Supporting Australian Agriculture by Shifting from Systems to Services
Violet Rish, Emily Dao
Daniel O’Hara, Lyndal Fleming
Liam Fiddler, Stephen Chiu
Blair Duncan, Anthony McGinness
Jordan Hatch - Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment
Tina McPhie - Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment
Rachael Quigley - Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment
Two thirds of Australian agricultural produce is exported. Australian farmers and regional communities need access to global markets to thrive. Collaborating with agricultural producers, policymakers, & digital teams; we launched a digital service that makes it easier to export from Australia, transforming the way Australian producers operate on the world stage.
Agricultural producers and regional communities rely on exports to survive. With droughts, floods, and the COVID pandemic impacting the sector, the ability to sell to global markets is critical. The Department's challenge was to make it easy to export from Australia. To export, producers navigate fragmented systems and paper-based processes — generating excess admin overhead and compliance burden. This locks producers out of global markets, leading to lost revenue, jobs, and impacting growth for rural communities. Our brief was to lay the foundations for a new, digitally-enabled export service — that made it easy for Australian producers to access global markets.
Over 6 months we collaborated with policymakers, regulators, digital teams, and agricultural producers to launch the new Export Service. Digital transformation doesn’t happen overnight. So we started with the most critical tasks; - Streamlining registering export establishments so producers can access global markets faster. - Making it easy to understand and manage compliance requirements - Establishing a single channel for all interactions with the Department, reducing the administrative burden for producers and internal teams This new platform provides a flexible foundation on which future services can be built — and defines the reusable patterns that future teams can use to create at pace.
The new Export Service has delivered real change — for Australian agricultural producers and the Department. For producers. We made the export registration process easier; Reducing effort, admin overhead, and compliance burden; Turning 10+ page paper forms into simple, human-centred processes. “Found the system a lot easier to use… Just the speed of it, it’s quite clear, simple and easy to understand.” — Pilot participant For the department. We provided a practical demonstration of the power of human-centred design; Improved quality of service; Reduced costs of delivery; More effectively supported producers. The broader department of +50 teams has since adopted this approach.
The Export Service’s long-term mission is to improve the entire experience of exporting from Australia. Delivering on this mission required a mindset shift. From building monolithic systems to adaptable, human-centred services. Teams now work together to produce a simple, consistent, reliable experience. We shared the formula for human centred design with other teams by; Engaging users early. We conducted +100 hours of 1:1 engagement, culminating in a live pilot. Testing allowed us to design for the tasks people need to do rather than internal business processes. Re-imagining, not replicating. It’s not enough to translate paper forms into digital forms. We extensively simplified the experience by breaking down the paper process and re-organising it around specific user tasks. Building for all channels. No matter how intuitive a digital service is, it will always need human support. We added clear signposting and handoff points to allow human support and guidance teams to more effectively help exporters. This approach, along with the reusable foundations, has allowed the department to create new services rapidly — and stay flexible in the face of unpredictable events — Making it easy for Australian producers to export.