Service design generating high volume and high quality submissions


Australian Renewable Energy Agency


Service Design



As part of the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) organisational transformation program, Pragma delivered an inter-organisational service design blueprint for ARENA. The purpose was articulating the service delivery model for ARENA to improve its services across the application value chain, from awareness raising and outreach to application decision. The design drove tangible, practical action and change that is strategic in its considerations of the consumers of ARENA services, along with ARENA staff. The service design encompassed all divisions and branches in ARENA and required careful stakeholder management to ensure each area had a voice and felt listened to. The success of the design has been proven through the endorsement and initiation of the next stage, through a comprehensive rollout of the products, technology and changes required to support the new service delivery model.

To be successful adopters of digital-by-default delivery of government services to customers, ARENA needed to understand the full breadth of its current capability, along with its strengths and weaknesses in digital service delivery, to enable specific improvements in capability to be identified and prioritised. ARENA had identified a need to undertake a program of business process improvement work to position it to deliver on its funding mandate, while improving efficiency.

While Pragma was engaged to deliver all five streams of work comprising the business improvement project, this case study focused on the work undertaken by Pragma to design a service delivery model that would generate high volume and quality submissions.

Specifically, ARENA was seeking to increase the number of high quality submissions for assistance they receive, while improving the customer experience, and internal and external process efficiency. This included the aim of building a greater customer focused culture to improve the applicant’s experience, including provision of greater guidance and on-line support.

As a starting point, Pragma assessed the value and depth of previous user research conducted with ARENA’s customer-base. Pragma then undertook further user research across a variety of user segments to address identified gaps, and to ensure that the design achieved outcomes that met the needs and expectations of the customers.

Pragma conducted user research with ARENA’s customers, staff and stakeholders to understand what was important to them. Design principles were agreed with ARENA’s board and drawing on this and our detailed process maps, we developed the initial service concept.

Focused on user experience, the service design was detailed into a blueprint with service journeys, requirements and products to inform the detailed service pathways. To best revolutionise ARENA’s service, we developed a business case for an integrated technology platform which included current-state analysis, options comparisons, costings, a governance approach, and a resource/procurement strategy.

The purpose of the blueprint was to allow ARENA staff to understand the interaction with ARENA from their customer’s point of view and how addressing pain points, frustrations and opportunities could improve the overall generation, submission and assessment of applications from their users’ point of view. The blueprint also identified areas for improvement to encourage a greater volume of high-quality applications.

Throughout the process of developing the service design, Pragma engaged in continual validation of suggested service design elements with ARENA to ensure recommendations were achievable, realistic and manageable. Once agreed, improvements were added to the project backlog, and prioritised for implementation.

Based on thorough user research and considered design, Pragma developed a comprehensive service design blueprint that drove tangible, practical actions for strategic change. This included recommended improvements to program artefacts (e.g. guidelines, application form, website, funding agreement, call centre scripts, assessment criteria…etc) to increase the application pipeline, maintain application quality and improve applicant experiences.

Having been supported by ARENA’s executive the design has informed the initiation of successful pilot projects from elements detailed in the blueprint to begin implementation of changes to the service. These changes ensured the service principles were met:

  • Faster to yes
  • Faster to no
  • Generate more applications
  • Better quality assistance
  • Improved awareness of selection
  • Visibility of process

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