DL1: Innovation in Digital Delivery 13 October 2011 at BIS and House of Commons
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executive summary The inaugural event in the Digital Leaders 2011-12 programme, Innovation in Digital Delivery, took place on 13th October 2011 at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), followed by a reception at the House of Commons. Innovation in Digital Delivery brought together influential leaders from the public, private and notfor-profit sectors to hear the latest inspiration and policy from within Government, case studies of innovative projects for digital service delivery and lessons for success for putting innovation at the heart of strategies for making the Channel Shift to digital delivery of services. The day’s programme sought to inspire and empower leaders with the tools and knowledge for embedding innovative digital delivery solutions into their organisations.
plenary 1 Plenary 1: Inspiring Innovation in Digital Delivery Mike Bracken, HMG Executive Director for Digital, Cabinet Office The aim of the first session, chaired by Graham Walker, Government Director for the UK Digital Champion, was to brief Digital Leaders on the latest policy and vision from within Government, looking in strategic terms at why innovation is vital to success for the digital shift in interactions between citizens and government. Culture change
This first event in the 2011-12 series was the latest in a successful programme of Digital Leaders events which, since the its launch at the House of Commons in October 2010, has provided thoughtleadership, policy briefings and best practice case studies for the key themes of Transparency; Big Society; and Service Delivery.
Drawing examples from his work at the Government Digital Service, Mike Bracken began by outlining obstacles to innovation, and stressed the importance of organisations reorientating their digital thinking outwards towards user demand, and away from internal IT departments which should provide the services and technology to facilitate the user experience rather than being an end in themselves.
He also asserted that providers need to move away from simply publishing information and services and focus on transactions between themselves and users which are designed around user need. Furthermore, he added that organisations need to shift service delivery models away from risk mitigation, which detracts focus from the user, to ones more accommodating of risk, in order to embrace user-centric innovation in service design and delivery.
Following networking over a hot fork buffet lunch, Innovation in Digital Delivery heard the latest policy and inspiration from Mike Bracken, HMG Executive Director for Digital in the Cabinet Office. This was followed by coffee and Breakout Advisory Panels, during which delegates divided into three groups to hear examples of cutting-edge innovation from inside and outside of Government. The sessions at BIS concluded with lessons for success in making the digital shift from Kerstin Mogull, Chief Operating Officer for BBC Future Media. Attendees were then led to the House of Commons Terrace for a reception, hosted by the Parliamentary, Internet, Communications and Technology Forum (PICTFOR), where delegates had the opportunity to network with Members of Parliament involved with formulating the digital agenda.
He emphasised as a key principle the point that both Government and private organisations need to understand users’ requirements and perception of services, and that all service providers need to ask themselves, first and foremost, “what does the user want to do?”. User-centric services Central to Mike Bracken’s presentation was the point that organisations need to keep the user in mind at every stage in the design and delivery of services. Pointing to research findings that shifting 30% of Government service delivery contracts to digital channels would deliver gross annual savings of more than £1.3 billion, rising to £2.2 billion if 50% were shifted online, he asserted that savings would follow if user experience was understood. He gave examples of what the Government Digital Service is doing to realise this by becoming the owner of a high quality user experience between Government and citizens through consistency of interface between services; open data and content available to private developers; and integration of Government services with external providers. He also suggested more effective monitoring of users’ progress through transactions, including whether and at which point they fail to complete the transaction and resort to another, potentially more expensive, offline channel. By taking advantage of the ability to record such data from online systems, organisations can more effectively design their services around user requirements.
plenary 1 He stressed the importance of making revisions to digital services regularly, based on continual assessment of process success and user demand, and adopting a culture of adaptability where product lifecycles are shortened in order to ensure services are continually fit for purpose, rather than treating products as complete and moving on once initially delivered. To help realise this he recommended that users, and the question of what they want, be involved in the process of designing services in order to reduce the time in the product cycle:
plenary 2 Plenary 2: ‘How to make the Digital Shift’ – Lessons for Success Kerstin Mogull, Chief Operating Officer, BBC Future Media The objective of the second plenary session was to provide digital leaders with experience and insight from the BBC, which has successfully developed innovative ways of delivering services digitally. The session was an opportunity for delegates to hear the challenges facing those leading at the highest level as well as practical advice on how the BBC is overcoming these. Changing trends in service delivery
Learning from the journey Mike Bracken highlighted the importance of feeding both successes and mistakes back into the design process of digital services, and that designers should keep their end goal flexible and open to fluctuations in user demand and not be afraid to let projects fail, providing that failures were learnt from. In closing, he stated the importance of creating an environment in which digital leaders could flourish: internalising digital skill-sets rather than outsourcing, and putting these skills at the heart of organisations and Government so that decision makers and developers not only think digital first, but innovate and adapt their services to user demand.
