The CleanBC Industrial
Incentive Program

How we’re helping BC reduce emissions and promote a thriving economy.

Expertise

Data Science, Web development, User Research, UX design

Deliverables

Data Architecture, User research, UI/UX, Web application, DevOps

Technologies

Node, React, Postgres, Python, Perl, C

The project

In 2018, the Government of British Columbia launched the CleanBC program, laying out a roadmap for achieving ambitious greenhouse gas (GHG) emission targets of 40% by 2030, 60% by 2040, and 80% by 2050. CleanBC is an integral part of the province’s economic plan, promoting a robust, sustainable economy that creates jobs and opportunities, while also improving the lives of all of its citizens now and into the future.

One major focus of CleanBC is the CleanBC Program for Industry, which offers incentives to industry to transition to cleaner operations and reduce emissions. A large part of this incentive comes the CleanBC Industrial Incentives Program (CIIP) which reduces carbon-tax costs for industrial operations that meet world-leading greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions benchmarks.

Scaling with Software

In 2019 the Climate Action Secretariat (CAS) of BC successfully tested a manual pilot of the CIIP program. It was evident from its reception that the program would grow rapidly and require software to support it at scale.

We knew that this project had potential for enormous impact. It also had the makings of a complex problem that needed an elegant, well-designed solution, delivering value to the public sector, industry and citizens of BC.

Harnessing complexity, powered by science

Climate change science and policy is complex, and super fascinating. Data science and emission research lie and the heart of CIIP and we needed to understand this science before we could create a thorough roadmap of the project. Our scientists worked with CAS subject matter experts and analysts, picking apart the smallest details of the program, until we ourselves became experts. We interviewed stakeholders in parallel to understand the business requirements of the program.  

Armed with the science and the business requirements we created interactive wireframes of the proposed solution. This allowed users to interact with a prototype the same way they would with an actual software. Being able to see their own feedback as tangible interfaces really helped our end-users hone in on features they loved and improvements that could be made.

We worked closely with our government product owner to produce software with a clear and transparent mission. Our agile team followed an iterative approach where we collaborated with our stakeholders and we showed value early and often. This ensured we were always aligned and were maximizing business value and citizen impact.

Design with people, embed inclusion

Our highest priority was to make the experience as painless and seamless as possible for our industrial reporters, as this would create the biggest impact on the program and its efforts to lower emissions. With our continuous collection of user feedback, a strong background in user experience design, and thorough understanding of frameworks such as Service Design BC we were able to deliver a product that focused on:

Easy reporting

Reducing reporting complexity from a user design perspective, to minimize reporting burden and reporting error.

Accessibility

Integrating accessibility considerations into visuals and deliverables (e.g. accessibility, WCAG 2.0, colour blind-friendly visuals, etc.)

Complex made simple

Abstracting away the complexity behind intuitive interfaces for industry reporters and CIIP program administrators.

Easy administration

Baking in complex math and climate science that could do a lot of the heavy lifting for government analysts

Evolving needs

Flexible by design for a world with evolving industries and fuel requirements

Our team’s combination of focus on science and user needs allowed us to create a solution that abstracts away a lot of the complexity behind intuitive interfaces. This makes it really simple for industry to submit complex applications as well as for CAS to manage the program.

Building our end-to-end pipeline

We wanted to make sure we were working in the open, so that we could collaborate with our users transparently. We designed an open source continuous improvement and development pipeline that includes automated unit and integration testing, robust peer-review, and seamless deployment.

Working in a government environment, we recognized the importance of taking an ecosystem approach to deliver an interoperable, scalable system that could be handed off at the end of our project. Open source is terrific and gratifying in that respect – the goal is to work in the open, harness enterprise approaches, and create a transparent product that can be handed off after development. (Goodbye black box legacy systems!)

Our stakeholders and technical sponsors from across government were invited to our Agile sprint reviews and retros, and actively participated in our development process.

It’s showtime

Industry applied to the CIIP program for the first time in 2019, using spreadsheets. In 2020, they will use our online system.

We’re proud to be at the nexus of action on climate change and tech strategy, increasing economic opportunities for citizens and helping the government adopt innovative digital solutions. Above all, we care about producing digital products that take a complex problem space and deliver an amazing user experience to government and citizens.

Our team is always looking for opportunities to collaborate with government – helping industry thrive in the global market, while becoming global leaders in clean growth and emission reduction technologies.