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Design Thinking: A Gateway to User-Oriented Service Design

Recently, we embarked on an incredible journey of ‘Design Thinking’ with Australia-based design thinking guru, user researcher and anthropologist, Thomas Wright. Recommended to us via WWF after our participation in the WWF Innovate for Wildlife and People Challenge on Impactio, Thomas guided us through the pits of assumptive planning and peaks of human-centred design thinking.

Very often, we as remote sensing specialists aim to relay information to the user to best enable their decision-making without over-powering them with GIS jargon and tooling. But all too often we face the challenge of making our user interfaces that relay complex interactions and data flows (from data sourcing, visualisation to storing and reporting) genuinely pleasant, digestible and useful for sectoral experts. Additionally, it is a challenge to ask them what they want when they don’t really know themselves. The question emerged: How best can we communicate how the technology works in a format that was accessible to non-technical stakeholders?

With this in mind, Thomas guided our team through the human-centred design process of the double diamond: Discover, Define, Develop, Deliver. The goal was to design a ‘Service Journey Map’ whereby we identified key actors, channels and user-types dependent on the service. After this, we better understood the needs of the users and could validate the challenges and solutions with all the members of the team. We took care to consider front- and back-end development, in-field users, and management requirements and then integrated this all into the Service Blueprint for communication to our client.

Figure 1: The three stages of service delivery and permanent actions. A reduced version of the Service Blueprint for publication.

Through the process, data input challenges were chewed on, user interpretations digested and our hunger for visualising insights soothed. We had our action maps, user interface designs, and backend processes aligned and set for success! But before we could celebrate, there was a final consideration to keep in front of mind: The Service Blueprint is a living document. The process of reflection on actions and interactions, design principles and in-field challenges was to continue...

Our approach to development has always been iterative within our team and with our partners. For Space4Good, the human-centred design process was essential to identify and address communication gaps across teams and maintain inherent flexibility in our solutions. Now, we have the tools to make this journey visual, interactive and enlightening for all. It enabled us to prevent future roadblocks and saved time and resources by eliminating overlapping, undirected or repetitive discussions. Thank Thomas, for your guidance and WWF for the recommendation - we thoroughly enjoyed the journey.

Would you like more information or are you interested in collaborating with Space4Good? Visit our website or contact us via

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