Icon’s Service Design Methodology for Government Agencies

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At Icon, we aim to create services that deliver strategic value for our clients and are seamless, accessible, and effective for users.

‘Service Design’ refers to planning and organising a service's resources—including people, infrastructure, materials, and communications—to improve its quality, the interaction between the service provider and customers, and the customer experience. Great service design should be frictionless, accessible, and centred around the user's needs.

Within government agencies, service design focuses on improving the quality and efficiency of public services and creating more effective, user-centred solutions for the Australian public.

Icon’s Service Design team uses a multidisciplinary approach, combining research expertise, strategic communications, creative ideation, content strategy and design, website design and development, social media management, behaviour change, and crisis and reputation management.

We also know we don’t know all the answers, which is why we engage with independent subject matter experts and organisations to inform and validate our work.

A typical Service Design project incorporates many elements, as described below.

Research and Discovery

This is the initial phase of the service design process, when our team aims to form a deep understanding of the service’s objectives, and begin identifying solutions that are desirable and viable. This phase also includes a detailed study of service users and stakeholders' needs, expectations, and behaviour. We employ methods such as surveys, interviews, ethnographic studies, and inputs from subject matter experts to co-design the framework of a new or improved service. The findings from this phase inform the rest of the service design process.

User Personas and Journey Mapping

This phase involves creating detailed profiles—also known as personas—of the typical service users or audience. A user “journey map” is created for each persona, which visually represents a user’s interactions with the service. These journeys provide a nuanced understanding of users' experiences and identify pain points and opportunities for improvement of the service.

To design services for people of all backgrounds and abilities, it's crucial that we consult with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) and languages other than English (LOTE) audiences, and implement appropriate accessibility requirements.

Internal process review

Here, we look at back-of-house operations and processes, interview front-line staff, and recommend how to streamline, optimise and enhance for your team and users.

Ideation and Concept Development

In this phase, considerations for communications, creative treatment, platforms and channels are formed. Based on the insights gleaned from the research and user journey mapping, potential solutions to identified problems are generated. Early concepts and user journeys are used to develop and refine concepts for improved services.

Co-Creation Workshops

Involving users and other stakeholders in the design process through co-creation workshops ensures that the service design meets actual user needs and is not based on assumptions. This increases the usability of the service and overall user satisfaction.

Prototyping and Testing

In this phase, concepts are transformed into tangible service prototypes and tested with users and other stakeholders. Prototyping and testing aim to validate ideas and refine the design based on user feedback before fully implementing the service.

Implementation and Evaluation

The new service is implemented once the service design has been refined based on user feedback. This can include a new or refreshed website and technology stack, communications or creative campaign, or an end-to-end solution.

After implementation, the service is monitored and evaluated to assess its effectiveness and identify areas for further improvement.

In leveraging Icon’s multidisciplinary expertise, we ensure that every stage of this process is integrated to deliver a holistic, seamless service, including strategic communications, content production, editorial and PR, website design, social media management, media training and crisis management.

The outcome should be a service that meets user needs and strengthens trust and engagement between government agencies and the public they serve.

Applying Service Design to Behaviour Change Campaigns

Behaviour change campaigns influence or promote changes in individual or group behaviour, typically for social, health, or environmental reasons.

Icon’s behaviour change team work at the forefront of social and behaviour change thinking to harness the power of social science, behavioural psychology, ethnographic research and behavioural identity to uncover and analyse key drivers of change and then mobilise them through end-to-end service design.

Effective campaigns require a deep understanding of the target audience's needs, perceptions, and current behaviour. This is where service design principles and methodologies come into play, ensuring the campaign is designed with the target audience at its centre to deliver content, messages, information and tools that resonate and change behaviours.

With specialisations in social cohesion, health, sustainability, and tackling misinformation, Icon is ready to help frame, implement, manage and measure your next public service or behaviour change project.

Here are two examples of complex service design and behaviour change programs designed, developed and maintained by Icon:

Fearlessly Australian – A primary prevention communications program that promotes pro-social attitudes and behaviours to help reduce the risk of young Australians engaging in radical online content that could lead to violent extremism. The program includes stories and experiences of remarkable Australians who have found inner strength in times of adversity to inspire a generation of young Australians to do the same.

Different languages, same aged care – The Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care provides a free translation service in conjunction with Icon Agency and our consortium partners.

> Read more about Icon’s behaviour change service
> Read more about Icon’s digital services for government agencies