More than ever before, people need and expect easy access to critical information and services online. Yet behind the scenes, outdated systems, processes, and sometimes thinking can make it difficult for governments and organizations to deliver these essential digital services.
The State of Connecticut (CT) realized that they needed to build awareness and buy-in around their ambitious digital transformation efforts through a strong communication and storytelling plan. Their strategy would need to address both internal (i.e., employees of the state) and external (i.e., residents of Connecticut) audiences.
CT needed simple and effective communication strategies to generate awareness, build understanding and trust, and help make the case for critical data and technology investments in the future.
In two separate projects, Bloom Works collaborated with the Department of Administrative Services (DAS) and the Office of Early Childhood (OEC) to develop and implement a strategy for communicating the value of their data and technology efforts. For OEC, these recent efforts included building a more accessible website and creating a more streamlined data reporting process for childcare providers.
Specifically, our approach included:
- Working with DAS to assess existing digital service communication efforts and needs
- Understanding and documenting the data and technology projects that were happening across OEC and identifying the stories that needed to be communicated more broadly
- Developing and executing a broader strategic plan and tactics that would help DAS and OEC share their progress more effectively with internal and external stakeholders
Bloom’s approach helped CT generate greater awareness for their digital transformation work. Our approach included the following activities.
We conducted a discovery phase to identify DAS' main digital service goals and priorities. We then conducted an audit of their existing messaging and communication materials to identify gaps and strategic opportunities. Based on those findings, we worked with the digital service team to create an initial strategic communication plan to advance their key priorities.
After speaking with key OEC project staff and reviewing their data and technology work, we observed that not everyone within OEC fully understood how the work could help the agency’s day-to-day efforts to support children and families. In addition, over the course of our engagement we learned that many OEC staff were not comfortable using data and tech tools — like spreadsheets and collaboration platforms like Microsoft Teams — in their day-to-day work.
Based on these findings, we developed simple, accessible ways for OEC project leadership to share their data and tech work with their OEC colleagues that included:
- A plain language slide deck presentation of the tech work OEC and partners were engaged in
- A do-it-yourself user research guide with templates
- Materials and content that broke down technical terms and processes in ways that were easy for staff to digest
When COVID-19 shifted OEC staff to remote work, we also helped kickstart a virtual Learning Academy. To increase staff comfort using tech tools to work more efficiently, the Learning Academy provided regular training and touch points that also connected back to learning more about the data and tech efforts at OEC.
We produced a series of case studies to document and highlight all of the digital transformation work that was done together with OEC to better serve children and families. OEC and Bloom continue to use the case studies as an easy way to reference and summarize the work for different audiences.
We created opportunities for OEC to share insights about the work on Medium, an easy-to-manage online publishing platform. This enabled them to showcase insights and progress from the digital transformation work, such as a Q&A with OEC’s project lead and the work to develop a data sharing playbook to be used across CT. In addition, we helped OEC staff connect to presentation opportunities and journalists interested in learning more.