Teams from the Policy Lab and Data and Information Policy underwent an immersive four-week training program in November to build new capability in policy development, with a human-centred design focus to problem solving. They were joined by other multi-disciplinary teams from the Data Analytics Centre, Office of Environment and Heritage and the NSW Parliamentary Counsel’s Office who contributed to the exploration of two concurrent policy sprints: Legislation as Code and Data Policy.

Led by business design agency, Business Models Inc, the teams were taught contemporary and innovative policy development techniques to then simultaneously apply to these policy sprints. The typical program for the week included two days of intensive training followed by three days of applying new tools and skills in the respective policy sprints.

In the first week, we had a crash course in human-centred design and an introduction to the two policy projects of Legislation as Code and Data Policy. We split into two teams and examined our policy intent for our respective project by describing what success would look like. This was a great group-think exercise. To put it into context, we then mapped out the key drivers and constraints we thought would affect the policy in the future. The next step was to really understand our users so we went on a customer safari (stakeholder analysis). This helped us to identify the different types of users and map out their different personas. This allowed us to step into their shoes and examine our policy intent from their perspective, as well as understand the pains and gains that our segmented user would go through to get their job done. Through designing with the user in mind, we were able to identify insights about the users that we didn’t know were there -all before meeting them. We then developed and agreed on a set of open-ended questions to ask users about the relevant policy sprint. The teams then interviewed many stakeholders and heard firsthand the experiences of existing users, which was highly inspiring as a deep dive into the facts and realities. We were really surprised at the take-up rate of interviews as this demonstrated that there were issues that users wanted to speak about. We also received lots of compliments on how refreshing it was for government to openly listen.