Why: USDA’s Agricultural Research Services support research scientists in their mission to expand knowledge and promote global collaboration in agricultural sciences. One program specifically enables US scientists to collaborate with foreign scientists through an visiting exchange program – this rapid and direct exchange of ideas accelerates our understanding around specific topics. Planning for and supporting foreign scientists during these exchanges is a key part of the experience, enabling the US to attract the attention of top scientists.
What: Technical Assent designed and led an interactive workshop focused on accelerating process improvements aimed at enhancing the customer experience for visiting foreign scientists. Working directly with support specialists, supervisors, and agency performance experts, we started with previously identified enhancements and helped the teams transition from experience design to solution implementation. Technical Assent’s facilitators worked alongside the USDA teams responsible for the changes, teaching best practices in project management and design-thinking. Teams learned and the immediately applied new techniques to develop robust scope statements, project plans, and iterative prototypes and practiced ways to test prototypes with customers and measure their performance over time as they iterate towards the optimal solution.