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Embedding customers in infrastructure and the built environment

How can we keep customers front of mind throughout complex, multi-disciplinary projects?

Published on
March 11, 2019

Australia has a record number of projects underway across transport, public domain, residential and commercial infrastructure. Fortunately, we are seeing growing consideration given to the experience of end users. What will encourage them to adopt? How can we provide better connectivity with other services? How can we build flexibility into the design to accommodate changes in requirements, technology and demand over time?

How do you carry this customer focus through a project of scale?

These projects are typically made up of multidisciplinary teams (architects, engineers, planners, data analysts, industrial designers, marketers etc.) each with their own focus, requirements and constraints. We have worked on a number of these projects at CEC, and have refined an approach to embed customer experience throughout teams, large and small.

Our model for customer centric design at scale


It can be easy to homogenise users when designing projects for the mass population due to their complexity and scale. We like to get members of our teams to truly empathise with the different customers they are designing for by providing real examples of customer challenges and unmet needs.

Align to a vision and strategy

Define a clear value proposition for end users and communicate this with the team. There will always be trade-offs and differing opinions – but a shared vision allows these conversations to be grounded in a common aspiration and purpose as we work towards an outcome.

Develop a customer centred perspective through thematic insights

Through research and future casting techniques we uncover themes about how users will interact with the service, space or product, and are able to define principles for success. This is important to maintain consistency through the design, especially when multiple teams are working on the same project.

Collaborate on detailed design

As the design develops, we take a hands on approach to assess, develop and collaborate on user requirements for the design. We then test it with customers, provide feedback to the team, and repeat the process as we refine the design together.

Provide Leadership

It is important to establish a level of leadership to ensure customer centric outcomes and business success. This also enables collaboration with other disciplines in understanding broader constraints, to design a solution that satisfies all criteria.

We have worked on a number of these projects at CEC and have embedded customer experience throughout teams, large and small. We'd love to work with you on your next project. Get in touch with us below.

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