Blueprint 2020 Innovation Fair explores user experience in government services

Blueprint 2020 Innovation Fair
Main Booth Area of Blueprint 2020 Innovation Fair. Photo: Submitted

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The fourth Blueprint 2020 Innovation Fair was held at the James Michael Flaherty Building in Ottawa on May 16.

With the overall theme of User Experience (UX), the fair explored how to better understand an end-user’s motivation in adopting a service or product. The fair bustled with hundreds of people, and featured booths by the entire spectrum of government entities including the Department of National Defence. The main attractions were presentations and workshops for federal employees, as well as a Virtual Reality (VR) station.

Image gallery

  • Blueprint 2020 Innovation Fair
  • Defence Team Booth
  • Virtual Reality trial booth
  • Panel on ‘UX in the Public Service’ presented by the Privy Council Office

A common theme was how end-users, whether citizens or government employees, are living in an ‘age of choice’ as a result of the digital era, and holding their governments to a much higher standard of service delivery. Governments are now expected to innovate quickly, engage citizens through online platforms like social media, and use more open-source technologies. There is no better time to be a government employee, argued one opening speaker, as we are at the forefront of change.

Many presenters spoke of how we, as government entities, must understand why our institutions exist, and for what reasons a citizen might interact with us. For example, Ryan Hum, Director of Service Insights and Experimentation at Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada, noted that people only interact with his organization during “life changing experiences.” Because of this, his department designs its services in light of three key concepts: reassurance, dignity, and transformation.

The most important aspect of service delivery relies on content design that takes into account the perspective of the user. Overall, Canadians have high expectations, and we have the tools to meet those expectations.

For more information, you can check out the Defence Team’s Blueprint 2020 pages (internal link).


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