Services Week is an annual celebration of transformation and end to end service design in central and local government. Many live and remotely hosted events happened across England and Scotland, and for the first time we at Stockport Council joined in.

What we did during the week
We started small this year to test the water, so our Services Week consisted of group viewings of the remote lunch time case studies and one community of practice session on user research. We want everyone to know at least a little bit about human centered design and service design, so the sessions were advertised and open to a wide range of colleagues from different areas and disciplines.

During the week we had posters leading people to the sessions, watched the case studies together over lunch, and shared the links to join remotely in case people couldn’t or didn’t want to leave their desks. We also tweeted about Services Week via #digitalstockport.

The following week we sent out a survey to find out what people thought of the sessions, how they were advertised, and how we might approach similar events in the future.

What we learned from the case studies
From the feedback we saw that people’s motivation to engage in our Services Week was mainly to find out more about other people’s experience of digital transformation, their working practices/how roles collaborate, and to see ‘real life’ examples of those things in action.

Some of the key things we learned from the lunch time and other remote sessions were:

  • how to use a consistent framework and metrics to approach measuring services and their performance
  • the future of user research and how it will keep moving into the policy-making space
  • the challenges around seamlessness when making the user transition from one platform/system to another during their journey (and that honesty and transparency about these is often the better approach)
  • what a good remote presentation looks like, and how simple and clear visuals are key
  • that we’re on the right track in terms of the processes and approaches we use at Stockport to design and deliver end-to-end services

Liked and lacked
The key thing people enjoyed about Services Week was being able to see what others are doing and how they are getting on. They also liked being able to watch with colleagues and discuss projects, they liked that the presenters were really honest and open about challenges and failures, and that there was time for questions at the end.

In terms of what could have been better, people mentioned that they wanted to see more of the whole journey behind projects, all the way from discovery to live. We also found that people did not come to certain sessions because of the subject matter/title, although for a lot of them the focus was also on the approach and process (which would be applicable to any project.)

Reflection for the next Services Week (or similar events)
The main barrier for more people coming along to events was the lack of time to step away from day to day work. They also told us that it could have been advertised better, and that it felt very much focused on design and digital disciplines only. This meant that there was not as much engagement as we had hoped for (although we had a few dedicated regulars coming to multiple sessions).

From the survey we also have more insight into what channels people think these kinds of sessions should be advertised through, and we’ll try and make things more accessible/relevant to a wider audience in the future. There was also some feedback around the logistics of the sessions, where a few people struggled to tune in remotely themselves, which means we need to do more to support people to use tools like Zoom and Google hangout.

Considering it was our first Services Week with limited time and planning, it turned out to be a pretty good week (and we know how we can make it better next time). Even if just a couple of people learnt something new, made connections and understand service design a bit better we’ll consider it a success!

If you want to see what else happened during Services Week, you can read more on this GDS blog.

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