Also, the experience might not have been so severe if there would have been the possibility to easily opt out of new requirements.

With this example, I want to highlight two things: one, digitalisation impacts people’s well-being more broadly than just during the direct interaction with it; and two, unequal power relations existing in digitalisation can have an impact on well-being. People who are part of digitalisation as end users have practically had to hand off the power of creating digitalisation to entrepreneurs, service providers, governmental organisations and IT consultants. Still, it is the ordinary citizens whose lives are penetrated by digitalisation. Basically, the only thing people can do is to trust that the promise of digitalisation creating a better world and life will actualise for them.

The discussion also brought into my mind a study Pew Research Center did a few years ago about the expected impact of digitalisation on well-being. The study concluded that digitalisation probably brings more positive than harm to people’s well-being in the future. The positive impacts included for example empowering people through nearly frictionless connection to services such as education and health services or helping to form meaningful social connections. However, about one-third of 1,150 expert respondents of the study thought that digital life is mostly harmful to well-being due factors such as increasing need for cognitive capabilities, digital addiction, and digital duress (the combination of information overload, declines in trust and face to face skills, and poor user interfaces)[1]. Based on the results it was clear that digitalisation is a mixed blessing. Still, we should not back away from it but understand and design it better.

Because of the strong impact of digitalisation and the unequal power relations in creating it, I’d argue that it is of the utmost importance and ethically right for us who design and create the services to systematically aim at increasing well-being with digitalisation, not just promise and assume it will.

What is well-being exactly?

By understanding the building blocks of well-being, we have better possibilities to design services that support it. For example, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), whose goal is “to build better policies for better lives,” measures well-being through variables such as wealth, housing and safety [2]. Another example of this is Yale’s most popular course, The Science of Well-Being, which goes into an individual’s well-being and gives practical tools for personal happiness (e.g., savoring moments and calling a friend), which are important approaches to improving well-being. Also United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) includes health and well-being as one of its 17 goals, targeting to factors such as universal health coverage.

However, to help a designer and developer understand his or her role in people’s well-being, I believe it is necessary to find something that can grasp the impact of technology (e.g., a chat bot, job search service, or e-learning) on an individual’s well-being in a holistic but still practical and valid way. Maybe science could help?

Competence, autonomy and relatedness as building blocks of psychological well-being

Recently, the human—computer interaction research community has been active around the subject of well-being [3]. Psychology research has also studied well-being for decades. Next, I will very briefly go through one psychology-based theory, Self-Determination Theory (SDT), and some ways to apply it to help design for well-being. Richard Ryan’s and Edwards Deci’s SDT, is a theory about how people’s basic needs affect their motivation and well-being. In recent years, it has become acknowledged and applied in many contexts such as work, education and health, and seems to have potential to offer practical implications for the design of digital services as well. One of SDT’s achievements has been finding three basic psychological needs that are the building blocks of well-being: competence, autonomy and relatedness. [4]

The three building blocks are described as follows:

  1. competence is described as feeling able and effective,
  2. autonomy is described as feeling agency and acting in accordance with one’s goals and values and
  3. relatedness is described as feeling connected to others and a sense of belonging. [5]

According to the theory, supporting those three needs is essential to people’s psychological well-being, and if they are not supported, they can reduce well-being.

 

Putting well-being science into practice in digitalisation design

Using a scientific psychology theory as part of design might sound complex. However, doesn’t need to be. I have used SDT as a tool to drive the concepting of digital services. The three basic needs work as lenses for inspiration and guide the concepting work to a more ethical and human-centric direction that supports well-being. We have applied these for example in projects where 1) mobile services were used to help unemployed people in their challenges with bureaucracy and job searching, and 2) digital services were used to help people to fulfil their goals related to lifelong learning. We asked questions like, “How could we support the feeling of autonomy in the user interface for someone who is starting her studies?” or “How could we support the feeling of competence of an unemployed person seeking a job?” This approach gave us guidance even before we had gathered any user research data. It could also be useful at the start of a project to ask a simple question: how will the anticipated result of this project affect people’s feelings of competence, autonomy and relatedness?

In addition, more in-depth ways of applying the basic needs exist. One such way can be to use them to formulate questions for user studies where people are interviewed about their experiences with certain technology. (These kinds of user studies are the bread and butter of service design and user research.) This gives an understanding of how the user perceives that the service or product has affected his or her well-being and provides us insight of how to iterate the design.

Understanding the impact of digitalisation on well-being

Although innovating and creating digital services is often a complex process with a myriad of stakeholders, conflicting interests and resource restrictions, I believe most of us want to make the world better. At Gofore, we want to live up to our promise of “Pioneering an ethical digital world.”  In my earlier post I discussed about the importance of understanding the impact of design from societal perspective. Here I tried to zoom in and focused on the psychological well-being. Both of these texts work as material and food for thought to build our ethical capability and a step forward to a more ethical digital world.

Next time you can make decisions about a digitalisation project, I encourage you to think digital well-being. Do not be satisfied only with user stories or usability heuristics, or only require a specific back-end technology. Instead take a more ethical, inclusive and human-centric approach and design systematically for psychological well-being.

In case you found this interesting but want some help to take things forward, let’s discuss and create ethical digital together. We are always happy to help you!

Check also our related posts, such as Michelle’s post on UN’s sustainable development goalsMinna’s post about environmental sustainability, and Suvi’s post about values and ethics in design.

References

  1. Pew Research, 2018. The Future of Well-Being in a Tech-Saturated World. Available at: https://www.pewresearch.org/internet/2018/04/17/the-future-of-well-being-in-a-tech-saturated-world/ [Accessed 28.2.2022]
  2. OECD. Measuring Well-being and Progress: Well-being Research. Available at: https://www.oecd.org/wise/measuring-well-being-and-progress.htm [Accessed 28.2.2022]

  3. Calvo, Rafael A., and Dorian Peters, 2015. Introduction to Positive Computing: Technology That Fosters Wellbeing. In Proceedings of the 33rd Annual ACM Conference Extended Abstracts on Human Factors in Computing Systems.
  4. Deci, E. L., and R. M. Ryan., 2000. The” What” and” Why” of Goal Pursuits: Human Needs and the Self-Determination of Behavior. Psychological Inquiry 11, no. 4 (2000): 227–68.
  5. Peters, Dorian, Rafael A. Calvo, and Richard M. Ryan., 2018. Designing for Motivation, Engagement and Wellbeing in Digital Experience. Frontiers in Psychology 9: 797.

Sami Vihavainen

Sami has over 15 years of experience in understanding and designing interactions between people and technology. He has worked in myriad of contexts and roles in both academic and business environments. Sami’s objective is to design technologies and services that increase people’s and societies’ wellbeing. He sees that through the increasing role of digitalization and AI in both everyday life and solving of global challenges, it is ever more important to take the society level goals, ethics and sustainability into account in design. At Gofore Sami works in the role of Principal Designer. Otherwise, he currently concentrates on learning piano, catching Pokemons, and planning post-pandemic life with his wife and two kids.

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