Posts tagged ‘JACS’

JR

“We’re asked if we can read, write and count, but what about behave?”

“I’ve had to continually redefine myself.”

“I had to learn about how to plan my day – that meant making sure I had somewhere to go during the day. I had to learn to do that.”

 

Imagine sharing this kind of vulnerability to groups of community providers, government workers, government bureaucrats, designers, academics and civil society experts. Five former participants of the ACT justice system, willing to share their lived experience, did just that in the first of two all-day workshops exploring justice reinvestment and the potential opportunities for developing a 12-month trial based in the ACT.

When seeking the ‘user voice’ in design, engaging ‘the voice of experience’, understanding the ‘user journey’, hearing from those with ‘lived experience’ – the reality of is you are bringing someone into a process who may not have had a good or even voluntary experience of that system and you’re asking them to share this. Sometimes, you’re asking them to help shape a better system. Most often we do that one-on-one through observation or ethnographically-based interviews. But this work required rapid engagement, rapid shared understanding, rapid development and iteration.
Have we said ‘rapid’ enough?

It is possible to work quickly and to engage all the users and we wanted to use this post to share how a current project committed to ensuring that the lived experience voice was not compromised by time.

Rapid process impacts depth not breadth

The project concerned involves the exploration of potential Justice Reinvestment trials with the ACT Government’s Justice and Community Safety Directorate (JACS), ACTCOSS and the Justice Reform Group (JRG). The outcome of the work will be to identify potential candidates for the trial, with the development of concept briefs to be considered through formal governance frameworks.

The time frames and structure of the service sector mean we’ve had to move quickly and engage large numbers of people and groups from across the justice system (and other related systems like health, housing and community services). As JACS, ACTCOSS and the JRG drive this project they have still insisted on a co-design approach. They know they don’t have the answers on their own.

The challenge of working to an aggressive time frame is things have to happen fast. When moving rapidly there can be pressure to not engage with the actual users of the service, that is a particular pressure when the users are at the complex end of service delivery such as prisoners and past-detainees and their families.

But at the same time, and despite that pressure, if you don’t involve the lived experience of those people in the justice system then it simply isn’t a co-design process.

Critical to this involvement was ACTCOSS and their commitment to co-design and their relationships in the community. We wouldn’t have access to lived experience participants at all without their efforts.

Facilitating the sharing of actual experience

After kicking off the workshop with traditional scene-setting, housekeeping and approach for the day the very first session was hearing from people with experience.

Each lived experience person sat at a table that included a range of public servants, community sector people, corrections officers, social workers and others they came into contact with in their daily lives, and they were ‘interviewed’ by their support or case worker about their experience of the justice system. We prompted what the questions were but they told their story, in their words.

For them, this was not just ‘lived’ experience; they are living it everyday.

It was critical to bring this experience to the table so that participants knew that they weren’t having abstract conversations for the rest of the day – they were talking about outcomes for real people. And those people were going to be working with them for the rest of the day. That also meant that all participants were focused on driving to an outcome for people, grounded in the experience of people who would end up as potential users of the trial.

What it was like for the lived experience participants

Interestingly, we expected our participants to leave after their session – we were told that was possible and worked the design of the workshop around not expecting (or demanding) that they be there. But as it turned out, each of them got so much out of the workshop as they realised that their opinion and experience was valid, and welcomed and necessary, and every single one of them stayed for the whole workshop.

For some preparing for the workshop meant they were given an opportunity to think about their experience from a different perspective. One participant said she’d never thought about ‘support’ before and her thinking helped her realised how important her family and friend’s were, as well as the ‘formal’ programs.

Another said said that she had personally got a lot out of the interview session as she’d “never actually been asked to describe [her] experience before”.

No compromise on user experience, engagement, involvement

We don’t underestimate the courage needed by these participants to front up to the room in the first place, and while we were extremely pleased about the influence they had on proceedings from a co-design process level, we were even more pleased that they got something out of it personally too.

