Lab+: Norming and performing

TL;DR

We have put together a draft Lab+ work plan (available in Google Slides or as accessible HTML) to help you better understand what we are trying to do. Please let us know what you think and we will update the plan as we go. We suggest you work through the information pack, but below is most of the content for convenience and discovery.

Finalising our goals, approach and outcomes

The basics

Life is about people, not agencies. When people contact government they usually want to do something broader than the agency’s scope, but often services reflect agency priorities and silos. As we move to a digital-by-default model of service provision we need to place customers at the centre of service design but we also need a model for agencies enable cross-agency, cross-government and cross-sector service delivery.

Lab+ is an experiment to explore how we can do this in a sustainable, scalable and effective way, that taps into the needs and natural motivations of individuals, agencies, private/community sectors, and the system as a whole.

Lab+ is also an “innovation lab” for government as a mechanism to bring together design, technology, information management and agile development for more rapid and targeted service design and development.

The Lab+ team includes skilled people from design, technology, information management, public policy and other backgrounds, from public and private sectors working together.

What we’re doing

Our goals are to:

  • test the “innovation lab” model for rapid design and delivery of integrated services
  • test the Federated Services Delivery, technical & integration assumptions
  • explore new operating model based on “government as a platform” with an ecosystem of service delivery
  • conduct the discovery/design for two life events/services
  • deliver a first iteration integrated service for one life event
  • apply agile + user centred design + engineering + evidence and analysis
  • deliver at least one reusable component.

What we’ll deliver

Our planned outcomes are to:

  • discover, design and implement alpha service for one life event including future state mock-up and service finder
  • discovery for another life event
  • implementation plan for future state based on functional requirements
  • analyse system needs (the service delivery ecosystem, agencies, etc)
  • develop services register with public API
  • analyse of the Lab+ model for all of government (applied innovation lab)
  • create Service Innovation Toolkit update and lessons learned from Lab and Lab+
  • insights, designs, prototypes and code made available for public validation
  • showing what a cross-branch, cross-agency and cross-disciplinary approach can achieve.

Why are we doing this?

Well, we're exploring three problem areas:

The user problem

The Result 10 customer research told us that the traditional model of designing and delivering government services does not meet the modern needs of people. Individuals often see government as one entity, albeit with many agencies but they don’t want to deal with the complexities of government structure to get what they need. Often government services appear to be designed for agencies first, so the user experience remains inconsistent, split across different agencies and split across public and private sectors. People want the benefits of a connected government that meets their needs whilst respecting privacy and giving them more control over their experience.

The agency problem

Agencies are being asked to apply a “federated services” model to integrate their services for customers but because there is no reference implementation for this, they are having to undertake the financial and technical risk in interpreting what it means. Some agencies are heavily investing in APIs and channel strategies which are usually constrained to individual agency needs and would benefit from a holistic “Govt as a Platform” approach. Decision making is split along functional lines (eg information management, service design and ICT). Agencies are naturally constrained in scope & and motivated by their individual budgets, mandate and priorities but want to deliver and support better services and would benefit from engaging with and supporting an ecosystem of private and community sector service delivery.

The private/community sector problem

The private and community sectors are naturally motivated to deliver integrated services for people, but cannot access a lot of authoritative information, APIs or other programmatically available government data, content, transaction services or business rules in easily consumable ways. They often resort to scraping information and business rules which although more comprehensive across the public sector, are not highly accurate and are expensive to maintain. They also, at some point, have to refer users to individual agencies as the delivery of services is limited to those agencies.

If we want to solve the user, agency and private/community sector problems, we need a holistic and systemic change that puts users at the centre of the design, and that builds on the work of individual agencies combined with the natural motivation of a broader ecosystem to deliver integrated citizen services. If we build “government as a platform” wherein the data, content, transaction systems, business rules and common components of government are programmatically available, three key benefits emerge:

  1. people receive integrated services designed around their needs
  2. agencies can more cheaply build and iterate their own services
  3. private, community and public sectors can build integrated services
  4. the efficiencies of machine to machine automation, with citizen consent.

Process

This is the high-level process we plan to take:

  • Review research and work done to date across agencies to identify problem areas, end users, system users, and other stakeholders.
  • Identify the user/stakeholder segments and describe/define corresponding profiles.
  • Interview users/stakeholders to identify user journeys, pain points, user and system needs unfiltered by sector or agency view.
  • Design future state mock-up options that address user needs and reflects how the journey could look if not limited by current technology and organisational constraints.
  • Test future state options with users and identify functional, system and governance requirements for all of government.
  • Develop first iteration service based on future state to immediately improve user experience.

Principles

Everything we do will be led by user-centred design where users include people who use government services, plus the system users such as government or non-government service providers, or even systems that could interface or consume such services. This approach maps out users, their needs, journey maps, and pain points. This will be compared against existing research both for validation and to identify areas where research, user need or service delivery are heavily or lightly subscribed. It will also inform the future state mockup clickable journey to test a cross agency, cross sector integrated service experience for users.

Approach

We will also apply modern technical and information management concepts to solving user needs, so the future state and first version service are based not just on what could be for users, but what could be for the systems, technical architecture and policy frameworks of government.

And success is?

Finally, how do we measure success in this space? We'll explore what is needed to do this properly across government, though we don't expect to fully solve this aspect in 3 months!

Testing assumptions

We plan to test and hopefully validate or prove otherwise a series of technical and design assumptions. Please see the information pack for details and let us know what you think.

Cheers,
Pia Waugh, Lead Cat Herder
Lab+ Team


* Lab+ is housed in the Service Innovation Lab, which is an experiment carried out under the leadership of the ICT Partnership Framework’s  Service Innovation Group.  It's managed by the Service Innovation Team in Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) in partnership with Assurity Consulting.

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