Weeknote w/c 27th September 2021

Rose Anderson

What we did

  • We presented at a meeting of the Youth Fund Learning Network, a network of youth organisations funded by Paul Hamlyn Foundation. We shared what My Best Life is all about and talked about the process we went through to develop the app. This led to an interesting question-and-answer session about how the app could be scaled and who would like to be involved.
  • We’ve been in conversation with those at Lambeth Council working on the Digital Hub. It was a chance to show them what we’re doing and explain the project to them, and we’ve been thinking about how we can work together going forwards, what they’re interested in and what their plans are.
  • We’ve also been in conversation with Siccar to better understand how their Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) works. We are particularly interested in their work on the Open Referral Project with CAST. The project’s main aim is to make it easier for people to find organisations and their services (the same as us!). We would be interested to see the future potential of the software to allow effective referrals across organisations and audited data sharing.

What we’re thinking about

The YFLN cares about asset-based approaches: supporting young people in a way that looks at the positives and the strengths that young people have, rather than focusing on the problems they face. Preparing for our session with the YFLN has prompted us to think more about the principles of asset-based working, and how asset-based My Best Life is.

We’ve been trying to better understand how young people normally try to access services and what things they look out for when deciding whether to attend. If we know what questions young people ask themselves when they’re trying to find something, as well as the things they think will answer those questions, that can help us tailor the app to show them the most pertinent information.

Challenges

Talking to Lambeth Council has highlighted to need to bring wider members of the council into our discussions about ownership and use of the app going forward. We want the app to be sustained by those who will help young people the best; if that’s not us, we’re happy to pass it on. But the question remains over what sort of organisation takes it on—for example, should My Best Life be a council-run endeavour, or be held by charities? There are several factors to consider, including the branding of the organisations and whether young people trust them. It would be interesting to try an experiment with young people to see how trust levels change based on the app being linked to a local council or a voluntary organisation.

One comment in the YFLN event got us thinking about how the app could be used to help young people across geographical boundaries. We have so far been focusing on helping young people find things to do in their local area. However, one attendee made the good point that a young person may want to find an opportunity in a different part of the country—for example, a student in Belfast may be looking for work experience in Manchester. In addition, a young person moving house might want to use the app before they arrive, so they can see what’s available around their new home, or even get in touch and start making connections in advance. These are considerations we may wish to keep in mind when we think about scaling the app.

We’ve had to delay the time we had hoped to spend working on analysing the results of user testing, partly because there is more information we still need to gather.

Wins from this week

  • We’re moving ahead with the recruitment of our new Project Manager—we can’t wait to meet them!
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