What is it, and why is it important for the entire process of working with welfare technology?
A vision is quite simply an understanding of why are we doing this? What do we want to achieve by working with welfare technology? What are our goals and ambitions? It can act as an inspirational document, but it is important that it is not a strategy nor a "business plan" it should not explain how these goals and ambitions are to be achieved. A vision is important as it is difficult to achieve an ambition if you do not first take time to properly define it. A good vision can act as guidance to staff and management, to ensure everyone is pulling in the right direction. It is important for the entire process as it formulates your ambitions and key reasoning for working with welfare technology and as such it feeds into several of the following steps in the process.
- On a general level remember that no vision is better than a bad vision: Too many visions are made simply because "everyone has one" which makes them either unrealistic or non-seneschal. Ensure your vision is tailor-made to fit your organization.
- Also remember to consider the big picture. Many of the Nordic countries already have national goals for the municipal level within welfare technology, so ensure your vision embraces these. Furthermore, welfare technology is a relatively small area of expertise, but covers many professions and organizational divides. Consider whether a vision on welfare technology is better served in combination with other overall agendas – for instance innovation – to ensure organization wide anchoring.
- Similarly, if your municipality has an overall vision or simply an overall set of values or ambitions, remember to ensure your vision within welfare technology matches these to ensure continuity and avoid confusion.
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Guidelines based on experience
- A vision is individual, based on the values which are important to you. It is also clearly and unambiguously worded. Although it should be ambitious, it is important that it is also realistic given your position in the marked and the resources available to you.
- A vision on welfare technology gains validity if a broad contingent of stakeholders has had the opportunity to contribute (such as management, staff, users and relatives). But, the vision must be approved and agreed upon by politicians and top management to insure full anchoring and ownership throughout the organization.
- The vision should be clear and ambitious, to give
direction - but at the same time the ambition should still be obtainable to ensure a continued momentum (the area of welfare technology is still young and success breeds success).
- When wording your vision consider its timeframe. A vision for a public authority should think ahead and cover at least 3-5 years. Do not include time specific goals or aspects, as this is best applied in a strategy, but consider whether your vision has the correct longevity.
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What has having a vision meant to the CONNECT participants?
In Lister we see "A Vision" as an enabler. Having a vision unites our combined efforts within our organization towards a common goal. The vision enables and anchors the strategy and new initiatives within welfare technology. It also eases overall communication, including that with politicians and top management.
Västerås has so far lacked a Vision for welfare technology. This means that most work has been done ad hoc, mainly initiated by unplanned events like calls for project funding or meetings with technology vendors. Thereby we haven't ensured that the efforts were targeted at the prioritized needs and we have not been able to gain from maximum synergy effects. We strongly recommend founding the work with welfare technology by elaborating and anchoring a Vision (and a Strategy).
Working to create a vision the discussions are sharpened and goes deeper into where we want to reach, for whom and why. Such discussions generate creativity, participation and consensus. Once the vision is formulated it is energizing and gives direction for our common efforts.
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The Danish Agency for Digitalization offers a template on the webpage. If you choose to use this tool please consider whether your communication plan should be separate (as recommended by CONNECT – se step 3).
Here is some inspiration while creating a vision.
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Examples of visions from the CONNECT participants
The examples below are simply select excerpts. Please contact each municipality directly for the entire document or more information about their vision for working with welfare technology (see contact list in publication).
Aarhus (excerpt in Danish):
Velfærdsteknologi kan øge borgernes tryghed, sikkerhed og mulighed for at klare daglige gøremål og mobilitet i og uden for boligen. Velfærdsteknologi giver dermed øget selvhjulpenhed og bedre livskvalitet for de primære målgrupper som ældre, kronikere og borgere med handicap. Dermed frigøres ressourcer, som kan bruges bedre. Velfærdsteknologi kan ligeledes understøtte læring og trivsel for andre målgrupper.
Forligspartierne ønsker at sætte Aarhus på det velfærdsteknologiske verdenskort ved at:
- Skabe et globalt førende udviklings- og erhvervsklima inden for velfærdsteknologi.
- Aarhus Kommune bliver pioner inden for brug af velfærdsteknologi på alle kommunens serviceområder.
- Aarhus Kommune giver borgerne ansvar og kompetence til at bruge teknologi i hverdagen.
Read the complete program here.
In Oulu we have created a complex innovative environment connecting the municipality with the university and hospital etc. Together we have a vision to: "To achieve an effective use of health technologies in a city where citizens actively manage their wellbeing". You can read more about this at www.ouluhealth.fi
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