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Service Design (MA)

Isabelle Horlings

WellBe is a consultant service that provides a fun and gamified learning platform that improves wellbeing and healthy habits of the workforce, as well as the overall productivity and flexibility scheme in the workplace. The platform collects data of employees’ engagement which will be reported back to the organization.

How might we help organizations to build more flexible and healthier habits in both the working and living environments of employees? This was our main research question that inspired WellBe throughout the whole process and development of the service. WellBe's goal is to increase three principal elements: a more balanced lifestyle between work and personal life, the new need for flexibility accelerated by the pandemic and productivity, which is a crucial need for organizations to thrive. 

WellBe's key values are founded upon “Ownership of health” - be the stepping stone in finding a healthy balance between work and life routines -, “Creation of Trust” - providing transparency and following ethical guidelines in data collection – and “Spread Positivity” – as optimism is the key to motivating people to change, aiming to tackle a serious topic with a light approach.

Hi there, I’m a passionate, curious and driven Dutch ‘Service’ Designer!!

Over a spantime of two years my aim has been to transition into transdisciplinary design: working conjointly with different disciplines of creative and non-creative industries. 

Prior to joining the RCA, I majored in Spatial Design at the ‘University of Arts London’ where I learned to tackle tangible projects in which, as much I want to deny it, aesthetics played an important role. My enemy became my challenge, my goal to change the world’s perspective on design thinking: for Spatial Design this was to transform installation, curation & exhibition design or branded spaces into a story where there is a deeper meaning and understanding behind the human emotion and experience of their environment. A space that could truly change people’s behaviours, so I thought. Unfortunately, I felt that the impact of me as a Spatial Designer had never made a prominent difference in society's thinking. So I encouraged myself to think & act bigger and to broaden my horizons and practice to better understand the meaning of impactful, conceptual & human-centered design. 

Now, almost five years later, with the help and guidance of RCA,  I have gained much experience and consider myself very lucky to be able to pursue my dreams and career in a Metropolitan city like London. As you find big opportunities and challenges in designing for social and cultural value to provoke change and improve complex (public) ‘service’ systems.

Service Design gave me the opportunity to learn and practise/ strengthen my skills (collaboration, entrepreneurship, adaptability) in working with various stakeholders, both public and private. Such as educational institutions (e.g. Aalto University, Helsinki), housing sectors (e.g. UKAA) or healthcare industries.

Yet, for my final project I choose to work with desk/ office workers of various industries, exploring the future and post-pandemic of work in order to introduce a more flexible and healthier working environment for organisations to build on. If your interested go check out our project below!

Healthy Habits Research

Disrupted work & lifestyle routines

WellBe was born during one of the most disruptive events in the 21st century: Covid-19. Our focus had fallen onto the problematic relationship between the pandemic and work and lifestyle routines.

While society tried to adapt, the acceleration of a new way of ‘remote’ working identified a major problem experiencing a continuous sense of time and the lack of boundaries between work and life while impacting the majority of people's health and wellbeing too. In fact, the traditional mentality and culture of the workplace made it harder for people to adapt to new normality, introducing an urgent need for balance and flexibility. 

As we are slowly returning to a new ‘post normality’ WellBe believes that collectively investing time in innovating and shaping the future of health could contribute to solving an identified long-term problem in organisational behaviour towards healthy lifestyles, wellbeing and resilience in the workplace.

Diagnosis & Learning (Touchpoint. 1)
Action (Touchpoint. 2)

Stream Diagnosis & Learning - Be part of the League (Touchpoint. 1)

Before the user can deep dive into the learning stream, WellBe engages employees in an onboarding process.

WellBe will propose to the user four profiles, that we call "houses", that resonated with the personal approach to wellbeing and quality of life. After, the users will be tested on their awareness and literacy of wellbeing that ultimately unlocks the second part of the stream: learning. The learning bundles will provide the user with diverse, fresh and seasonal content to discover a range of tips, articles, podcasts etc. around the topic of healthy lifestyles and routines.

As WellBe is a great believer in learning by choice we measure the engagement of our user by self-motivation, but we do give some important guidelines and criteria to follow: like the two-hour rule, which is specially designed to create not extra pressure on users’ working schedules and keep them motivated to engage in our platform.   

Stream Action - The challenges (Touchpoint. 2)

After being onboarded and having explored the learning bundle, the users can deep dive into the action stream by trying the challenges that WellBe designed to promote a healthier lifestyle whilst having fun and being engaged with colleagues.

The challenges aim to push the user to challenge themselves and their colleagues on a daily or weekly basis, promoting healthy behaviours around the 5 essential pillars of wellbeing: nutrition, exercising, sleeping, hygiene and mental balance.

The users can launch a personal challenge, picked from a random database or they can be invited by other employees to join one. At the end of the experience, which could be like "try new ingredients this week" or "interrupting your work to practice some desk yoga every two hours", the platform will ask the user some feedback and thoughts that will feed the feedback loop aimed at improving WellBe's offer.

WellBe - Action — As part of our prototyping sessions we engaged various different desk- workers in trying out our stream, action. As part of this WellBe created a 'challenge week' dedicated to testing the challenges while collecting feedback and insights. Let’s see how it went.
The ecosystem

WellBe is a consultancy service, in which the offer of the platform is only a small part of the whole journey. Our service begins at the onboarding of organisations that need to improve their workforce wellbeing and are interested in approaching our consultancy. 

Our client will have full access to offers like the platform, where employees can freely explore the three streams of learning, action and sharing whilst having fun. After the incubation period WellBe provides a report that could have two different outcomes: the engagement of the workforce is either high or improvable. In any case, WellBe will provide the company with a personalized extension of the service that will meet the client's needs.

Our Report

The report, produced by WellBe, is a tool of measurement for companies to improve their internal wellbeing. It will be provided after 6 months from when the platform gets launched and will give the client a clear overview of the overall wellbeing and mental health status of their workforce. WellBe strongly believes in an ethical approach to data collection and aims to create a transparent, trustworthy and reliable relationship between the platform and its users. 

Therefore, the data collected will be rewashed before being published, in order to ensure anonymity and total respect for the privacy of users. Furthermore, users are fully informed of how their data will be used, through the terms and conditions in our service which they have complete control over as long as access is granted through their personal page.

The impact of WellBe could be found in its successful application validated through a number of stakeholders who helped develop the service ideas in prototyping and workshop sessions. 

WellBe aims to engage potential users in an fun and gamified way as our service tackles a complex sometimes emotionally loaded topic that makes it crucial to motivate change by using a light approach throughout the service. 

Users should be optimistic and use WellBe as the stepping stone in finding a healthy balance between work and life routines. Without creating any form of critique on an individual’s lifestyle or routine. WellBe has not been created as the purpose of serving a trend for organizations to follow but through the obligation as designers and measured willingness to serve more flexible and healthier habits in the workplace. Holistically, our future of Wellbeing & Resilience depends on it!

Our team is incredibly proud to present to you our service WellBe and pushing it forward would be great for those organizations that do not have the right capabilities and resources or are just not in the process yet to change their organisational behaviour towards wellbeing in the workplace.


Special thanks (eg clients or partners)

We would give a special thanks to all our stakeholders, partners and participants during these last few months. To our main stakeholders Leslie Marasco & Alberto Colzi and for their precious support through the development of WellBe. To Judah Armani, our amazing tutor, his encouragement and wise words.