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4. Develop phase

Find the solution that works best for customers and service providers.

What to achieve in this phase

Co-design, with stakeholders, a workable service solution that:

  • meets stakeholders’ business objectives
  • is low-risk (because it’s been tested with customers and stakeholders)
  • is ready to go (because it’s been developed with multidisciplinary input).

Develop ideas into workable service solutions by using prototypes to test and learn what will work.

Work in this phase

1. Make prototypes

Ideas need to be taken from theoretical concepts and to real tangible prototypes to test out if the idea is something that customers would want (desirable), and something that an agency could do (feasible) or should do (viable).

Using prototypes to test out ideas is a cost-effective way to develop ideas into a workable solution. Making and testing out prototypes provides information on what might work in practice and what needs to refined or discarded.

Prototypes don’t need to be complex or detailed to see if they work. The key is to create something that people can interact with and provide feedback on. For example, feedback on concepts and features that work, don’t work, are not desirable or are not usable.

2. Test prototypes

Test prototypes with customers

Prototypes need to be tested out with people (customers, end users) who use or will be users of the service/solution to:

  • provide information and evidence of what might work or not work for people using the service
  • show how an idea will meet customer needs or make a service easier to access and use — or how an idea would need to change to better meet customer needs
  • allow different ideas to be tried out, progressed, discarded or identified, based on customers’ input and feedback.

Test prototypes with stakeholders

This can include visually showing prototypes to stakeholders, getting stakeholders to interact with prototypes or having stakeholders watch customers interact with prototypes.

Testing prototypes with stakeholders:

  • allows stakeholders to test out their thinking of ideas and concepts
  • gives stakeholders a way to see how an idea might work in real life
  • actively involves stakeholders in the progression of ideas from concepts to workable service solutions
  • helps teams and stakeholders make decisions about possible service solution ideas.

Design and test prototypes with multidisciplinary project members

Prototypes need to be designed and tested with multidisciplinary project members to:

  • help service design requirements (such as findings from prototype testing with customers) inform and guide architecture requirements, business requirements, policy requirements and solution implementation plans
  • check that ideas and prototypes align with architecture, policy and business requirements (and if not, what might be needed to make sure these do align)
  • help relevant project work streams (for example, design, policy, architecture, business analysis) work together to develop a ready-to-go service solution that will work for customers and service providers.

3. Learn from testing... and test again

Apply observations, information and insights learned from the testing to the prototype, to remove or change what isn’t working; keep or improve what is working or take a different approach by adding in new or different ideas. Then go out and test this new version of the prototype.

Using a prototype ‘test and learn’ process allows an idea to be developed from a concept into a solution, backed up by evidence that it will work in practice, is usable for customers and will meet business objectives.

Useful tools for this phase

Design thinking bootcamp bootleg — at Stanford University

Making prototypes


Testing prototypes


Recruiting users

Analysing testing results

User testing analysis

Utility links and page information

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