Thursday, 22 November 2012

Designing to fail

TheoryTo design better public services, listen to service users, hear their pain and happiness, and let them shape the service. Pilot, or better still prototype and test. Learn from the pilot. Refine. Make sure you have allocated sufficient funds. Risk assess and manage risks. Train users and and deliverers.

Practice: Announce shift to Universal Credit benefits system from October 2013. Plan to pilot in April 2013 (i.e in Spring and Summer). HM Treasury state in 2012 no more money will be available to introduce new system - NB before the pilot. Base delivery design on an unrepresentative sample, namely "reflect the experience of working people". Acknowledge that those delivering the service do not have the manpower or skills to teach users how to use the internet, even though the deliver channel is internet.

Dependencies: Appropriate IT system.  User/IT interfaces fit for purpose. Potential outsourced delivery partner with capacity and capability to handle big bang roll out.

Risk: High risk of voter dissatisfaction. High risk of displacement of problem from one budget to another. High risk of service users not being able to access service on run up Christmas 2013.  High risk of users not having access to services in as winter weather approaches

Time of impact: Just as users, friends and relatives start to think of who they would want to govern them for the following five years.

Outcome: Potential design to fail case study aimed at providing useful lessons for the future training on:
"We were trying to get them to think about products from a supply chain and user-experience point of view rather than in terms of policy roll out."

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