Designing a future way of working at the City of Sydney
In 2019, Meld Studios helped the City of Sydney to uncover a future way of working for a critical internal service body so that they might better inform, engage, and educate the community. This body, now known as the City Communications, comprises Marketing, Web, Creative Services, Communications and Media. Our outputs included a powerful visual (shown in the feature image) to communicate how these teams and stakeholders will work together.
City of Sydney (the City) saw an opportunity to improve how City Communications (the team) could work more effectively to reach and engage with the community. The City needed to know how the team could be communicating in more collaborative and impactful ways, and how a review of their ways of working might act as a platform for change.
The key was to uncover and unlock the potential value of this critical collective to bring the future of the City’s communications to life. The brief for this project was to:
- Define the current state experience
- Define the future service model and strategic intent.
What we did
We ran a three-week program of research which included a mix of qualitative interviews, creative workshops, and desk research. The aim was to develop an understanding of the current state of service delivery and aspirations for the future.
Using service design to uncover and define a future way of working was a big risk to the City, having never used this approach for a formal review. Our process allowed those who would be impacted to define how change should proceed. Through speaking with 133 people, we developed a comprehensive understanding of what was inhibiting their potential. This led us to broaden our scope from individual roles to new ways of working as a collective.
Our outputs included recommendations for:
- How to position the team’s services
- How to deliver these services
- How work processes, team structures, and office environments can support these new ways of working.
This work was a platform for change. The design process gave individuals and teams the permission to participate, decide, and then enact the change they wanted to see in their organisation. This transformed a culture of siloed teams into a cohesive multifunctional unit of strategic thinkers and creative professionals. This has enabled widespread coordination of key messaging across all channels tasked with reaching and informing the community.
We started this project with the recognition that what makes individuals and teams work well is a shared understanding of each other's abilities and a common purpose. The knowledge and capacity for change existed within the people themselves.
Key outcomes include:
Helping the team develop a reputation as strategic thinkers and creative professionals;
Dialling up internal communications across the organisation, and improving knowledge of the team’s capabilities;
Enhancing transparency of strategic communication priorities;
Developing the ability to right-size the work (and response) based on need, complexity, capability, and priority;
Reinvigorating the use of audience research;
Developing the case for the team’s early involvement;
Redefining team structure to reflect the type of work; and
Developing a new evaluation method based on predetermined success measures.
Want to learn more?