DWP Digital’s immersive learning through their Innovation Dojo

woman working on computer

Written by Juan Villamil, Chief Technology Officer at Department for Work and Pensions (DWP)

DWP Digital is on a journey to transform DWP’s products and services, putting the user at the heart of the problem so that they are delivering better outcomes for the millions of people using their services.

One of the major changes has been the move to building in-house capability, the department’s IT had been previously outsourced. With this opportunity came the opportunity to innovate.

Just over a year ago they came up with the concept of a safe space to take an idea, really explore the ways that technology can be used to solve real problems and experiment. The Innovation Dojo was born – in Japanese dojo literally means ‘place of the way’ a dojo traditionally being a space for immersive learning or meditation.

We’re assessing the potential of emerging technologies to understand how they can be deployed at DWP and to improve the services offered. When we fail, we move on – there is unconstrained thinking. The Innovation Dojo removes the governance of having to build a business case or proof of concept every time the team want to try something new allowing us to we can build things with very few rules.

Co-creating and collaborating with Accenture, a small diverse team of people work together in the Innovation Dojo on a specific problem or opportunity. Using modern engineering, a cloud-first approach and rapid innovation, a fail-fast or excel attitude is fostered. People are urged to input their ideas forward, no matter how unusual, with ‘out of the box’ thinking encouraged to help inspire people to look at problems and solutions in a different way.

Working on a rapid and iterative 12-week journey the team are supported to work at pace from initial ideas to proof of concept. Ultimately the Innovation Dojo acts as a starting point for transformation, helping DWP Digital to think radically about how they can use emerging technology to solve real problems.

So far the Innovation Dojo has completed 5 proofs of concept including a blockchain payment solution. Watch this video talking more about the concept behind the Innovation Dojo The Innovation Dojo: DWP and Accenture and Cheryl Stevens, Deputy Director Identity and Trust, DWP Digital talking about how the Innovation Dojo helped her programme to land a concept and evolve quickly – DWP The Innovation Dojo: Identity and Trust.


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