Our Approach

Deliver Converging Converging Develop Diverging Diverging Define Converging Converging Discover Diverging Diverging

At Overlap, our projects span sectors such as healthcare, mining, government, insurance, education, and energy, and allow us to tackle challenges in areas such as service experience, organizational strategy, advocacy and transformation design and stakeholder engagement. Human-centred design is about being deeply rooted in and with the people that are most affected by the thing we design.

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01. Discover
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The design process, regardless of the discipline, works through iteration, divergent and convergent phases, focusing on user needs, and using visualization to bring things to life. The discover phase of a project is about doing the initial user research, exploring the problem space and being open to new possibilities and opportunities.

Key Activities

Typically in this phase of a project we’re defining our understanding of the problem, planning the research approach, and engaging in qualitative and quantitative research methods. We do research to understand people, their motivations and their behaviour. Design research is an important part of practicing design well and ensuring we’re solving the right problem. Design research builds empathy, genuine understanding, and allows for assumptions to be challenged with fresh eyes.

The define phase is our first big moment to make decisions. What’s in and what’s out? What is most important from our research and what stories to we want to start telling to begin shaping our understanding of the problem and possible solutions. This phase is convergent, meaning we choose a direction and land at key insights that will inform our next steps.

Key Activities

Typically we’re visualizing our research data and turning it into useful artifacts and tools to support our ideation and prototyping. Often we’re creating personas, journey maps, system maps, producing key insights and hypothesis’ about our direction. We sometimes produce research reports that capture the work-to-date, but the real value is in the synthesis of the research into usable design tools.

We’ve got key insights about the problem space, now we move into solutions. The type of ideas we produce depends on the nature of the problem. Sometimes we’re creating new digital services or software, sometimes it’s a business model innovation. Service design projects will produce service blueprints and service standards. The develop phase is about exploring lots of ideas to solve a problem—and ideally—co-creating ideas with end-users and relevant stakeholders.

Key Activities

Producing ideas is part of solving problems, but it’s important to remember that ideas are a starting point, not the end. In design, ideas are not treated as precious things that must be protected, advocated for or defended. Ideas are not especially valuable in themselves—they are neither good nor bad—but they should be viewed as the critical starting point of value generation.

We use prototypes to explore, evaluate, and communicate how people might behave in or experience a possible future situation. By making things and testing them, this part of the process helps the design team to quickly identify important aspects of a new concept and explore alternatives. It gives us a way to evaluate which solutions might work in our everyday context. Prototyping also helps us to effectively create shared understanding of initial ideas and concepts, enhancing communication, collaboration and participation of interdisciplinary stakeholders.

We like to support ideas through implementation and the change that often comes with it. Our goal is often to create change that affects end customers or users, employees, processes and even business models. Implementation is the step beyond experimenting and testing, to production and rollout.

Key Activities

This phase might involve support on change management, full software development and implementation, service implementation and management or business and operational plans. The design isn’t done until it’s live.

 

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Problem Definition
Problem Definition

What problem are we trying to solve for whom? It's okay to only have a basic understanding of the problem or a general area to explore. We will learn more about the problem as we go and revisit our initial problem statement.

Detail
Stakeholder Analysis
Stakeholder Analysis

Whose involved? Whose easy to reach? Whose hard? Mapping stakeholders and the people we want to engage with is a critical step to ensure an inclusive process and that we capture a diversity of perspectives.

Detail
Research
Research

We do research to understand people, their motivations and their behaviour. Design research is an important part of practicing design well and ensuring we’re solving the right problem. Design research builds empathy and understanding. It enables assumptions to be challenged with fresh eyes.

Detail
Personas
Personas

A fictional character, informed by research, that can be used to understand a significant stakeholder for your project.

Detail
Journey & System Maps
Journey & System Maps

Maps help us visualize relationships or experiences. Journey maps focus on the steps someone moves through in a particular experience. System maps often help us see relationships, flows of information and connections.

Detail
Research Wall
Research Wall

A place where we've put everything we've learned up on a physical or digital wall to make connections, theme qualitative data and produce insights.

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Key Insights
Key Insights

User stories, jobs-to-be-done, key insights—these are the synthesis of the research and the most important ideas we should be trying to respond to in our design work.

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Service Blueprint
Service Blueprint

Customer experience, staff experience, the supports that facilitate an exchange or transaction—these blueprints allow us to deliberately design and innovate services.

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Strategy
Strategy

Business model canvases, strategic plans, foresight scenarios—there are lots of ways to explore ideas in a strategic form. Before building an operational plan around a new strategy, testing your models gives you valuable feedback.

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Wireframes
Wireframes

Alpha prototypes of apps and software give us a way to gather feedback and test ideas with users. Wireframes are inexpensive digital prototypes that simulate a working piece of software.

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Transformation Roadmaps
Transformation Roadmaps

A transformation roadmap outlines a problem, goal and solution. The roadmap identifies the systems, actors and factors involved in the transformation and provides a guide for achieving the goal.

Detail
Change Management
Change Management

Organizations have a way of killing new ideas. We work with you to support the successful adoption and implementation of the new service, strategy, process or model.

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Software Development
Software Development

From beta to live, your software is refined, finalized, documented and transitioned to your organization.

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Implementation
Implementation

Final documentation, regardless of what has been created, is produced and handed over to your team.

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Monitoring & Evaluation
Monitoring & Evaluation

How well is the new thing working? How do we know? How do we want to iterate and take the next steps to continuous improvement? Good design means getting feedback and continuing to make adjustments based on engagement with end users.

Detail

Tools and Methods

There are lots of tools and methods we use in our work. Here are some of our favourites.

Change Management
Monitoring & Evaluation
Research
Personas
Journey & System Maps
Stakeholder Analysis
Implementation
Problem Definition
Software Development
Strategy
Transformation Roadmaps
Service Blueprint
Key Insights
Wireframes
Research Wall