Queensland Government is on a journey to embed design practices at scale. Applying a human-centred design approach to developing a framework for building design capability (yes, meta) resulted in a solution appropriate for and specific to the context of government, accommodating the diversity of roles, existing processes, culture and constraints.
Queensland Government faces complex service challenges that design is uniquely placed to address. With a drive to put customers at the centre service delivery, One-Stop-Shop sought to raise adoption of human-centred design practices across the board.
We engaged with staff in a diversity of roles and levels across government agencies to create a shared understanding of the environment in which services are created and delivered including people involved and existing processes. Together we identified the factors that contribute to the successful adoption of design, and the constraints and challenges unique to the government context.
Many of the available design toolkits focus on methods but lack advice people need to overcome the challenges of implementing human-centred design in complex organisational contexts. We co-designed a capability building framework that contextualises human-centred design specifically within government, acknowledging the nuance of operations and integrating with existing processes. This includes:
- A toolkit that demystifies design and frames the value of design in context of government, providing solutions addressing specific challenges revealed in the research.
- Distilled, single source of Queensland Government customer insights.
- Education methods to support growth at scale, including a skills matrix and virtual coaching.
The collaborative process and adoption of the toolkit and design capability building framework has increased awareness and uptake of human-centred design practices across Queensland Government.
- Staff report increased confidence in explaining how design aligns with other processes, in advocating for a human-centred design approach, and holding stakeholders accountable to the process.
- Taking a cross-agency co-design approach resulted in the establishment of a consistent approach to design which has opened the door to greater collaboration and a consistent approach.
- Beyond the public sector, the toolkit has been adopted by organisations who collaborate with Queensland government to establish alignment in approach.
The capability building framework is designed to empower everyone in government to take a design approach to their work. It establishes the benefits of taking a human-centred design approach, sharing case studies and success stories from different agencies. It provides practical support assisting staff to apply design methods on any project with any level of experience.
Additional key features of the approach include:
- An initial set of prototype tools and templates were co-created and distributed across government agencies for testing. There were also tested live on two large-scale projects. Feedback from this testing informed iterations of the toolkit and the approach.
- Designed as a framework of resources rather than a static asset, the toolkit continues to improve with ongoing feedback and is being transformed into a digital experience.
- We tested an array of methods to support the adoption of human-centred design at scale. Staff across Queensland Government now attend training built on the basis of learnings.
- We created a synthesised repository of existing customer insights that saves time and money by allowing staff to understand what is already known.
- The framework has not only been widely adopted across Queensland but by other governments who are developing their internal design capability.