In standardisation, inclusiveness – that is, the participation of a wide range of stakeholders – is important to improve the quality of standards and legitimise the outcome of the standardisation process. Users of products and services are a recognised stakeholder group in the European standardisation system and, at national level, standardisation initiatives invite users and their representatives to participate.
Despite all efforts to invite different user groups, the users are underrepresented. To support these efforts PROGRESSIVE project has developed a draft guide for reaching out to underrepresented users in standardization for products and services.
This draft guide provides guidance and practical tools on when and how to reach out to users and solicit users’ opinions on relevant questions. We recognize that a standard user co-production process for standardisation does not exist; each standardisation committee should define a strategy and activities based on its needs and resources. The draft guide is targeted at the national standardisation committees and draws on practical methodologies of co-production that are translated to the formal standard development procedures of CEN/CENELEC. The draft guide provides practical recommendations for the use of methodologies such as persona, focus group discussions, story board and customer journey mapping in standardisation work.
Co-production has a history in the design world. For decades designers have been working closely with the future users of their designs. This approach has become increasingly popular in other fields too. The draft guide translates the approach to formal standardisation processes. User co-production provides several benefits to standardisation efforts, such as:
- bringing fresh thinking and new value to the standardisation committee
- proactively capturing value from better understanding of future market needs and possibilities
- helping to identify and mitigate risks
- tapping into the collective creativity and intelligence of the technical committee
- capturing value from the collaboration with partners for user co-production
- motivating member involvement in the committee and fostering teamwork and collaboration
Inclusiveness is important
The Joint Initiative on Standardisation and the CEN publication Civil Society call for improved user representation in the standardisation work to improve the quality and legitimacy of the work. The Joint Initiative on Standardization is part of policy of the European Commission on standardization.
Review and provide your comments on the draft guide
The draft guide can be accessed here. Please provide your comments and suggestions to Marlou Bijlsma and Thamar Zijlstra at NEN (firstname.lastname@example.org). Comments from all stakeholders is welcome (older persons, health and social care organisations, industry representatives, technology developers, researchers, standardisation institutes and organisations). We are also looking for standards committees who would like to test the guide in their committee. The commenting period ends on 30 April 2018 after which we intend to further develop the guide into a formal CEN guide on user co-production.
The work on the User Co-production Guide has been led by NEN within the frame of the PROGRESSIVE project. NEN is the Dutch standardisation institute. NEN is a member of CEN and ISO and thus the gateway to international standardisation. NEN manages over 31.000 standards. More information is available at www.nen.nl/About-NEN.htm.