How might we leverage service blueprints to increase team transparency and address gaps in the Veteran Experience?

In July 2023, MO and Digital Foundry joined forces with VA Veteran Experience Services (VES) to launch the CX Catalog project. This partnership sought to meet a vital need by developing an inventory catalog that visualizes IT systems through user journey-based service blueprints. These efforts ultimately enhanced transparency into VA systems and customer experiences to enable more informed decision-making for a diverse range of VA employees. The combination of MO’s human-centered research and design expertise partnered with Digital Foundry’s prowess in technical exploration, system design, and delivery positioned our team to bring success, sustainability, and innovation to the project.

Background & Approach
VA represents a complex ecosystem. Information is not always shared between offices, systems, devices, or applications. This can result in Veteran-facing products that sometimes fail to connect or communicate in a coordinated way, data loss, repetition, and additional burden to the Veteran. With this in mind, MO and Digital Foundry took an approach to problem-solving for VA that was driven by three key objectives:

  • Deliver resilient, people-centered solutions by leveraging our team’s 50+ years of collective experience and expertise to serve VA stakeholders with timely, ethical, human-centered, and data-driven solutions.
  • Build sustainable solutions by considering the whole ecosystem and illustrating both the external journey of the Veteran as well as the internal processes of VA that support these tasks. This included defining the actions, stakeholders, and systems involved in each step to ensure efficiency and transparency.
  • Empower VA to scale modernization by developing a sustainable methodology for creating and storing blueprints to aid future decision making and augment VA teams’ impact.

To kick this work off, a service blueprint for the Medications (Rx) task was prioritized to illustrate the Veteran’s journey and internal processes of VA. To develop the service blueprint, we utilized a co-creation process with the following approach:

  • Initial Exploration: Organized workshops to identify the current needs and capture the Rx overview at a high level. This allowed the team to align with VA stakeholders on shared goals and vision for the service blueprint.
  • Putting User Needs First: Conducted a series of empathy interviews to understand user needs and pain points. This allowed us to validate the need for a service blueprint.
  • Blueprint Iterations: Delivered iterative improvements to the service blueprint at each sprint to ensure alignment and gather feedback.

Outcome & Impact
Within 3 months, we produced a total of six (6) comprehensive service design blueprints that illustrated a Veteran’s journey and VA internal processes. This translated into a growing demand from VA teams to create additional blueprints that support a variety of customer experience improvement efforts. Additionally, these blueprints were immediately used to facilitate meetings and decision making within the VA.

Looking Ahead
The journey thus far has underscored the importance of collaboration, agility, and feedback. As the project continues, our team remains committed to:

  • Accelerated Blueprint Development: Leveraging the momentum garnered to produce more blueprints expeditiously.
  • Feedback & Iteration: Engage further with VA teams, gather valuable feedback, and refine blueprints in response.
  • Fostering Sustainable Change: With the project designed as a set of living documents, the goal is to leave behind a robust, user-friendly blueprint creation methodology to empower future teams to use these tools to tackle Veteran needs head on.

In conclusion, the CX Catalog project stands as an emblem of the synergy between MO and Digital Foundry, working cohesively to enhance the Veteran experience with VA.