Increase Voting Participation

Design Thinking 

Time: 2 months | May 2017

Type: University project

Skills: Design Thinking

Team: Annika Wennlund | Lilia Ahued | Monika Samuelsson | Naomi Lipke

Outcome: Four prototyped concepts


The purpose of the project was to apply design thinking to a social challenge and come up with innovative solutions. The challenge was given to us by the Stockholm’s municipality of Huddinge, and the question was: “What can be done to increase the turnout – participation – in local elections in Huddinge, especially in Vårby och Flemingsberg ?”


The solution includes four prototyped concepts: a festival for the voting day, a communication app, a safe discussion space to meet people and talk about city issues, and a quiz app. These solutions could be used alone or as a part of the already existing Huddinge City Project Democracy Days to increase participation in local elections.


The city of Huddinge is a southeast suburb of Stockholm. It is the second most populous municipality in Stockholm County. One of the problems that the municipality faces is the low level of participation in the local elections.  The existing practices that municipality provides such as brochures in different languages and debates were insufficient. The politicians are not aware of the citizens in the area and that very few politicians are from Vårby. One of Huddinge’s important events, Democracy Days, that is, a day for citizens to meet politicians and discuss different topics of interest and concern. In 2015, the theme was honor-related violence. In 2016, the city held a variety of events related to art, environment, migration, and pedestrian infrastructure.The City of Huddinge set a goal in its 2014 sustainability report to increase voting participation from current 78 percent to 85 percent by the year 2030.



The purpose of this stage was to understand the challenge by gathering insights for the following stages and understand the users that we are designing for. We started the empathy phase with a brainstorming session and by building a stakeholders map. The stakeholder’s map included all the people, organizations and businesses that we could think of that might be related to the problem. We did research at the level of local elections and tried to understand the problem by reading statistics from the area and searching for existing stakeholder actions on the topic. The meeting at the community house provided us with great insights and a different perspective on the problem of low participation in local elections. Having in mind the user-centered approach and in order to understand better the needs of the users we conducted semi-structured interviews with twelve people that represented our target audience. We wanted to know the voting habits of the residents of Flemingsberg/Grantorp and Vårby Gård and also their ability to connect and be a part of their neighbourhood.



In this phase, having available the information collected from the empathy phase, we created a Point of View. The diversity of our target audience led us to create three personas Cristina, Sara and David. The personas were created by combining interview data to create partly imagined people’s perspectives on voting.


The purpose of that phase was to understand what could be done to make the voting process at the local level more accessible, visible and important. We used different “How Might We Questions”, through the ideation process. Based on our main persona, we put our ideas into four clustersFrom our clusters, we started developing a more complex concept in order to generate a solution that fits our personas needs and goals.


“Lev i Huddinge” is a quiz app about Huddinge, a fun and concrete way to provide information and engagement to our persona, David. We wrote quiz game questions about Huddinge. The player spun the wheel to choose a subject. When a player wins a match, the points they earn could be saved for future hints, extra lives or even exchanged for discounts in the Huddinge FestiVAL. This points would become the incentive for them to keep playing and appear on the ranking board. 

The “FestiVal” would be a fun event for all ages on voting day. The testing session aimed to study people’s interest in one of our activities at the Huddinge FestiVal.  We called this activity the “Discussion Tunnel” or talk-about-politics speed dating style. We held up signs that said “Talk with a Stranger”. 


Our concept is targeted to young adults and the idea goes around three main points: Huddinge Quiz – digital platform, FestiVAL – voting day festival and Democracy days. The quiz provides an opportunity for online interaction and a way to get informed about community’s history, politics and culture.  To support this digital interface, a personal interaction is needed. The FestiVAL would be held during the voting day as a celebration and recognition for those who voted in the elections that year. The purpose is to give the citizens an incentive for voting and help them mingle and feel as a part of a group. Mixed in with fun activities could include other kinds of activities, such as speakers or our concept, the Discussion Tunnel. Finally, to continue and develop Democracy Days is important to have all non-election years covered with an event that people can follow up to. This way, the interest for politics would be increased and more people would be involved year by year.


The engagement of the app quiz and the social interaction between citizens of Huddinge will lead in an increased interest in the Huddinge FestiVAL. The FestiVAL would be the way to enhance local community’s interaction and interest about local issues. In 2019, the application can extend its purpose and could be implemented for support community’s needs. The development of the app “Lev i Huddinge” will provide a great way of enhancing people’s awareness and interaction towards local community’s issues. The app will include local news, suggestion and complaint box, info about politics and progress in topics in the local area.

Time: 2 months | May 2017

Type: University project

Skills: Design Thinking

Team: Annika Wennlund | Lilia Ahued | Monika Samuelsson | Naomi Lipke

Outcome: Four prototyped concepts

Partners: Södertorn University | Karolinska Institutet | Huddinge Municipality

HuddingeKarolinska InstitutetSödertörns Högskola