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This blog post was published under the 2015-2024 Conservative Administration

Greener services hack day: Part One

A yellow graphic with the words 'greener services hack day' and an image of planet earth.

In the first post of a two-part blog, content designers Natalie Smithson and Sandeep Dhaliwal look forward to today’s hack day, being led by Defra’s planet-centred design team - one of many activities for Services Week 2024.

Planet-centred design will be crucial to making greener services a reality. To understand the true environmental costs of public services, we can:

Our colleague Ned Gartside first wrote about the idea of planet-centred design principles in this channel a few months ago. He explored the concept of how being planet-centric can really make a difference when designing services.

Since then our work has steadily gained momentum, incentivising us to plan and run events such as this one today.

Our hack day is taking place today and is for everyone involved in the design and delivery of services. This includes accessibility, architecture, delivery, design, development, policy, product management and related professions.

We are partnering with TPXimpact on this hybrid event.

The agenda:

  • Different lenses of leadership, policy, technology, and standards.
  • A discussion on what motivates you to do this work.
  • An exercise on understanding our planet-centred design principles.
  • Sketching a vision for ‘greening’ the e-waste service.
  • Approaches for applying the planet-centred design principles.
  • A playback.

Goal of the hack day

Our 'planet-centred design' working group in Defra has created some planet-centred design principles. This is for the design and delivery of greener services.

For the planet-centred design principles, we are looking to:

  • Get feedback on these.
  • Explore what else teams would need to put them into action on real projects.
  • Understand how teams might prove they have used them.

What happens afterwards?

We hope that the hack day will point to next steps that we need to take to make greener services a reality. We will produce a report that captures the detail on what we heard, sketched, and noted on the day.

In part two, we will go through outputs of the greener services hack day and what we plan to do next.

Natalie Smithson and Sandeep Dhaliwal are content designers at Defra.

Find out more about what we do in Defra Digital Data and Technology by visiting our LinkedIn page. The team are always looking for keen people to get involved and help them drive this agenda forward. Get in touch at if you want to chat about what they’re doing.

Services Week is an annual event series run by the Government Digital and Data community for people working in the UK public sector, and which aims to:

  • Show the excellent work of the past year from the public sector.
  • Connect with people across organisations, join up policy and operations, to develop and deliver great public services across channels.
  • Help people from the public sector develop skills and knowledge to improve public services and the underlying systems.
  • Showcase technology that can help deliver better public services.

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