ThoughtCloud is a project being led by Andy Dow (a Digital Civics CDT doctoral student) that is studying the role of digital feedback in voluntary sector and not-for-profit care organisations. Since the summer of 2014, Andy has spent considerable time volunteering and conducting participatory observation in a care organisation. His time at this organisation has highlighted how important feedback is in the social care sector, especially for those entities providing care at a community or not-for-profit level. The collection of feedback is critical to such organisations understanding how their service users gain or benefit from what they provide, while also providing invaluable insight with which to develop project ideas and funding proposals. However, the limited human resources, and the challenges many care service users have in giving their own feedback, act as a significant barrier to collecting and, most importantly, actioning it.
The system we designed in response to these observations – ThoughtCloud – is a feedback commissioning platform that allows an organisation’s staff and volunteers to collect digital feedback quickly either at the end of sessions or events they run or at the point of service delivery, and provides a secure means for accessing and reviewing feedback afterwards. It is designed to be very simple and lightweight to deploy; it is essentially a touch-screen tablet on a stick. the ThoughtCloud application provides three very simple and low-barrier-to-entry methods for giving feedback in response to a question set by the staff or volunteers: a likert scale, a voice comment, or a short video. The system can be quickly set-up to be used at the end or during a session or event, or be positioned in a location to gather feedback from people as they are leaving a specific room or space.
We have conducted a series of initial deployments of ThoughtCloud with two different organisations providing community care services. Our initial findings are reported in our ACM CHI 2016 paper. We are currently refining the system based on the insights from these first studies, with the plan to conduct longer field trials throughout 2016.
Collaborators: Andy Dow, Rob Wilson, Rob Comber.
My role: Supervision and supporting system design.
Funding: EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Digital Civics.
Timescale: June 2015 onwards.