Design Lead: Optimizing processes and bridging gaps supports the digitalization of public sector services in Finland. Our Design Lead worked to instill a DesignOps mindset within the multi-vendor team by providing support to designers, encouraging cooperation between stakeholders and overseeing the overall design of Suomidigi’s digital service.

DesignOps paves the way

The bigger the teams grow and the more stakeholders there are involved in service design and development, the more important it becomes to have shared processes and plans to ensure efficient teamwork and product delivery. One way to achieve this is through DesignOps: helping a team or organization see the value of design in a structured manner, broadening discussions around processes, and integrating design work, from strategy to user interface design, more closely with development teams.

Frantic’s design consultant Liisa Benmergui served as Design Lead during the last phase of Digital and Population Data Services Agency's (DVV) service development. DVV wanted to create a user-centric, scalable, and accessible web service to support the public sector in its efforts to advance the digitalization of services around Finland. share RWVQBF1MAZQ (2)

At an operative level, Liisa was concerned with the team’s ways of working, helping create an understanding of what exactly design work entails, how it is documented and communicated throughout the team, as well as when all the aforementioned should happen.

In addition to her work as a service designer, she invested time into coordinating and improving the existing design process along with the other designers in the team. Her role also included supporting designers in their daily work and bridging the gap between designers and developers, enabling all team members to have a voice and interact with each other in a more active and constructive manner.

In addition to the aforementioned, here are some of the responsibilities a Design Lead can take on:

  • Overseeing and developing the ways of working within a team

  • Developing design methods and processes, growing design maturity within an organization

  • Stakeholder engagement and management

  • Mapping out, documenting and sharing an understanding of a service’s position within a larger ecosystem of products and services

  • Planning and conducting user research

  • Planning and leading service design, interaction design and prototyping

User research coupled with legal design

The project was in full swing when three designers from three different consultancies joined the existing team and took on the roles of Design Lead (Frantic), UX Designer (Redland) and Service Designer specialized in legal design (Hellon). The design team was assigned to the task by DVV’s frame agreement partner, Luoto Company. 

A thorough deep dive into the existing materials was undertaken, in order for the new designers to acquaint themselves with everything that had been done over the past 1.5 years. After deciding the best way to proceed, the new design team began work on

  • the redesign of how laws pertaining to digitalization in Finland should be presented within the service using legal design methodologies, interviewing and gathering information from and about end-users,

  • taking on the day-to-day user interface design work,

  • and improving the overall service concept.

The service development followed agile Scrum methods and was done in two-week sprints, which allowed the team to produce new functionalities and changes at a rapid pace. One major improvement was the introduction of “research sprints” as a way to bring research into the daily mix of things. The customer insight and stakeholder research was undertaken in a lean fashion and the results of this type of work was easily integrated into both the design and development processes. 

It was a pleasure to work with consultants from Redland, Hellon and Druid. The collaboration that the design team was able to forge with the developers proved to be invaluable to the progress of the team as a whole, as well as what was generated as output to the end-users of the service itself. 

Comments from the client

"Liisa has played a major role in the overall success of the Suomidigi project and service design as a whole. From the start, Liisa took on an active and solution-oriented role in order to reach our targets. The most valuable part of her work was understanding and leading the interconnectedness of development, design and service design. "

"Liisa has constantly stayed on top of the progress of Suomidigi service development, and through her understanding of the progress, provided support to service owners and product owners. In her work she has managed to clarify the structure of the digital service and create a user-centric and clear entity. In addition to her design skills, Liisa’s strength is definitely developing teamwork and methods. Working with her throughout the project was easy and meaningful."

Maria Vuorensola, Service Design specialist and Service owner, DVV, and Pia Korpisaari, Product Owner, DVV

Comment from the expert

The ability to affect positive change in any project is always rewarding. With Suomidigi, I felt a true win when the team was able to couple service design and user research more closely with the daily workings of an agile Scrum team. By improving our team’s ways of working and communication style, we were able to make more informed decisions about what features to develop, resulting in added-value to the service’s end-users.

–Liisa Benmergui, Design Lead, Frantic


  • Analysing and defining user needs and business goals
  • Determining user stories
  • Co-design/co-creation workshops
  • Concept modeling and auditing
  • Conceptual prototyping and UX prototyping
  • Prototype validation with users using different interview methods
  • Information architecture outlining
  • Usability testing: expert testing and heuristic analysis
  • Accessibility
  • Content auditing


  • Digital service design
  • DesignOps
  • The coaching of design methods
  • The implementation of agile design practices
  • Concept design
  • User experience design

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