Scaling Service Design

Safety net programs are administered by Human Services Agencies (HSAs) nationwide. As an internal service design and facilitation resource in San Francisco’s HSA, I managed and led the strategy, implementation and impact measurement of a six-month project to scale service design.

Role: Project Lead & Facilitation Lead

Year: 2015

Challenge: How to improve clients’ and employees’ experiences, meet or exceed program mandates and create a structure for face-to-face communication across the Agency?

Strategy: I provided executives with a framework to develop the game plan (i.e., strategy, objectives, success metrics, timeline, milestones, values and team participants). We agreed on a six-month time frame and invited 38 coworkers to build out the game plan. They came from a dozen programs and seven different positions/professional perspectives. We met weekly to pitch project ideas to managers and executives with the commitment to spend less than eight hours prototyping, testing and measuring no/low cost ideas. Engaging the public and community partners with this phase of the project was unfortunately not possible.

A large, rectangular white board is in the background with "Game Plan" written at the top. Sticky notes are posted across it in pink and yellow. There are five people facing the Game Plan with their backs to us. The first appears to have a brown complexion, wearing a tan, long sleeve shirt. The second has a light colored complexion and is wearing glasses, a long-sleeved buttoned-down, light pink/purple shirt. The third person appears to have a darker complexion in a short-sleeved shit shirt. The fourth person's complexion is unclear, but is wearing a black, short-sleeved polo shirt. The fifth person appears to have long hair, glasses and a black-colored top.
In the middle of a red triangle on a white board are the words, "Service Design SF HSA." In each corner of the triangle is a black circle. The top circle bares the words, "Measurable Success." Inside this circle is also a ruler, clock, dollar sign and three faces: sad, neutral and happy.
In another circle/triangle corner is "Rapid Experimentation" with a drawing showing a process of a person drawing and testing an idea and then showing the idea to someone else, and finally an arrow pointing back to the beginning, implying repeat/iterate.
In the last circle/triangle corner is a drawing of three people with red hearts and the words, "Compassion for clients and coworkers."

Equity Considerations: Employees came from a variety of demographic backgrounds, job classifications and levels of power (formal and informal) to provide a more holistic understanding of the problem and ways to make improvements.

Outputs: We created 96 SMART goals to make bite-sized changes, involving minutes, hours or a full day’s worth of time. Participants implemented 83% of these goals.

– Reduced CalWORKS clients’ wait times on the phones (by 66%) and in the lobby (by 25%) at 170 Otis St.
– Reduced Medi-Cal clients’ wait times in the lobby (by 71%) at 1440 Harrison St.
– Reduced by two days the amount of time it takes to process paperwork in the In-Home Support Services Program.
– Created Kudos Boards (where employees publicly write appreciation for one another and post thank you cards from clients) in 170 Otis St., 1235 Mission St. and 1440 Harrison St.
– Held a retreat for employees from three separate programs prior to merging at a new one-stop service center.