Expanding Experimental Learning Opportunities to Develop Design Leaders

Tackling Strategic Challenges by Developing Designers into Design Leaders

Case Study

How might we develop designers into leaders through initiatives that develop the experiences, skillset, methods and tools necessary to address challenges at the VA?

VA’s Veteran Experience Office (VEO) is a trailblazer in the federal government, delivering as a strategic enterprise-wide business partner, having supported all VA’s lines of businesses, understood their customers’ journey, focused initiatives on the largest Veteran and employee pain points, and helped VA spread a CX culture across the agency. The VEO has historically delivered on this value proposition by focusing on customer experiences after the military experience. As demand for human-centered design and service design increases, VEO called upon MO and its partners to help build up its own in-house design leaders through a combination of recruiting, hiring, and developing talent. VEO was also developing curriculum, guidance, and tools to aid in spreading and scaling the use of human-centered design across the enterprise in support of CX transformation. To make cost structures work for VA, maximize the value of our team’s collective strengths, and keep the needed global reach back available at a moment’s notice, MO aligned the customer around an approach that balances the three lenses (desirability, viability, feasibility) and delivers on the customers evolving needs over the course of a 5-year program.

As the program kicked off, the whole world changed (COVID-19) but there were many strategic initiatives VEO wanted to accomplish. We focused on a pressing topic to use as an opportunity to build capability in the VEO’s growing team while making demonstrable progress towards  VEO’s Customer Experience Institute (CXi) through project-based learning.

CXi: We collaborated with VEO to support mission model innovation, activities included: exploring and mapping the ecosystem of customers, partners, initiatives, programs, and products; conducting analogous institutes to inspire what CXi could become; designing, testing and validating CXi’s value proposition; generating momentum with internal partners through co-creation; creating and facilitating workshops to prioritize key internal partners and customers; creating the learner journey for different CXi users, and prioritizing an MVP learner journey to focus on first. Additional impactful activities to support the launch of the MVP included:

  • Reviewed the front end website, CMS, and design efforts
  • Developed design principles to guide future designs, communications, and curriculum development
  • Developed content guidelines and a style guide for CXi communications 
  • Completed an editorial plan for the next year  
  • Developed curriculum and  communication artifacts to engage target VA personas / users
  • Drafted plain language content for CXi’s customer facing website
  • Created three draft surveys (website intercept, pre- and post-course) into VEO’s customer measurement tool 
  • Created a dynamic resource library of historical VEO case studies, speakers, etc. for easy reference to build curriculum off of
  • Designed, produced, filmed, animated, edited, and launched an engaging animated CXi teaser video with a clear call to action