Northwoods creates human services technology for caseworkers. Their product, Caretivity, helps wraparound teams provide social care for clients in a coordinated and collaborative team-based approach.

Our main mission? Understanding the experiences of social workers.

Through our Vision & Audience Segmentation workshop we identified knowledge gaps and assumptions in the social worker’s experience that we needed to explore further in our research.

We interviewed 10 current Caretivity customers and recruited research participants—with titles such as social worker, care coordinator, or case worker—to understand more deeply their challenges, pain points, and workflows.

Finally, we validated our initial findings and assumptions through a survey, gathering both quantitative and long-form written data from social workers across the United States in various disciplines of social work.

Through synthesis and analysis, we found 4 main themes that heavily affect a social worker’s ability to do their work effectively and impact their wellbeing.

Social workers have difficulty maintaining communication with…everyone.

Due to lack of technology or willingness to engage, communication proved to be a large obstacle for social workers that ultimately effected those needing assistance the most.

Social workers are hopeful that technology can solve the human services industry’s biggest issues.

But, they recognized technology has its own issues like client access, lack of boundaries, and data security and the safety of clients.

Social work isn’t all rewarding experiences–it’s an isolating, exhausting, and sometimes scary career.

With tele-health comes isolation, with home visits fear for their safety, and with technology poor boundaries with clients and coworkers.

Above all, social workers want to protect their clients.

This is difficult to do in an industry filled with bias against those who need compassion and empathy.

The future is focused on building out the Caretivity vision.

Our final deliverable consisted of three potential initiatives—ranging from a UX design sprint to researching other stakeholders—all focused on addressing the opportunities identified in our research. Through this project, we were able to identify how Northwoods could continue to serve social workers and their clients through new and innovative products and ideas.

Northwoods is evolving the human services experience.

What we delivered to Northwoods:

Audience Workshop


Research Roadmap

Opportunities Report