2. Understand phase

Find out the real service problem or opportunity

What to achieve in this phase

Stakeholders understand the real service problem or opportunity we’re developing a solution for.

The service problem or opportunity has been defined by:

  • making sense of customer and business information
  • identifying patterns and themes to find the underlying problem and opportunity.

Work in this phase

1. Tell the customer story

Show and tell stakeholders the stories you heard and learned from customers, so stakeholders can understand the current experience for customers.

Show stakeholders the patterns, insights and compelling needs you’ve identified (from the information gathered in the prepare phase) to give stakeholders the context for identifying underlying problems and opportunities.

2. Analyse the customer and business information you’ve gathered

Take the mainly abstract customer and business information you gathered during the prepare phase and put it into meaningful categories and relationships. Structure the information to:

  • capture the stories customers have told about their experiences
  • give a comprehensive view of a customer’s journey and experience, from the beginning, middle and end, as they use a service
  • understand a customer’s interactions (with government and non-government organisations) and experiences across a specific event happening in their life
  • get a picture of the system processes across a service, multiple services or “life event” and overlay that picture with what a customer is doing at the same time.

3. Identify patterns and themes in the information

As you structure the information, look for patterns and trends, for example:

  • What themes are emerging from the information about customer and business needs?
  • What new or unexpected insights are coming out of the information?

4. Get to the heart of the problem or opportunity

As compelling insights and needs are identified, look for:

  • the underlying problem contributing to the identified needs
  • the opportunities becoming apparent – to meet a need or fill a gap.

5. Develop a collective understanding of the problem or opportunity

Work with stakeholders to develop a collective understanding of the problem or opportunity.

Use the outcomes of the work you’ve done in this phase to inform conversations and help reach a collective understanding of the underlying problem or opportunity.

Use this collective understanding of the underlying problem or opportunity to inform the next phases (create and develop) of the work.

Useful tools for this phase

Analyse customer and business information

Identify patterns

Affinity diagram

Get to the heart of the problem or opportunity