Small and medium sized enterprises are critical to the success of Victoria’s state-wide economy. Accounting for 98% of all businesses and driving more than a third of the Victorian economy, these enterprises are essential to contributing to Victoria’s economic growth and jobs.
Business Victoria, within the Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions (DJPR) identified the need for accelerating the growth of small and medium enterprises to promote Victoria’s ongoing economic strength.
Business Victoria engaged Portable to support the service design of the Ready for Growth program, a newly-formed statewide development program for high-potential small and medium sized enterprises. Portable led the service design with industry-leading co-design practises to collaborate with key stakeholders in the development of fundamental Ready for Growth program tools.
We worked with Business Victoria, and delivery partner BDO Australia, to understand the characteristics which made small and medium enterprises likely to be considered high-growth before synthesising the information to guide the design of tailored program tools to support key business representatives.
The program tools outlined included a Growth Assessment online questionnaire, an individualised growth action plan, and a service catalogue of the different tools and services available from the Victorian and Federal Government.
It was critical that an overarching diagnostic framework was built to link each of these tools in a logical manner to ensure that the tools being offered met the unique needs of the small and medium enterprises involved in the program.
To ensure that the project was delivered in time, our team led stakeholder engagement on the service design including leading a Working Group and Steering Committee of internal and external decision makers at the DJPR. We also supported the implementation of the program through collaborating and supporting the delivery partner, BDO Australia, in the setup of the tools required for the technical platform.
Co-design with Industry
We aim to keep human-centred design and ethical co-design at the centre of all processes and methodologies throughout all projects, ensuring that the needs of the people in which we seek to support are addressed when designing products, services, systems, and experiences with our clients.
For the Ready for Growth program, we used mixed-methods of data collection and analysis including behavioural based interviews with a reference group of 20 business owners and business leaders representing small and medium sized enterprises to understand the needs of high-growth potential businesses.
We also facilitated and synthesised usability testing of draft tools to validate the diagnostic program and services framework, working with key stakeholders from Business Victoria to confirm that our recommendations met internal objectives as well as the needs of end users.
Using the information gathered in our research and collaboration with key stakeholders, we developed a service blueprint to visually map out the journey that participants in the Ready for Growth program would experience including the individual steps required throughout. This exercise helped us better understand when and how users would interact with the different tools designed for the program.
We made sure to map the logic of information throughout the program to help us identify opportunities for leveraging automation to support the user experience, forming the foundation of the logic and content diagnostic framework which would enable a tailored experience based on individual needs.
Mapping the Service Blueprint helped to develop a holistic understanding of the program, the tools being used, and the user experience being designed while serving as a visual aid which enabled us to communicate the program design and key elements to stakeholders in an easy-to-understand format.
Content Logic and Diagnostic Program Design
A key challenge faced by small to medium enterprises was the difficulty in easily finding the services and programs that would best suit their specific business needs. In order to respond to this challenge, we delved deeper into a content design framework and tagging taxonomy.
The taxonomy allowed us to connect information captured through the Ready for Growth Online Growth Assessment with services and programs contained in a Service Catalogue. The taxonomy includes 3 levels of tagging, helping us to ensure that small and medium businesses receive suggested services and programs that are aligned with their specific business needs.
With more than 150 services available to Victorian businesses eligible for the Ready for Growth program, it was important that we create a catalogue that fit within the diagnostic framework and which matched the content logic designed to enable tailored experiences which provided effective recommendations based on identified needs.
Our team conducted extensive research into the breadth of programs and services available across State and Federal Government and the private sector while creating thorough documentation which helped identify how high-growth small and medium sized enterprises could be matched and the best manner in which they could be recommended to the programs to leverage capability building and growth opportunities across the state.
Delivery and Launch
The Ready for Growth Program officially launched in April 2022, helping businesses to develop an effective growth action plan, build capabilities for growth, find tailored grants and programs to support growth, improve connections to networks and ecosystems, and connect peers through the Ready for Growth Alumni Network.
Portable’s work on the Service Design for the program to create the tools and templates supported the rapid research, design, and implementation to successfully meet Business Victoria’s rollout timeline while ensuring that there was a framework which identified the needs and growth potential of small and medium sized enterprises to effectively and efficiently match available programs and services to the tailored requirements of these representatives.
We hope that the value gained and successful rollout of this program inspires similar organisations and government sectors to utilise thoughtful human-centred design practises and co-design methodologies in the research, design, and implementation of future programs to better align with the needs of the people in which they serve.
“From a design perspective, this project provided a unique opportunity to apply a service design approach into developing a program that could effectively capture individual business needs and match these with the appropriate services and programs to meet those needs. We had the opportunity to apply a human-centred design approach to solving a complex challenge that will have a positive impact on small to medium businesses in Victoria.”
- India Lock, Design Strategist
- India Lock, Design Strategist
- Peter Roper, Content Design Strategist
- Belinda Donald, Senior Design Strategist
- Jude Walta, Senior Design Strategist
- Tom Morris, Senior Producer
- Naomi Wilson, Client Partner