The workshop, the co-design, and the experience could not have been the same without these voices. Designing the process to ensure they were able to be there, able to share, be protected and valued as much as all of the other participants, meant we came a long way during the day, and the second workshop later in July focused on defining the trials will similarly benefit from the voices of lived experience.

 

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DCC

Back in November we announced that we’d been chosen out of 11 ‘innovation’ teams to be a finalist in the Digital Canberra Challenge.

This week the competition ended with both finalists (ourselves and another local group of innovators DigiACTive) presenting their digital proof of concept to a judging panel and the winner being announced at an awards event / trade show.

We’ll get the bad news out of the way first. We didn’t win.

But that’s okay, because there is, as it turns out, lots of good news!

Bringing Service Design to new audiences

As we mentioned in our previous post on the Challenge we were really pleased to attack a digital product competition from a service design perspective. During the challenge we found that at all levels of interaction – with collaborators, clients, users, challenge judges and politicians – we were able to describe the benefits of a service design approach and the difference it can make to achieving both user and business outcomes.

Those who know us, know we are not evangelists for design. We rely on quality outcomes and the insights gathered and success for our clients. The opportunity to even use the language of service design with the Treasurer and Deputy Chief Minister, the nation’s largest ICT research group in NICTA and the Directorate we worked with on the challenge was a real buzz.

At the very least, we now know that our friends and collaborators in the Road User Services unit, when presented with complex business challenges, have the means to think about their business as a service and think about designing that service from the outside-in. That’s pleasing.

Building a killer product team and a killer product

The challenge gave us the space to set up a dream design team. Because of the digital focus, we looked to the local and global design community to pick out people that we thought would help us build a great product – it just so happened these were people we had wanted to work with for some time!

We contacted local designer-at-large David More to see if he’d be interested in brushing off his expert interaction design techniques; James Peek, who we’ve worked with in the past, stepped up as digital lead/developer and we reached across the Tasman to Empathy in Wellington to bring a broader ‘capital-city’ eye to the project.

The outcome was fantastic from a work and result point of view. Empathy gave us a perspective around the experience of booking a licence test that we hadn’t necessarily identified here in Canberra where the system is culturally and systemically quite different. David took the research findings and insights we had developed to design an interface and multiple product and service storyboards that really translated the IP into a functional and useable product. The design up-front meant James built in a relatively short space of time a functioning proof of concept that took all of our knowledge and delivered our multi-device platform, user-focused front-facing, back-end intergratable digital solution.

Screen shot 2014-03-26 at 1.30.32 PMWe are really proud of the product and hope to commercialise it – not just with our ACT Government partners, but more broadly in the market.

More importantly though, we are really happy that we got to build and work with an expert collaborative design team.

Creating a new body of knowledge for local government

While the product was killer, one of our key aims within the necessary constraints of the competition was to ensure we left our government team members with much more than just a tech proof of concept. We treated the Challenge like any normal paid job, moving through our normal service design stages, we created a wealth of IP around the concept of online booking and payment. The insights guided the product development, but also were wrapped up in a full design specification that not only outlines the product but user typologies, design principles and other key service design outputs.

As we’d done similar research for AGIMO about online government services just a few years ago, we were really fascinated about the difference in user needs identified this time around. Some of the key insights were:

  • Email remains critical as a confirmation device and is expected as part of any digital service.
  • Eligibility and other complex concepts must be masked by the digital service.
  • Digital-first is a service, but it must remain part of a multi-channel approach for users.

Along with the insights, we were able to leave the RUS team with some guiding principles to take into their future projects as part of the full design spec:

  • The digital product and service is designed to enable users to successfully achieve THEIR outcome.
  • There must be reduced EFFORT to complete a task online.
  • The use of the digital channel should be REWARDED.
  • All common digital channels must be CONSISTENT across government.

If you’d like to see copy of the final Proof of Concept and Case Study just get in touch, we are happy to share what was a public project.

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