Design your way to higher citizen engagement, improved mission outcomes

By Olof Schybergson, CEO and Co-Founder, Fjord (part of Accenture Interactive), and Kathy Conrad, Director of Digital Government, Accenture Federal Services

Think about the customer experiences you have in a given day or week. Perhaps you deposit a check, order a gift, watch a movie or book a trip. Chances are, those experiences are enabled for digital and mobility — so you can easily complete them when, where and how it’s most convenient for you. As part of the experience, you might benefit from personalized content or recommendations for related products and services.

You would likely expect to have a comparable experience when interacting with government, whether renewing your driver’s license, filing your taxes or applying for a passport. In fact, a March 2016 Accenture survey found that 85 percent of Americans expect government digital services to meet or exceed commercial standards — 16-percent increase from just two years ago.

These rapidly changing expectations put tremendous pressure on government to reshape the experiences it delivers. In the digital world, citizens want customized public service experiences and visibility into the process and status of their interactions. How can government meet these rising expectations? Accenture views service design as one of the most effective tools to help ANY organization deliver higher-caliber experiences.

Service design is the discipline for thinking through the intangible factors that combine to deliver positive, effective experiences for a diverse array of customers across multiple channels. It addresses the technology, tools and systems required to deliver those experiences consistently and in a way that meets users’ expectations. It blends art and science, data and creativity — combining innovative ethnographic research techniques with human-centered design principles to optimize the end-to-end user journey across multiple touchpoints and over time.

Above all, service design is about approaching customer experiences holistically to deliver an integrated experience. Whether government is crafting new services or reimagining current ones, service design can help.

For many government organizations, service design represents a major shift. No matter where your organization falls on the journey to service design, consider the Design Rule of Three — core elements for success:

1. Design thinking — embracing new ways of understanding and solving problems

2. Design doing — taking the resulting ideas and getting them out into the world. Prototypes and pilots help bring ideas to life quickly for testing and iteration before full-scale launch.

3. Culture of design — creating an environment that encourages fresh thinking and agile doing. The most challenging of the three, culture can include everything from changing physical spaces to enable collaboration to fostering change agents and internal champions to disrupt the status quo, making it “safe” to take risks.

The Design Rule of Three provides a high-level framework for embracing service design — but it’s only the beginning. At the upcoming Code for America Summit, Olof Schybergson, Fjord CEO, and his team will be exploring service design in greater depth. In addition to taking a closer look at the Design Rule of Three, they will deliver a fast-paced session that brings service design to life.