Design the key to solving challenges.

David Hayward - 7 January 2019

All of Government Digital Transformation Conference 2018

Since the days of dot matrix there’s always been a sense among corporates that government agencies stand at the blunt rather than cutting edge of digital advancement.

But could the worm be turning? After mingling with public servants for two days at the All of Government Digital Transformation Conference,, I’m starting to wonder if some government agencies can soon be teaching corporates a thing or two. Not in terms of software or hardware but thinking around the likes of user and customer experience.

One of the most interesting or impressive aspects was often the scale and complexity of much of the thinking.

Auckland Transport’s Roger Stone talked about mapping an entire city to determine not only how we interact with AT-owned assets but someone driving a private vehicle on a public road too. It’s kind of like using design to nudge behaviours … where you’re trying to get people to prioritise certain types of transport over others. And then map out why people go on different journeys.

While Alan Bell, director of digital identity transition at Internal Affairs, provided insight into the challenge of unlocking opportunities in the NZ economy through a ‘NZ fit’ digital ID.

Yip, that means RealMe or at least a new and improved version. RealMe has to be one of those classic examples of feature creep that everyone finds hard to use (including me!). As the service has proved, it’s a tough job balancing privacy requirements with the need for pleasant user experience. What’s great though is that everyone recognises this, so there’s a big push in government circles to get it right and Alan is leading the charge.

'Citizen experience' is the new buzzword.

Customer experience – or citizen experience as it is termed in Government circles – manifested itself in an incredible ways across a dizzying range of Government services.

Darryl Carpenter and Nadia Webster from the Department of Internal Affairs, talked about their visions of citizen-centric design, automated service design and delivery.

Matthew Kennedy-Good explained how (part of MBIE) is enabling time and resource-stretched SMEs to not only access but find resources, information and support.

And, Nic Chrisp (Waikato Regional Council) delivered her entire talk ‘Through the Looking Glass’, by interpreting Lewis Carroll’s ‘Alice In Wonderland’!

From a digital agency viewpoint, the most heartening realisation was just how all-pervasive design has become.

Many government departments are now using design as a lever to create better outcomes for those who interact them. Better yet, design thinkers are driving the organisational transformation that is necessary to enable digital transformation. And that's great because that's what we at Dave Clark Design are all about - pragmatic design solutions.