The National Action Committee on Access to Justice held its annual meeting in Vancouver earlier this month. Members of the committee and others keenly interested in access to justice from across the country gathered to share ideas, experiences and stories. On March 22, 2017, the day prior to the actual meeting, the NAC organized a “Tools of Innovation” day. Nicole Aylwin, Jane Morley QC and I were invited to lead a workshop on “design thinking”. It was a great opportunity to introduce the access to justice folks to design thinking and some practical tools to support innovation. It was also a key opportunity for us to practice what we had been advocating in the Lab about client/public-centred approaches (to walk the talk). The NAC strongly supports user-centred approaches and the BC Access to Justice group puts user-centred approaches at the core of its framework for action.
Fortunately, Nicole has been teaching design thinking in her Legal Tech class at Osgoode for several years so she led the way with our planning. She made the great suggestion that we avoid too much lecturing and spend the majority of the time coaching the participants through an actual scenario using customer journey mapping, one of the many design tools available. We decided on a scenario that was not “legal” because we wanted everyone in the room to be able to identify with the customer’s experience and not get too caught up in the legal options and details which would distract from the meaning of the exercise. The scenario we chose was the experience of a budget-conscious fashion blogger who reserved a car from a new car-sharing service to attend a wedding of her good friend – with unfortunate results.
The participants were terrific – they worked in groups of 5 or 6 and collaborated in “post it noting” Jen’s behaviours/actions, people and things that were part of the journey, and Jen’s attitudes and underlying needs. They were very creative in adding emoticons to reflect key pain points in Jen’s journey!
The groups then assumed the role of the car-sharing company and identified insights and opportunities to improve the journey of future customers. Needless to say, there were many!
The feedback from the group was really helpful. They appreciated the benefits of seeing Jen’s experience through her own eyes and practicing with a hands-on tool using a user-centred approach. Participants gave examples of how they could envision using a customer journey mapping exercise in their own organizations. One participant pointed out that they were finding it challenging to use in a criminal context where victims as well as accused persons could be classified as “users”.
Thanks to everyone who participated and to Nicole for leading us. It was a great day.
Kari Boyle, Coordinator