Department of State

Fitting our analysis to your challenge

Background

Improving the tracking of rough diamonds

The Kimberley Process is an “international, multi-stakeholder initiative created to increase transparency and oversight in the diamond industry in order to eliminate trade in conflict diamonds, or rough diamonds sold by rebel groups or their allies to fund conflict against legitimate governments.” The Department of State, in conjunction with the US Kimberley Process Authority (USKPA), manages domestic implementation to ensure U.S. efforts are in compliance with the Kimberley Process.

USKPA.org is the website the USKPA uses to administer and control the usage of U.S. Kimberley Process certificates for the export of rough diamonds from the United States. In addition, U.S. agencies involved in implementing the Kimberley Process, including the U.S. Census Bureau, Customs and Border Protection, and the Department of State use it as part of efforts to help keep track of all certified licensee shipments.

The platform needed an overhaul to ensure it could continue to meet the needs of all users from a technical and functional perspective. Among key concerns, it required a complicated process to complete updates. In addition, the site design and interface did not meet the needs of either the licensees or the administrators. Though the website had numerous challenges, the State Department and USKPA had a limited operating budget for improvements.

In need of direction and a solution that fit its budget, the State Department reached out to 18F to evaluate the system through a Path Analysis.

Approach

Working efficiently with our partners to stay within budget

18F’s two-person team began the Path Analysis, exploring the USKPA data, user interface, and website. During the first round of interviews and demonstrations, the team members identified the problem statement and path forward. Feeling confident in the initial findings, they presented a detailed, prioritized, three-tiered product vision for the replacement solution. The team leveraged its technical expertise and innate understanding of the federal landscape to readily identify the partner’s needs.

The team executed the Path Analysis in two weeks instead of the typical eight weeks, allowing the remaining time and funds to be used for building a new solution. The result is a complete upgrade of the certificate tracking system including a rebuilt database with increased usability, security, support, and data accuracy. It also includes additional features such as improved search, an address book, and the ability to manage certificate modification electronically; items which were previously managed manually outside the system.

The USKPA site also received a complete design update: a new USKPA logo, refreshed visual styling, and improved information architecture. In addition, the 18F team provided the documentation and training necessary for a successful handoff, enabling the partner to continue to enhance the site on its own in the future. By the end of the project, the USKPA improved its oversight capabilities and increased transparency in the diamond industry for less than $250,000.