Design Service Design

The Service Design Playbook beta version one

This first edition of The Service Design Playbook describes a comprehensive method for the BC Public Service (BCPS) to design great services for British Columbians.


Governments everywhere are faced with fewer resources to meet growing expectations from citizens. Customercentred design has made everyday activities like shopping and banking responsive to people both online and in person. Applying thoughtful, consistent design approaches to service can help the BCPS realize the improvements seen outside government. BC public servants bring compassion and program expertise to the job. The Playbook is intended to help ensure they have the necessary tools and corporate support to make change.

The vision

The shift envisioned in Citizens at the Centre focuses on self-service. It is about expanding opportunities for citizen self-service by improving and modernizing the government’s online services so they are shaped less by the structure of government and more by citizen needs. The digital service vision in the BCPS, which is based on the self-service shift of Citizens at the Centre, is about more than moving services online. The vision is based on the social value that citizens should be able to serve themselves to the extent that they are able or motivated to do so and that further assistance, or full service alternatives, will be available as needed. The Playbook’s approach is based on direct research with citizens and service providers, as well as prototyping and testing in the real world. Service delivery includes many kinds of exchanges between people, places and technologies, and it has been learned that the frustrations with service often happen between these touchpoints. It is about building services with the people who will be using them, as opposed to building services behind closed doors and hoping that they work. The service design approach brings together citizens and BC public servants to understand where the challenges are now and make sure we are solving real problems. These are practical tools to help us imagine, make and measure improved services. The Playbook is intended to help build a structure around the things that public servants inherently know when serving people. Public servants connect with people’s needs, answer those needs, and do it in a way that is efficient for the organization and outstanding for the citizen.
Most of the time citizens prefer to go about their lives and not have to deal with government. But when they do need something from government—a permit, a tax break or care for an ageing parent—they want both the service itself, and the information available about the service, to be simple and supportive. Public servants strive to make that simplicity possible on the frontlines and in the overall design of services. Of course it does not work perfectly every time; however, everyone has had that feeling of providing exemplary service. That positive service experience builds trust and confidence in government and motivates employees in the work they do.

READ  What is the value of service design

The value of service design

There is value in the service experience in the BCPS. As service quality goes up, costs come down because issues are addressed in less time. Service design is a tool for doing good work in improving the public service and can save time and money while improving the service experience.
Compared to budgets for significant capital and ongoing transformation projects, service design is a relatively small investment to ensure that outcomes and needs have a foundation of evidence and insight to guide project decisions and strategy




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