How might we create a community driven vision for Digital Southwark 2024, supporting residents with connectivity, inclusion, and IOT?


Southwark Council

What we did

The questions we wanted to answer in our exploratory research were:

What do the different personas of digital citizens look like across communities in Southwark?

What are the community-informed expectations of the Digital Southwark vision to support residents with connectivity, inclusion and IOT for the next 2 years?

We spoke to residents across Southwark about their ideas, expectations and knowledge around Southwark becoming a smart borough.

The residents were chosen based on the following priorities: people from a low socioeconomic background, people with disabilities, people with low digital literacy or confidence, people from a Black, Asian or Ethnic minority background, LGBTQ+ people, older people, young families (people with young people), young people and digital literacy.

Our research sessions consisted of an activity that first measured participants’ existing knowledge and ideas around smart technologies that had been implemented in the borough in order to identify negative perceptions residents may have towards smart solutions.

The second activity focused on utilising the ‘tomorrow narratives’ exercise.

It is an exercise based on the idea of writing fictional articles that simulate the moment in which the product or service will be launched in the market.

The goal of this activity was to encourage residents to come up with a positive headline on how smart technology can help them or another community in Southwark.

These research workshops helped us in the creation of three persona profiles, each cuts across multiple ages, genders and other distinguishing characteristics, and is a reflection of shared attitudes, knowledge and expectations held by residents about smart technologies being introduced in Southwark.


We worked with Southwark Council to create a strategic vision outlining what we see as realistic actions to achieve a successful smart borough.

Some of the recommendations in the the strategic vision included interactive interfaces that is easy and simple to use, reliability improvements, working with digital champions in local communities, alternative approaches for residents to connect with Southwark services online, making clear what resident data is being collected and a focus on community safety, well-being and health.