UX Strategy: Employment, Income and Healthcare

Helping citizens with financial, employment and healthcare related needs through public services directly, or via public servants of the 4 largest municipalities of the Netherlands (G4).


Wigo4it is a cooperative that works on IT solutions that support citizens and municipalities in providing social benefits and care, and in increasing social participation with work. The organization was founded by the 4 biggest municipalities of the Netherlands (G4, Amsterdam, Den Haag, Rotterdam and Utrecht) with the aim of lowering implementation and maintenance costs, increasing implementation speed, and at the same time ensuring high quality of products and adaptability to the specific needs of these 4 cities.

The following are examples of digital products created in the framework of this collaboration:

  • Income: an internal system that enables civil servants and consultants to monitor and analyze social benefit requests, calculate the right amount and pay the benefit to the citizen, following the appropriate laws and regulations.
  • Healthcare: a backoffice solution that digitally supports the processing, administration and provision of care requests.
  • Citizen Portal: a solutions that enables citizens with financial support needed to request a social benefit and be guided with the help of the civil servants towards finding a job.
  • NL App: an app that provides relevant information to refugees living in Amsterdam.

I was hired to establish a UX Strategy in order to increase the quality of the customer, service and user experience. This implied both: an internal change in the organization, and a new approach in the collaboration with the 4 municipalities.


In order to come up with a relevant UX Stategy I performed the following activites:

  • Stakeholder mapping
  • Customer journey mapping
  • Service blueprinting
  • Connection to enterprise architecture vision
  • Ecosystem analysis
  • Cross-hierarchy community building

In this role I learned to navigate the complexity of stakeholders and government organizations. I discovered and operationalized the following challenges:

  • The fact that user groups are cross-municipal is neglected; this is why the need for cross-municipality UX and Service Design is disregarded.
  • At G4 level there is a lack of experience ownership, what leads to a lack of governance and lack of a shared UX and Service Design strategy.
  • The maturity levels among the G4 across Service Design, UX and other human centered design topics varies, what indicates the need for customized Design services towards the 4 cities.
  • Progress on User Experience and Service level is influenced by political flavors and decisions, this is why a strategy needs to be in constant alignment with stakeholders at all levels in the organizations. Established work practices challenge the implementation of Design Thinking practices: employees tend to fall back to old habits; achieve new behavior takes time and foremost perseverance of activities which are hard to sustain in uncertain environments.
  • Researching and designing for citizens in a vulnerable situation presents specific challenges that required to be tackled, such as the low participation rate due to misinterpretation about the research goals and the difficult emotional state underlying interviews and user tests.

Which I approached with techniques based on the following lessons learned:

  • UX is a great excuse to facilitate crucial connections within the government. Concrete and short activities around human centricity attract collaborators.
  • Taking action is better than standing still. Tackling alternative opportunities in ambiguous times brings positive energy and creates chances to succeed.
  • Team autonomy is important and it needs to be accompanied by partnerships. This combination is crucial to achieve successful results.


  • UX Strategy deliverables: including vision and steps towards the vision at an organizational and product level
  • Implementation of the first phase of the strategy, establishing the UX organization internally and setting up a collaboration network with the G4.
  • Improvements in products and innovation apps based on user research and testing in collaboration with the UX Labs of the cities (Mijn Baan en Bijstand App, Sorga).
  • Connections and collaboration with influencers on human centricity and innovation in the 4 municipalities, including departments in relation to Public services, Communication and Brand, Innovation and Social Services Departments, and UX Labs and stakeholders.
  • Increased visibility of Wigo4it in UX Research and Design communities; increased authority in the field (strongly supported by directon of the organisation), through presentations and participation in communitie. See for example: One design system for 4 municipalities, Accessibility of Edison, and Article about UX at Wigo4it and G4 (in Dutch)