1. Prepare phase

Getting started and gathering information

What to achieve for this phase

Stakeholders understand the value of the design work you’ll deliver and how it will help meet their objectives.

Information has been discovered and gathered about customer needs, requirements and business knowledge of the service.

Work in this phase

1. Start by having a conversation with stakeholders

Talk to your stakeholders to find out:

  • their view of the service problem or changes needed
  • context – where did this work come from?
  • their expectations for the work
  • their business objectives (and how this work can support those objectives).

Stakeholders to include in your conversation:

Decision-maker stakeholders - people within an agency who own, fund and govern the work. For example:

  • sponsors of the work/project
  • work/project funders
  • business and product owners
  • senior organisation leaders.

Advisory stakeholders - people within an agency that don’t own the work but have an interest in the work.  For example:

  • ensuring their area or organisation is correctly represented in the work
  • providing an assurance role (e.g. proposed solution is legislatively correct)
  • their area may be dependent on the work/project outcomes (or the work/project has a dependency on their area or work)
  • providing an advisory or review role to the work, at the request of decision-maker stakeholders.

2. Work out if a service design approach is needed

Use the information from your conversation with stakeholders to work out if a service design approach is needed.

Below are some questions to help you decide if a service design approach is needed for the work.

Is the service problem or opportunity already clear?

  • If yes – consider whether the work required is designing and/or implementing a solution (in which case use the create and develop phases of this approach).
  • If no – use this approach to define the service problem or opportunity before designing a solution.

Has a service solution already been identified?

  • If yes – consider whether the work required is implementing the solution (in which case use the create and develop phases of this approach).
  • If no – use this approach to identify a service solution. Also check if the service problem or opportunity (that you’re designing a solution for) is clear.

Do stakeholders (commissioning the work) support the customer-centred principles of this approach?

  • If yes – use this approach to help make sure you identify customer needs and service solutions are designed to meet those customer needs.
  • If no – talk to your stakeholders to identify if there are relevant or affected customers (including staff). If there are relevant or affected customers, work with your stakeholders to identify the benefits of taking a customer-centered approach to the work. If there are no relevant or affected customers, then advise your stakeholders that a service design approach is likely not required for this work.

3. Tell stakeholders the design story

You’ve worked out that a service design approach is appropriate for the work. Now tell this story back to your stakeholders to get their buy-in and establish a brief for the work.

Your story needs to be compelling and communicate:

  • the value of taking a service design approach to solving the problem, and how this approach will help stakeholders meet their business objectives
  • key requirements, expectations and outcomes of using this approach – for example:
    • finding out and understanding customer and business needs (prepare phase)
    • identifying the real service problem or opportunity (understand phase)
    • collaborating to come up with potential solution ideas (create phase)
    • prototyping and testing to develop ideas into workable solutions (develop phase).

4. Find out the customer experience

Find out who the relevant or affected customers are for this service problem or opportunity. Then learn about their experiences, what they’re doing, what they want to achieve and how this service (or government interaction) fits into the bigger picture of their lives.

Find out about customer experiences using existing customer research (for example the Result 10 Customer Research) and using design research methods to find, talk to and listen to customers.

5. Find out the business perspective

Understand the service problem or opportunity from an agency and business perspective.

Find out from multidisciplinary team members (e.g. architects, business analysts, policy, and subject matter experts) about relevant:

  • business processes
  • policy and legislation
  • business requirements
  • system and architectural information.

Useful tools for this phase