Last August, we began an ongoing partnership with HM Land Registry, supporting and developing their user-centred design and research capability. This is a crucial part of their journey to deliver a new generation of services that truly puts people at the heart of land and property registration.
As part of this work, we’ve been co-creating a design maturity model to lead conversations about how design is embedded and how it can shape ways of working in different programme areas and teams. This model and the process around it is still in the early stages of development, but in the spirit of working in the open, we’re showing our progress with the wider design community.
The importance of design
Design is as much of a mindset as a collection of skill sets. Across the public sector and central government, we’ve seen examples of where design can truly add value to how organisations and services work.
With less design maturity in an organisation, design might be constrained to translating requirements into fixed decisions about how things should work, often feeding into the work of engineering and development teams. But design can offer value beyond how products and services are built and tested. It can help teams prioritise and build the right solutions with usable, accessible products and services.
Design creates value through problem framing and creative processes, including the creation of visual artefacts. Together, these encourage a shared understanding that underpins strategic decision making, providing organisations with a set of methods for supporting how entirely new service models are designed, tested and scaled.
Thinking about design maturity can help organisations create stronger links between the policy, products and capabilities they’re delivering while connecting the work back to a vision or strategic goal. Design adds value through this alignment of delivery priorities, making sure an organisation's tools, products and processes work together. This is what helps create and maintain consistent, joined-up experiences that work flexibly to meet different needs.
Creating a maturity model
Beginning this project with HM Land Registry, we observed how design worked in different teams and the wider organisation. There was a real opportunity to define a shared understanding across the wider team. We wanted to give different people the ability to say “this is where we are as an organisation, this is where this particular team or service is and this is where we want to be”.
We’ve previously spoken about our digital maturity framework at other organisations. At HM Land Registry, we felt there was an opportunity to take a similar approach, this time with clear actions around different levels of design maturity and what this looks like in practice e.g. team topology, structure or processes. We wanted to highlight the activities around ways of working that would support the implementation of design in the future.
Engaging communities at HM Land Registry
We reflected on existing frameworks to eventually define five stages of design maturity for HM Land Registry. We built upon existing thinking on digital maturity assessments and reviewed examples outside of the public sector such as Invision’s design maturity model.