Co-Creating Technology for Societal Change: A Mobile App addressing Homelessness (2019)

Rachel Burrows, Antonette Mendoza, Sonja Pedell, Leon Sterling, Tim Miller and Alexi Lopez-Lorca
(Top Paper Commendation) (To Appear) at the European Network of Living Labs:Open Living Lab Day 2019 (OLLD'19)

[Upcoming in September 2019]


Living Lab projects often involve the collaboration of diverse stakeholders. This is particularly true with new technology that aims to tackle the systemic and societal problem of homelessness. In this paper, we present a mixed-method approach to understand the perspectives of key stakeholders. We discuss our findings and their implications for the development of a mobile app that aims to help people who are homeless.  We measure usage of the mobile app which currently attracts over 10,000 users each month. We also conduct semi-structured interviews with 30 participants who are either homeless, ex-homeless or service providers.  Our study provides insights and an approach that may help others in developing similar systems. We discuss barriers and enablers of success relating to (i) organisational concerns from service providers, (ii) maintaining awareness of the system in the homeless community, and (iii) supporting user needs in software design. We propose and demonstrate our emotion-led approach to bring a novel perspective on the concerns from key actors influencing the adoption of new technologies.