Creating a service-oriented enterprise for a complex, large-scale government agency



The Service Design Group, the premier customer experience and service design consultancy in the US, optimized service levels, business processes and customer experience for a shared services center, resulting in significant time, cost and performance savings. The Service Design Group's best practice customer experience, service design and process engineering solution — Service PathTM — provided capacity building, culture change and planning to transform the agency into a service-oriented organization.



The client, a large, U.S. federal government agency, struggled with maintaining service levels across its existing portfolio of shared services. Service operations were decentralized, resulting in inconsistencies and poor customer experiences across branch locations and field offices.

The project sponsor planned to address these issues with a "Six Sigma like" approach, prioritizing consistency, standardization and efficiency above all else. The focus was to be purely on training and education (no doing). Also, there was no notion of "serving the customer" or even a clear understanding of who the customer actually was.


Even though the client was requesting "Six Sigma Training," The Service Design Group proposed a different approach, based on its best-in-class customer experience, service design and process engineering solution — Service PathTM — which is known for combining Design Thinking with Six Sigma and Kaizen inspired tools. Rather than do "training" with a narrow focus on process efficiency, we suggested the agency reorient itself to customer experience and service delivery, while also creating the desired streamlining of processes. Importantly, we stressed the imperative of co-creation and learning by doing (i.e. take a hands-on approach and work with the actual business processes in question).

The Service Design Group deployed its hands-on co-creation worskshops — Defining As Is, Envisioning To Be, and From A to B(e) — to simultaneously tackle four of the most critical shared services. Teams were trained in human centered design, service design thinking, prototyping, and process design, and then coached in applying these tools to their current business processes.

First, each team worked to better understand, define and empathize with key stakeholders and develop a shared understaning of customer needs and wants. Then, we defined user mission statements and value propositions for a future state, enhanced customer experience and service delivery system. Lastly, we documented the current state processes, identified inefficiencies, opportunities, and gaps, and then prototyped new solutions.

This work was followed by a process mapping and project planning phase, where detailed service blueprints were created in tandem with a project plan, clearly defining scope, risks, resource requirements, key milestones and tasks needed to implement the new solutions.


The teams successfully envisioned and planned new process and service delivery systems which had measurable improvements in turn times, defect rates, and customer satisfaction. The teams were also recognized by the federal government for their efforts implementing a service-oriented experience within the context of government shared services.

Importantly, the new designs eliminated waste and inefficiency, increased the number of positive outcomes, and freed up as much as $1.2 million in annual research and development time.

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