Often a customer will come to you with a vision. Or you may instinctively think of a solution that would save the day. Either way, it’s essential that you test these concepts, to make sure they a) work and b) there is nothing better.
You will need a prototype (at the very least, a service blueprint and some mock ups to illustrate the key points). Workshop this with your team and the customer. Raise questions and get as much feedback as you can. Make a note of any unresolved questions so you can work these out at a later date.
Take your prototype to your core user group. Invite criticism, and ask people to come up with specific examples which might not be catered for by your prototype. Remember that you’re designing for 80% of users, so you can’t fix every problem. But you need to make sure there are no big problems that will scupper your plans.
Research other local authorities and competitors that already do something similar to what you’re suggesting. Have they experienced any problems? Can you find holes in what they’re doing, or do they have a better model?
What are the immediate and long term benefits for users?
Finally, when you have gathered this data, you can refine your service blueprint to include anything that was flagged up by your research. If the idea isn’t working, explain this to your customer and plan another workshop to draw up other ideas.