Experiments in Paradigm Shifting: Redesigning Youth Homelessness

Chris Ferguson, Founder of Bridgeable and Adjunct Professor at the University of Toronto

Experio Lab is inviting to the Experio Seminars. Once a month we’ll invite interesting researchers to talk about service design, service logic and user-driven services in public sector.

The Canadian federal government’s new policy ”Duty to Assist” represents a transformative approach to homelessness. It moves resources from emergency responses upstream to prevention, allowing a whole new service paradigm to emerge. Though the evidence proves that prevention is both cost-effective and leads to better outcomes, it’s still hard to imagine a system shift for stakeholders currently working within the sector. What does a new rights-based approach to housing look like, and how can we best prepare to adopt these evidence-based policies into practice?

The project tested three hypotheses on the value to this policy of deploying a service design approach:

  1. Taking the written policy recommendations of Duty to Assist and translating them into specific service interventions would provide the people delivering and managing homelessness services with greater tangibility and, in turn, encourage higher success rates of adoption.
  2. Using a co-creative approach that includes a broad section of system stakeholders (service agencies, youth who have experienced homelessness, Indigenous communities, funders, school boards, etc.) would help transform system actors’ mental models and the ways they relate to one another.
  3. Simulating a world in which Duty to Assist is already implemented would lead to direct insights into the logic and consequences of the policy.

Recording from April 21st

Chris Ferguson, Founder of Bridgeable and Adjunct Professor at the University of Toronto