Kerstin Mogull began by outlining the changing trends in the BBC’s service delivery over time: In the past, delivery was simpler and distribution was controlled, with content disseminated by the BBC and consumed by the audience on a limited range of formats at the time they were broadcast. Now, however, media is consumed on a variety of different devices and at different times, driven by user demand for service delivery where and when is convenient for them. The marketplace is also more competitive, with new online competitors such as Google and YouTube and the greater range and availability of content online. However, despite the massive growth in online consumption, Kerstin asserted that television would remain a very strong and important channel for media consumption and service delivery. The BBC is focussing on delivery through 4 screens: TV, PC, mobile, and tablet. She drew attention to the growing user demand for media and services through multiple screens at the same time, and the need to tailor service delivery to various and multiple devices. She also raised the question of how services will be bundled in the future, particularly with the rise of IPTV (online-enabled televisions) which allow for a broader range of services to be delivered through a television set. She suggested that future trends in content delivery would be decided by a “battle for the living room” between content producers and device manufacturers, who will dictate the availability and display of content through television sets. Doing fewer things better Kerstin Mogull went on to explain the challenge that the BBC and other organisations face in defining the scope of their service delivery in the unrestricted environment of the internet. In the case of the BBC, which is also facing ‘scope reduction’ with the freezing of its Licence Fee funding, she outlined the Corporation’s decision to deliver “quality first” by focussing on audience, creativity, and quality of services rather than trying to do as many things as possible. These consolidated services will then be delivered with a consistent user experience and interface across TV, PC, mobile, and tablet. Kerstin also stressed the importance of utilising new platforms, new ideas, and new ways of working for delivering services online and meeting user demand. Examples included integration of social media and user-generated content with the BBC’s own services, and putting users in touch with one another rather than trying to compete directly with social media services.
plenary 2 Kerstin gave an example of innovation in the BBC’s digital delivery of services for coverage of the London 2012 Olympics: she detailed how the organisation will provide rich additional material online and on portable devices to augment TV content; how it will provide 24 continuous streams of past and current events, as well as a schedule of upcoming events through its online iPlayer service; and how IPTV offers the opportunity for integration of social media feeds, such as Twitter, on the side of the TV screen to connect users and provide an additional entertainment aspect to the user experience of broadcast content.
advisory panels breakout advisory panels The Breakout Advisory Panels offered delegates the opportunity to divide into groups to hear examples of recent and up-coming innovations being developed both inside and outside of Government. The panels provided a forum for those delivering pitches both to showcase their projects, policies, or pilots and to hear opinions and feedback from other digital leaders. Social Action
Lessons for success Kerstin Mogull set out the following lessons for success in making the digital shift, based on the BBC’s experience of developing innovative solutions for delivering its services digitally: • “Be where the audience is” by making services accessible on whatever device users chose to access the internet, and at whatever time • Make it easy to use digital technology, helping those less able to do so • Understand and simplify the potentially complex world of technology for those within your organisation, and use Plain English when doing so • Have editorial and technology departments work together to reconcile languages and cultures within the organisation to produce the best results • Have senior board members and leaders familiar with, and contributing to, the digital debate • Understand new business models and ways of doing things • Be agile and responsive, and continually iterate designs • Make room for innovation and be prepared to accept failure, sometimes backing more than one project
