Following an initial research and ideation workshop last month, the Leapfrog team returned to GSA highland campus for a second co-​design workshop with our project partners, aimed at refining tools for tackling loneliness and isolation. Since the initial workshop the team had developed the project participants’ tool concepts for tackling loneliness and isolation into two prototypes tools. The first of which was ‘Top Prompts’ — a set of cards that can help start a conversation around issues and challenges relating to loneliness and isolation. The aim of this tool was to help someone recognise and acknowledge challenges in their own lives and to build trust around discussing these with a service provider during early intervention. The second tool, called ‘Stick with It’, was a planning sheet with stickers, which helps someone plan for an upcoming event, activity or journey by breaking it down into steps, encouraging discussion about any concerns they may have about each step (such as perceived risks and obstacles), and then coming up with practical ways and recommendations to overcome these concerns. Prior to the second workshop, the prototype tools were sent out to the participants for testing and evaluation to get them ready for the next steps of development. Bringing the participants back together, the Leapfrog team hosted a tool evaluation and evolution workshop to move the prototypes along.

The workshop began with a detailed group discussion about the potential uses and users of the tools; how, why and when the tools would be put into practice; and the look and feel of both tools. After an insightful discussion we captured all the feedback onto two large feedback sheets before moving on to begin some tool hacking. The participants were spilt into two teams to develop each tool in response to the discussion and their insights from the testing. This involved a role-​playing activity, where each group were given a selection of personas to choose from and encouraged to act out scenarios to test their developed ideas in order to generate tool instructions. Towards the end of the workshop, the participants were brought back together as group to report back on and demonstrate their updated tool ideas. It was exciting to see both tools undergoing rapid adjustments and enhancements in a short space of time, with the participants moving the first prototype tools into much more refined artefacts. One of the key issues addressed in the hack was the language used on the tools was a bit ‘clinical’ and needed to use language that is more familiar to the users. Fundamentally, the functions of the tools developed beyond the original intent as new applications and benefits were realised by the groups.

In the case of ‘Top Prompts’, a name change was suggested, as well as giving the set of cards a range of possible purposes. Whilst this tool was initially designed for one-​to-​one conversations, it was recommended that this tool needed to be adaptable so as to be used with bigger groups in team games and informally with smaller groups so make friendly connections and find out things they may have in common with each other. For the ‘Stick With It’ tool, the participants suggested changing the format of tool to have additional sections so to account for agreed upon actions and emotions surrounding the event being planned for. The language for this tool was very important and so was amended to reflect the friendly nature of the tool. The next steps for the Leapfrog team are to implement these changes and to bring these tools to the users of the services and the advocacy workers who will use them to further test out the tools for final development before they are launched.