How the Service Innovation Lab used Kumu to share learnings from their design research.
The Service Innovation Lab often undertakes design research into topics that impact multiple agencies and the teams within them. That means it’s important to share our learnings in a way that supports a number of work streams and potentially reduces the need for repeat user research.
Testing ways to share our findings
While many other people are interested in the specific topic/s associated with our work, such as accessing services, identity and privacy concerns, our project team thought the Becoming an Adult project would be a good scenario to test a different way to share our findings.
The usual outcome of our research would be a report and/or presentation; this provides a highly curated view of the data relevant to our project objectives. Furthermore, in the process of doing field research you often learn a bunch of things not specifically related to the project objectives — but this data might be useful to others.
This prototype looked at how to share the collected data with others to assess its connection and usefulness to their work. This involved digitising all the data we found compelling from our transcripts, even where it didn’t have a direct link to our key insights.
We met potential consumers of this data and realised it would be useful to present our findings visually. The goal was to provide an at-a-glance view of any data in our transcripts and enabling potential consumers to easily and quickly search or identify topics of interest.
This would enable other project teams to not only decide if there was relevant data but understand our logic — from insight to verbatim quotes that could then be referenced in transcripts for full context.
Combining Kumu with Google Sheets
The tool we chose to test this idea was Kumu. However, we didn’t want to be bound to a particular tool, so we chose to create a database using Google Sheets that could be tested with other tools.
Combining Kumu with the Google Sheets app dramatically sped up the process of data entry and validation, as both apps could be accessed and updated by multiple users simultaneously. This enabled quick updating and version history of the data and visualisation.
Digitising the data
We estimate it took two team members a day and a half to enter all the data from post-it notes into spreadsheet format, ready to be imported into Kumu. At this point the data in Kumu reflected what we had analysed as a team and posted on the wall.
From here, time was spent familiarising ourselves with Kumu and how we could further synthesise and arrange the data beyond what’s viable with post-its. This is when we really started to notice the power of Kumu to highlight areas in our data that needed attention and when data entry errors were corrected.
We re-drew how we wanted the data to be organised, and revised hierarchies on a whiteboard to help inform data cleaning and create a less confusing visual.
Presenting data in a shareable and reusable format
Overall, this process felt faster to get to a shareable and reusable format for our target users (researchers and designers). The process of digitising and recreating the synthesis also added extra rigor to our analysis as it was an opportunity to question how we categorised and interpreted the raw data.
Kumu enabled the data to be more intricately connected using tags and connections, reflecting a realistic complexity to what we learnt and made the often abstract process of analysis and synthesis more tangible.
When we shared this, there was excitement at seeing this type of data presented in such a way and initial reviews are that it feels intuitive, and “certainly a lot easier to go through than other data sets I’ve been given.”
If you have questions or would like to know more about Kumu or insights from the Becoming an Adult project, please contact the Service Innovation Lab
Service Innovation is part of the Department of Internal Affairs. It’s charged with working collaboratively across agencies to centre government services around the needs of people. You’ll find us either at ‘the Lab’ on Thorndon Quay or Level 10, 45 Pipitea St in Wellington.
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