What are the right opportunities for tomorrow?

The Opportunity Phase explores future options for a service based on the insights uncovered during the Discovery Phase. The team will shift from documenting the current state of the service to exploring potential futures through research analysis and journey mapping.


  • Generate lots of ideas on how to improve a service
  • Select and prioritize the best opportunities to explore further
  • Identify what the program area needs to do in order to redesign a service
  • Set the stage for the Prototyping Phase


Start brainstorming by focusing on the needs of citizens and other stakeholders (rather than technologies or other implementation). Start by indicating which citizen needs are clear, and use those needs to fuel ideas for service innovation. Ideas will include new or modified capabilities for how government provides a service.

Start by generating many ideas before narrowing focus to the best ones. It is easy to focus on the first good idea; however, this is a mistake as other good ideas may get missed.

Participants will generate more ideas, and better ones, if they start by brainstorming on their own. Begin idea generation by briefing people on the research, then letting them create ideas on their own before merging all ideas with the group. This often works best on day one of a workshop that shares initial findings and frames the focus of the session, then starts again the next day after people have had the chance to sleep on these ideas.

Choosing the right things to do comes before making those things run smoothly. Focusing on doing the wrong things more efficiently will not make them right. For example, a recipe for a dinner party would not be chosen before knowing how many dinner guests are attending and what preferences or needs the guests may have.

Effective government creates value for citizens, stakeholders and for government itself. This shared value creation is at the heart of service design. The team needs to understand user needs before they will know where to look for shared value opportunities.

When generating ideas, remember to look across the entire service architecture. The best ideas might reflect something from the user interface, operations, infrastructure, policy, strategy, staffing, incentives or legislation. Also consider this range while prioritizing ideas and think about what the ripple effects are across the organization’s service architecture.

There is a tendency to think that technology is a solution. Technology for technology’s sake is a risky opportunity. Instead, ensure that technology provides capabilities that are based on user needs.