Design Thinking: Solving Messy, Complex, and Persistent Problems
The private sector has long been on board with the overwhelming benefits of Design Thinking. Empathizing with the end user during iterations of creative exploring, experimenting, and prototyping results in the most successful solutions. But the Government has not been quite so quick to adapt. One arm of the Department of Defense (DoD) is working to change this.
The DoD is on the leading edge of using Design Thinking to find innovative ways to update policy in a modern marketplace with DIUx – the Defense Innovation Unit Experimental. DIUx has reached out to companies in Silicon Valley to re-vamp the way the DoD does business. Their goal is to use the latest technology to best serve the U.S. military by maximizing both efficiency and technological superiority. The goal of this unit is to find ways to adapt to the fast-paced culture of business. New ideas cannot be forced through old systems. DIUx must create a new and dynamic system to meet changing demands.
Design thinking is the best tool for these problems because it can help teams create solutions with the market in mind. Through this process, they have created a Commercial Solutions Opening – a contracting tool that helps the DoD move more rapidly when conducting business. DIUx did this by following the repeatable design guidelines in their How-To Guide.
The guide highlights assembling and empowering a strong team with the necessary skills, researching the market to find capability gaps, speaking with end users, and then developing the problems that arise into the basis for the projects. In this model, collaboration between DIUx, the DoD customer, and the potential vendor is key. This method is already showing results. In the first quarter, DIUx awarded more agreements in a smaller amount of time.
While this is just the beginning, this success proves that Design Thinking is an excellent method for solving some the Government’s more messy, complex, and persistent problems.
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