Victorian service design program wins global award

By Jason Whittaker

October 7, 2015

A Victorian government pilot around smarter service delivery and more convenient citizen transactions has won global recognition.

The government worked with Melbourne-based service design consultancy Thick on the six-month project, exploring current service experiences and future preferences for citizens. Two pop-up service centres were created to survey users and prototype platforms.

The Victorian government is preparing to roll out a government-wide customer service solution similar to Service NSW. The government committed $15 million to build a business case in this year’s budget.

The pilot saw Thick pick up an award for excellence in impacting systemic change at the Service Design Network Awards in New York over the weekend. The consultancy says the award is an endorsement of service design to better frame problems and prototype solutions within the public sector.

The two service centres trialled a variety of new service ideas, interrogated current digital services and surveyed users about their experiences of government interfaces. Users could find and complete more than 200 transactions across multiple government agencies.

“… they’re actually going out to the customer base and asking them, ‘how can we make ourselves better for you?’.”

Thick conducted months of in-home interviews and workshops exploring attitudes to government and their transaction preferences. Emerging tracking technology anonymously matched survey data with usage of the physical space and behaviour across digital platforms.

“To better understand a citizen’s interaction with government,” Thick creative director Adam Morris explained, “we needed to join up the physical and digital experience.

“We used various systems to allow us to track entire service experience, stitching together citizen attitudes, physical service preferences and their interaction with digital service touch points. This allowed us to iterate the service experience based on the whole picture.”

Paul Santamaria, a project manager as part of the Victorian Transaction Reform Program within the Department of Premier and Cabinet, says programs must be customer-led.

“Rather than government thinking they can just implement something new, they’re actually going out to the customer base and asking them, ‘how can we make ourselves better for you?’,” he said.

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