Facilitated by David Dinsdale, E-Government Product Director for Atos, this panel heard from two organisations that have put digital innovation at the heart of developing new products and services that communicate effectively with new audiences. 1. ‘Using social media platforms innovatively to drive business and new audiences’ Dr James Ohene-Djan, Managing Director, WinkBall WinkBall aims to bring people closer by making online communications more personal through video. Its services include WinkBall.com, a free online video messaging and sharing service for the public; WinkBall Base, an internal video communications system; and WinkBall Broadcaster, for video broadcasting, email campaigning and personalised video messaging. http://www.winkball.com/ 2. ‘‘A mobile volunteering application to deliver bite-size, micro-volunteering opportunities’ Olly Benson, Head of Projects, YouthNet; Susanna Halonen, Marketing Manager, Sony Europe YouthNet, which operates the ‘Do-it’ website for browsing volunteering opportunities, is working with Sony to develop the ‘+U’ app, which will combine the functionality of ‘Do-it’ with social and gaming benefits. The app will use geo-location technologies to identify local projects, and then award points based on the opportunities if individuals complete the task. Users can also post their results to Facebook, making volunteering easier and more social. http://www.openplanetideas.com/ Assisted Digital Facilitated by Kevin McLean, Director of Operations for UK online centres, this panel heard from two organisations that have developed new digital products and services that offer an assisted digital service to customers who may not otherwise go online or have access to the internet. 1. ‘Transforming the Customer Experience’ Kevin Seller, Head of Government Services, Post Office The Post Office is helping its customers access increasingly online services through its branches. Staff at many Post Offices are ‘digital champions’, providing guidance to help people get online. The Post Office is also introducing new technology to allow users who would otherwise be unable to access online services to complete digital transactions in-branch with staff assistance. http://www2.postoffice.co.uk/find-out-more/about-us/digital
advisory panels 2. ‘New online qualification: “Digital Accessibility: Web Essentials”’ Robin Christopherson, Head of Digital Inclusion, AbilityNet AbilityNet, in partnership with BCS and the Equality and Human Rights Commission, has developed a new online qualification ‘Digital Accessibility: Web Essentials’ for creators of digital content. It is designed to recognise inclusive design of online services, which can not only further the agenda of digital inclusion, but can help organisations garner significant savings in running, maintaining and refreshing a website, as well as improve user engagement and online revenue. http://www.abilitynet.org.uk/ Channel Shift Facilitated by Robin Knowles, Managing Director of Civic Agenda, this panel heard from two organisations that have developed new digital products and services that put the customer first and make interactions between citizens, key services, and information more efficient.
House of Commons Reception Following the sessions at BIS, attendees had the opportunity to discuss the day’s themes and presentations and network with Members of Parliament in a more informal setting, over tea at the House of Commons Terrace. The reception was hosted by the newly formed Parliamentary, Internet, Communications and Technology Forum (PICTFOR), following the merger of the Parliamentary Information Technology Committee (PITCOM) and the Digital Economy All Party Parliamentary Group (DEAPPG). PICTFOR is the leading Parliamentary group for IT and works to brief Members of Parliament and business leaders on the socioeconomic impact of legislation and other developments around the digital economy. The reception heard keynote speeches by Chairman of PICTFOR, Rt Hon Alun Michael MP, introduced by Graham Walker, and Nigel Adams MP who both emphasised the importance of the digital agenda, its benefits for Government and users, and the need to digital leaders for drive positive change in services through innovation in digital delivery.
1. ‘NHS Direct mobile app and online health and symptom checkers’ Ronnette Lucraft, Chief Operating Officer, NHS Choices The NHS has developed an app which consolidates 38 existing NHS online symptom checkers and allows users to check their symptoms wherever they are and receive basic medical information. The service integrates with mobile technology and offers a function to telephone a health professional if symptoms persist. http://www.nhsdirect.nhs.uk/en/News/LatestNews/MobileAppLaunch 2. ‘An online crime reporting application to report criminal activity through instant image sharing’ Simon Burgess, Managing Director, Facewatch Facewatch is an online system for instantly reporting low level crime and sharing CCTV and information between police forces, licensed premises, shops, and hotels. Facewatch reduces the time it takes for police forces to follow up a reported crime by sending an email alert directly to the relevant officer who can quickly review the evidence. Images from incidents are hosted on the website so communities and businesses are aware of known and suspected criminals in the area. http://www.facewatch.co.uk/
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