The Official OpenRoad Blog


OpenRoad Works with BC Government to Create Online Divorce Assistant Application

The government’s new digital divorce service improves access to justice for British Columbians.

Yesterday, the British Columbia Government announced the launch of the Online Divorce Assistant Application. The OpenRoad team is proud to have worked with the Ministry of the Attorney General to design and develop a digital service that pioneers the accessible and compassionate delivery of uncontested divorces in British Columbia.


UBC Launches a Refreshed News Microsite

Our team worked collaboratively and cross-functionally to deliver a refreshed and more flexible site in seven weeks.

UBC News site designed by OpenRoad

We’re excited to share the newly redesigned UBC News microsite, the first stop for journalists looking for the latest news about the University of British Columbia. On our client’s wishlist was a refreshed look, an updated CMS template, and a site that’s better equipped to handle high volume traffic at peak times. The existing UBC News site didn’t meet the University’s new brand guidelines and the inflexible template posed an ongoing challenge for the content creators. And it was critical for the refresh to roll out without any disruption to the site’s existing visitors.


OpenRoad Communications Wins Two Horizon Interactive Awards

Distilling 20 takes Gold and Best in Category at the 2017 Awards.

OpenRoad is the proud winner of two Horizon Interactive Awards for Distilling 20: A History of OpenRoad, a campaign designed to celebrate OpenRoad’s 20th anniversary. For the 16th edition, judges reviewed more than 10,000 entries from around the world. Evaluation criteria included user experience, creativity, technical skill, message, and effectiveness.

Service Design Methods Sampler: The Future, Backwards

Before forming a strategy, use this workshop method to create a shared understanding around what the future could be.

service design conference

At last year’s Converge—the Canadian Service Design conference in Toronto—we presented on service design methods. Rather than talk for ninety minutes about how these techniques have helped our client work, we demonstrated their value through a workshop. During the session we guided participants through three methods, the first of which was “The Future, Backwards.”

What’s it for?

Future, Backwards (created by Cognitive Edge) is a great alternative to traditional strategic planning exercises. This workshop method asks people to contemplate possible futures (impossibly good and impossibly bad) in the context of the project, program, service, or strategic plan horizon and define events that lead to those futures in reverse-chronological order. One significant benefit is that the method, when run across different groups in the same workshop (3 tables of 5 people, for example), highlights similarities and differences of multiple futures, all conceived within an organization and sometimes the same project team. This method also works to illuminate hopes and fears, while breaking patterns of thinking that rely on past perceptions and experiences. We especially recommend using the Future, Backwards method at the start of a project or program. It’s a great way to align perspectives about the future before forming a strategy.

OpenRoad and Honeywell Named as Finalist for SIIA CODiE Awards

Honeywell Smartline is up for another technology award.

We’re proud to be finalists in the 2018 CODiE Awards; “the only peer-recognized program in the business and education technology industries.” With our client Honeywell, OpenRoad has been named a finalist in the Best Manufacturing Solution category, for Honeywell’s SmartLine Application Validation Tool. This category recognizes the best solution for managing the manufacturing supply chain, including everything from from planning and scheduling, to monitoring, managing, reporting, analyzing, and more. Innovation, vision and overall impact in an industry are among the assessment criteria.

OpenRoad nominated for CODie Award


OpenRoad Brings UBC’s New Strategic Plan to Life Online

We’re proud to work with the University of British Columbia as they usher in a new era. Here’s how we collaborated to conquer a complex project.

The University of British Columbia recently unveiled a new strategic plan, “Shaping UBC’s Next Century,” to articulate their vision, purpose, and values for the future. This plan has been presented with a print publication designed by UBC and a new responsive website designed and built by OpenRoad.

UBC Strategic Plan

While the site alone was a big undertaking, it was only a piece of the project’s puzzle. The primary document—a 73 page print publication—had yet to be finalized and content was still being written and structured while the site was being developed. Our challenge was meeting the tight deadline, building a site to accompany a text that was in development, and working with UBC’s large and complex team of stakeholders. The goal was to bring the two teams together to produce print and digital content that was aligned, and showed no evidence of having been created by different teams. (more…)

Who are service designers?

Reflections from Gordon Ross on the #SDinGov 2018 conference in Edinburgh on who service designers might be and what that means for an evolving design genre.
Me and my polar bear shirt speaking about uncomfortable knowledge at #SDinGov 2018 / photo @w_harmer

Last month, I attended and spoke at the Service Design in Government conference in Edinburgh. I made the 7000km sojourn from Vancouver to Scotland to give a presentation on some of the design for policy work we’ve been doing and to be with a group of people whom I feel a great deal of professional affinity. It was my second time attending, having presented in London in 2017 on our service design work for the Ministry of Justice here in BC.

I may not work as a public servant or as a service designer embedded in a government department, but I spend a good number of my hours working along side them, attempting to make government services less obtuse, easier to use, and hopefully resulting in positive civic and societal outcomes. My professional identity and sense of professional community is very much influenced and shaped by practicing service design in, for, and with government.


OpenRoad Recognized Among Canada’s Top Workplaces

OpenRoad is nominated for the 2018 Employee Recommended Workplace Awards.

We’re so thrilled to be nominated for the 2018 Employee Recommended Workplace Award. The award, presented by Morneau Shepell and The Globe and Mail “recognizes excellence in achieving a healthy, engaged, and productive workforce.” Fifty-three Canadian companies—including leaders in finance, transportation, technology and more—join us as nominees as a great place to work. Nice.

What makes this particular award unique is that it’s all based on completely confidential employee feedback. Companies are evaluated on their employees’ responses to questions regarding Total Health—physical and mental health as well as general satisfaction with work and life. (more…)

Talking Visual Design and Brand in Copenhagen

The city of design

Last week in Copenhagen, Denmark—where smart design thinking delivers an eminently livable experience to the city’s over 580,000 residents—OpenRoad Creative Director Wil Arndt was invited to share his knowledge of branding and visual design to a passionate conference of communicators and digital workplace experts.

Wil talks about visual design and brand at IntraTeam 2018

Photo courtesy IntraTeam (

You’d think it was the idea of presenting in that design-forward context that had Wil puking rainbows.

But it wasn’t just the nerves. (more…)

OpenRoad converges on Service Design

Hundreds of people from a range of industries from across five provinces attended the sold out event in Toronto.

If the buzz at this year’s CONVERGE: Canadian Service Design Conference tells us anything, it’s that Canada’s service design community is blooming.

It was great to see participants from the public sector this time around (33% public sector, 52% private sector, 15% academic). And OpenRoad was proud to be there, too, supporting the future of civic design and multi-level service architecture.

OpenRoad partner Gordon Ross speaks at Converge: 2017 Canadian Service Design Conference in Toronto

OpenRoad partner Gordon Ross speaks at Converge: 2017 Canadian Service Design Conference in Toronto

OpenRoad shares Service Design knowledge