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The Global Digital Marketplace Programme: Moving into alpha

People are looking at post-its on a wall that contain notes

GDS have partnered with national and state governments in 5 emerging economies to make procurement more open and effective, with the end-goal to tackle corruption. We are the Global Digital Marketplace Programme and we work with governments in Colombia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mexico and South Africa.

We are building upon the work delivered by GDS over the last 8 years. For example, the Digital Marketplace has transformed the way the public sector buys digital and technology. GDS also developed and iterated spend control and assurance processes to ensure that technology is bought and digital projects are delivered effectively.

Building roadmaps

Following last year’s discoveries, the Global Digital Marketplace Programme is now in the alpha phase. We worked with stakeholders in overseas governments to prioritise the opportunities we found in discovery and co-developed alpha roadmaps.

Our team developed interactive and engaging sessions to help our stakeholders articulate their priorities and define our delivery activities. Some of our ways of working were new to the participants, but by the end of the day, everyone was actively building their own roadmap using post-its.

The alpha phase is about testing our riskiest assumptions, challenging the ways things are done at the moment and exploring new approaches. By the end of alpha, we want to be in a position to decide which of the ideas we’ve tested are worth scaling during the beta phase.

Sharing GDS ways of working

To complement our roadmapping we shared with the teams how we do things in GDS. We spoke to them about agile ways of working, user-centred design and the importance of standards to assure spend. Standards & Assurance. We made sure to keep these sessions fun and focussed on what that looks like in practice.

We developed a game to show how standards & assurance processes can help organisations save money. Teams are given toy money to invest in projects. Players have to make a series of choices, which will affect the outcome and the money they will have spent by the end of the game. Players are encouraged to consider the Technology Code of Practice and the Service Standard, when making their decisions. To find out more about the game please contact our Standards & Assurance Lead Tony Richards.

One of the participants told us:

“We treasure your contributions and time with us, as we have come away with useful insights on how our team works and profitable ideas. Putting these into practice has already made a substantial difference to our productivity as a team"

Zatil Hidayah Binti Mohd Rifai at the Malaysia roadmapping workshop

Getting stuck in

Once roadmaps are established and refined with our partners, we’ve kick-started delivery. Our first alpha activities have revolved around helping teams understand their users better.

For example we facilitated a design sprint with the Digital Agency of Public Innovation from the City of Mexico. Focussed on their new procurement platform Tianguis Digital, we helped the team review and test a new component with real users. The team has since conducted their own user research, and iterated the service based on what users told them.

We also engaged with digital teams and their users to map their journeys around planning and procurement. Through these sessions the teams learned about the challenges their users face. More importantly, they realised how easy it is to reach out to their users.

People are putting post-it notes on a wall
The Tianguis Digital team mapping the procurement journey in Mexico City, with the help of Digital Marketplace Senior Developer Ben Vandersteen

What’s Next?

In 2019 we learned a lot about our partner governments, developed plans with them and kick-started the first alpha projects. We will continue to help our stakeholders engage with their users when they build products and services that form part of the end-to-end procurement lifecycle. This may be through more hands-on workshops, in-depth user research, technical expertise and hands-on support. We will continue to engage with UK digital and tech suppliers to help us deliver the programme.

Look out for Global Digital Marketplace Programme opportunities on the Digital Marketplace.

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