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ThinkPlace created a digital strategy for Geoscience Australia

Digital strategy for a scientific leader

Whether it is predicting earthquake risk for heavily populated areas, identifying water resources far under the ground or searching for mineral deposits that can lead to valuable export opportunities Geoscience Australia has a critical role to play, providing geological and geographical advice.

So it’s no surprise that the agency’s slogan reads: Applying geoscience to Australia’s most important challenges.

A well-managed, sustainable and efficient digital investment that enables leading-edge science and its leverage will enable GA’s to meet the high bar set by its policy intent. It’s a strategic imperative that means the organisation must position itself well to navigate the digital transformation that is taking place across the globe.



ThinkPlace was engaged by Geoscience Australia in June 2018 to:

  • Develop a Digital Strategy for the organisation that creates a whole-of-GA vision for ICT, how it can enable science and policy outcomes, and how it can be efficiently managed and sustained in the future
  • Use a co-design approach to ensure that stakeholders are meaningfully brought along the strategic journey and that there is convergence on the vision and roadmap
  • Design the strategy in a way that is simple, content-rich, visual and that enables clarity among stakeholders




ThinkPlace used a rapid co-design approach, grounded in our world-leading complex systems design philosophy, which looks at an agency’s full ecosystem and higher-order outcome but also zooms in to understand the needs, preferences and experiences of individuals within and beyond the agency. 

In this way, we ensured that we were creating the right impact and avoiding unintended outcomes.



Phase One - Intent and orientation

In the initial phase of work we rapidly orientated ourselves, consuming existing strategic, architectural, persona and Geoscience Australia program documentation to help us understand GA’s current position.

Following this we held an Intent Meeting with the Project Sponsor and Project Team to confirm the intent of the project to map out the context, scope, plan and priority stakeholders to to be involved in the process.

Phase Two - Explore

ThinkPlace conducted discovery research, including one on one interviews with internal and external stakeholders to understand their perspective on the strategic opportunities, barriers, priorities, current pain-points and inefficiencies, as well as anticipated initiatives, emerging demand or policy changes that needed consideration.

We also conducted a mini-workshop with the ICT and operations staff, to get their collective thinking on what could be different in the future.

Following the initial research we brought together GA's executive and other stakeholders for a Strategy Discovery Workshop.

This conversation helped establish important parameters for the work, and kick-started the strategy journey. 

We explored questions such as:

  • What are the organisation’s (and its clients’ and partners’) strategic priorities and strategic risks, and how must ICT support them now and in the future?
  • How does ICT enablement work today, and what are the strengths, challenges, barriers and opportunities of the current model?
  • What is the future vision for ICT, and what shifts and initiatives would be required to achieve this at a high level?


ThinkPlace digital strategy for Geoscience Australia


Phase Three - Create

We worked with the project team to co-design the draft strategy, across 3 sprints:

  • Sprint 1: We confirmed what the strategy will contain, and developed the visual design and the content “spine” – the table of contents and key points for each section – and showcased it for the project team.
  • Sprint 2: We completed a first draft of the content, and showcased it to the project team and the project sponsor. This version was then refined based on the showcase feedback.
  • Sprint 3: We refined the strategy based on feedback and developed a final draft for review. We then showcased with the relevant senior executive, to undertake a final round of refinement.

Phase 4 - Close

We held a retrospective with the Project Sponsor and Project team to share what we had learned on our strategy design journey and deliver the final document.


ThinkPlace digital strategy for Geoscience Australia



ThinkPlace's expertise in co-design, and digital allowed us to create a strategy for Geoscience Australia that will enable them to sustain, grow and innovate their platforms, skills and approaches to realise the potential offered by the digital age. 

Through the co-design approach ThinkPlace was able to create a strategy that was relevant and useful, with buy in and support from across the wider organisation.


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