Arapaki Manners Library & Service Centre

good-design-award_winner_rgb_blk_logo
  • 2020

  • Service
    Public Sector Services

Designed By:

  • Wellington City Council

Commissioned By:

Wellington City Council

Designed In:

New Zealand

Project Manager, Lisa McGrath led a project to relocate Wellington City Council Service Centre. Using her service design skills and experience, she seized an opportunity to add value to the customer experience. She challenged the traditional, theoretical, pen-to-floorplan method and opted for an experiential and human-centric design approach.


Neil Price, Wellington City Council Photographer
Neil Price, Wellington City Council Photographer
Neil Price, Wellington City Council Photographer
Neil Price, Wellington City Council Photographer
Neil Price, Wellington City Council Photographer
  • CHALLENGE
  • SOLUTION
  • IMPACT
  • MORE
  • After the 2016 Kaikoura earthquake the building where the Council Service Centre was located, was closed. The Service Centre was moved to the Municipal Office Building. Although the site was a sensible option given the situation, the customer experience was impacted. The significantly smaller customer space stopped us housing public PCs, made queues hard to manage and left little space to meet with customers. Furthermore, two months before opening, Wellington's iconic central library closed and Council announced the opening of the pop up library at the same location. We had 8 weeks to re-configure the space to include a library.

  • By applying a Design Thinking mindset we set out to understand the customer experience through Service design. They built a full-scale, lo-fi prototype of the new space. They then observed staff and real customers using the space to better understand the customer journey. Equipped with different sets of knowledge and expertise, we could begin training our staff, providing the correct tools and designing our workflow/processes to achieve the best outcomes for our customers.

  • This project is emblematic of the design thinking approach, which is at the heart of Smart Council. By empathising with our customers and our staff, we can better design, align, and optimise our organization’s operations. This means we can directly improve the employee’s experience, and ultimately and most importantly, add value to the customer’s experience.

  • One of the benefits of prototyping, is that it encourages collaboration. We had many people through the space including: - The Creative and Brand team who used it to visualise our signage and furniture. - Our ICT team, who we collaborated with in the space to understand our tech needs. - Our Privacy Advisor walked through the space and consulted on privacy requirements. - We leveraged our advisory groups like our youth council who wanted a 'selfie backdrop' and our Accessibility Advisory Group who moved through the space as real customers and provided valuable feedback around the furniture layout, technology we could use, and preferred colour combinations for our signage. Bringing these different sets of skills into the prototype space allowed us to collaboratively design in an iterative way. Soaking up feedback and ideas from different people meant we could refine and polish the design until we reached the desired outcomes for our customers.