OpenRoad Blog

The Official OpenRoad Blog


Design for Policy: Bringing a Design Thinking Approach to TransLink’s Fare Review Process

TransLink partners with OpenRoad’s Service Design team to understand customer experiences during their Transit Fare Review.

TransLink Prototype Testing

If you’re in Vancouver, you have likely been hearing a lot about TransLink’s Transit Fare Review. TransLink’s three-zone fare structure was largely unchanged for over 30 years. In that same time, the region grew by over one million people. Regional growth, the launch of the Compass fare technology, and general public dissatisfaction with the current fare system meant that it was time to take a fresh look at fare policy. Could TransLink make fare policy changes that would increase ridership, provide a better customer experience, and improve system efficiency?

OpenRoad Communications Wins Three Summit Creative Awards

OpenRoad’s print, web, and illustration work wins three Silver Summit Creative Awards.

We’re thrilled to have our creative work recognized by the Summit Creative Awards. The OpenRoad team won three awards at the 2018 show, which received more than 5,000 submissions. For more than two decades, the Summit Awards have been arbiters of creative excellence. This year we submitted a series of branded icon illustrations, a printed holiday greeting card, and a website landing page. We’re proud to work on such a wide range of projects, and happy to have our work recognized.

UBC Innovation: Overcoming the Complicated with Collaboration

How OpenRoad helped UBC bring innovation to life with a flexible approach to client work.

UBC Innovation initiative

The OpenRoad team recently created a new stand-alone site for the University of British Columbia’s Innovation initiative. The UBC Innovation network helps transform research, and entrepreneurial drive into new products, policies and practices that improve lives around the world. A key purpose of the site is to articulate the scope of support services available across disciplines, under the “Innovation” umbrella. Secondly, the initiative aims to celebrate and highlight UBC’s success in creating and supporting such partnerships.

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.