Last year I had the pleasure of participating as a judge at the UK Digital Experience Awards.

It was a fantastic experience and one that I would recommend to anyone interested in taking part. It was really valuable to get an insight into some fantastic projects across different sectors and to see how they have used digital to improve their services and customer’s experience.

For me, the most important thing was not just the results gained, but their approach in achieving them. And this is where some of the judges had different perspectives on what we thought ‘good’ looks like.

The main areas of discussion and debate were:

  1. Understanding the problem properly
  2. Working collaboratively
  3. Working in an agile way: failing fast, learning fast

Understanding the problem properly

A lot of the time, companies will focus on an area of their business that they feel needs to be improved which is either an area of high cost or an aspect of the business their competitors have excelled at. However, this approach can often result in the business already having an idea on what part of their service they want to improve and the proposed solution, which is more market driven by competitors. Whilst this can be beneficial, it’s important to understand whether or not this is actually something their users want.

Some user research would normally be undertaken, often stemmed from what was already understood to be the ‘solution’. An investigation into understanding the problem in the service has to be thorough if you are to truly understand what your users need.

Working collaboratively: ‘Look sideways’

In MOJ digital, one of our sayings is to “look sideways”. It’s really important to check that no one has already done what you’re trying to do elsewhere inside and outside of the organisation, or at least attempted to. More often than not, someone will have already attempted to improve or re-design something similar.

It’s important to collaborate with these people or groups, as it can help speed up delivery and improve quality. It also enables teams to access key information and insights, as those people would have often already done most the leg work.

Working in an agile way: failing fast, learning fast

If you’re making new changes to improve a service, you’re bound to make mistakes or deliver something that might not quite meet your customer requirements. However, if you’ve involved your customers from the start and continue to engage them in the feedback process, these mistakes or failures are opportunities to improve and learn.

The most impressive projects were actually those that were honest about their failures in improving a service and how they solved them with the help of their users.

Redesigning public services

At the Ministry of Justice, we have a team of digital specialists redesigning public services, by making them simple, quick and easy to use, to save public money and meet user needs. The work is challenging and meaningful, making it incredibly rewarding. We work in agile way to deliver work quickly, and ensure services are designed around the user.

If you’re interested in delivering meaningful work in an intelligent way, we’re hiring!

Please get in touch with members of our recruitment team on: recruitment@digital.justice.gov.uk.

You can also check out some of work we do on our blog.

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