Duration | July - October 2020
My role | User Research, Service Design, UX Design, UI Design
Things I learned | Yes, the government needs to evolve, but this is not done by walking into their doors and screaming "disruption!". It needs to be done purposefully and aware, step by step, because change is not just process but also mindset.
Challenges | open to solutions vs. knowing what the outcome will be
The most fun | Teamwork between fellows and DRV, including talking to its consultants across departments germany-wide
Credits | Vanessa Espinosa Ureta, Julian Wildmann, Leonhard Melzer, Manuela Kröger, Andrea Vojacek, Ulrike Hundt
"Tech4Germany is the technology task force for the federal government under the patronage of the head of the Federal Chancellery. We bring together the country's best digital talents and creative minds in a 12-week program with government agencies and ministries to work on Germany's biggest digital challenges."
We created a concept for a video consulation service with the Deutsche Rentenversicherung, combining an instant service with being able to schedule a meeting for later.
Curious to see how we worked?
Go ahead and watch the clip down below!
Happy with what you see?
How might we support DRV clients in a simple, userfriendly way to use its online services?
Important to know
The Deutsche Rentenversicherung already runs a video consultation service. This service is offered by 3/16 subbranches and involves having to schedule a meeting beforehand. Each branch organizes its own resources when it comes to consultants and available dates.
We started researching about the current video consultation service, red reviews as well as looked at other examples in the public sector, that were user friendly, e. g. gov.uk.
We continued by talking to individuals germany-wide:
Clients, who have been in contact with the DRV. Clients, who have already used the video consultation before. Consultants, who are experienced in doing video consultation.
We were lucky to have gotten the opportunity to see two video consultations live. This way, we not only heard about the service, but actually experienced it ourselves.
Gaining Empathy & Mapping Insights on a Service Blueprint
Our goal was to get a holistic view of current pains as well as strengths from both sides: Clients and consultants. This way, we gained empathy for all roles and stakeholders that are connected to this service.
> 30 Challenges identified
Example: Meetings are not flexible enough
This is the desk of a video consultant.
The clock just hit 2pm, time for the next meeting. A pop-up opens and demands the consultant to enter the call.
The consultant has one minute to react. If he misses this window of time, the pop-up dissapears. There is no way he can initiate the meeting by himself. The only actions left to do is to call the client over the phone or call the inhouse-IT.
Depending on the consultant this can lead to stress due to a lack of control of meetings.
Presenting insights from the problem space
After having conducted many interviews and gained several insights, we presented our work to everybody, who was interested as well as participated within the DRV.
This way we connected individuals across hierarchies and departments.
Personal highlight of the problem space
I really enjoyed talking to clients of the DRV and consultants alike. At this point we had not decided yet who our user is going to be. I loved this hollistic approach and deep-dive into a topic, which can have such a great impact!
OPENING UP THE SOLUTION SPACE
Prototyping workshop with the DRV
We planned and conducted a four hour workhop with the entire team including Matthias Flügge, the Chief Digital Officer (CDO) of the DRV Bund.
Our goal was to melt the icebox, where he had collected ideas that came up in the problem space.
At this point we had not finally decided which challenge we wanted to pursue with the project.
The goal was to finally get started with the doing and get into the right mindset!
Prioritizing a challenge
Having identified more than 30 challenges through research, we pre-selected nine by using dot voing between just us fellows. The next step was to engage in an open discussion with the DRV in order to prioritize together.
It turned out to be a challenge for all of us to align due to several different points of view, but we made it work and came up with the following challenge.
How might we support clients as fast as possible as well as in person?
We kick-started the solution space by conducting a design sprint.
It was my responsibility to plan it, moderate it whilst also participating as a UX Designer.
Iterations & User Testings
Several iterations later we finished the prototype and wrote user stories as a hand-over delivery for the DRV. In addition we generated a User Flow Chart as reference that visualizes our concept.
client of DRV in user test
If you finish this service until next monday, I will instantly use it.
Before this project, we fellows did not know each other. It was a very exciting time getting to know each other and identifying strenghts and weeknesses. To enjoy our time together and find the ideal work balance, we started doing weekly retros. Increase - decrease - keep - loose - thoughts.
For me it was a great experience having this safe space whilst talking about current thoughts and feelings. I felt that this really helped us to grow together and made me realize how much I value a good and healthy feedback culture.
Any movement is movement
Sometimes it can feel like you are stuck. Ironically, it can happen when you really want to get something done and plan in big steps. It can therefore be very helpful to remind each other that any movement is better then no movement at all, even if you have high expectations and try to reach high.
Sometimes things take time.
Have empathy not just for users, but for stakeholders & teammates
It is good and healthy when discussions arise within the team. Different points of view come together to merge and synthesise into one statement everybody can get behind of.
When these situations happen, I find it very helpful to research your teammates and stakehodler: Why do they say, what they say? What is the underlying mindset? Is there a reason we are not aware of yet? - Having empathy for everybody and not just users is critical for good team work.
Disruption in the public sector?!
In the beginning I was a bit naive and thought we are really going to change how the public sector works. We did influence it, but not by disrupting it as I imagined before. Now I know this is good. Steps need to be done with full awareness and it's not just about changing how something works, but also influencing the mindset of everybody along the way. This takes time if it is done sustainably.
Impact vs. feasability
During this project I thought a lot about impact vs. feasability. What good does it if you work on something that would have a crazy big impact, but is not feasable to realize?
On the other hand: What good does something do when it's feasable to realize, but does not have an impact? It's about the balance of both.
Diversity & interdisciplinary working
Our team consisted of DRV experts, one product manager, one engineer and two designers. We each had a different background and cultural experiences, which made it very exciting and fruitful to work with.
This experince has truly shaped my mindset and way of thinking, which I am so grateful for!
Meet the team
Top left to bottom right: Vanessa Espinosa Ureta, Julian Wildmann, Leonhard Melzer, Manuela Kröger, Ulrike Hundt, Inken Alber, Andrea Vojacek