Design Thinking: A Fresh Approach to Problem Solving in Homeland Security

Design Thinking: A Fresh Approach to Problem Solving in Homeland Security

Design Thinking: A Fresh Approach to Problem Solving in Homeland Security

Mission users. More and more, we hear that the mission users are not getting what they need when new technology is designed and implemented. The Federal Government needs new approaches to create cross-enterprise, people-centric solutions.

While the Government is adopting agile techniques in software development, the same cannot be said for business process design. Great process design is critical to meet mission needs in today’s dynamic environment.

Design Thinking is an iterative problem solving approach that starts with developing deep understanding, or empathy, for the end user, whether it be a citizen, program executive, or mission operator. Adopted more widely by commercial companies (e.g., Apple, Pepsi, consumer product companies, etc.), this technique is helping companies develop breakthrough products that consumers are passionate about.

So, why can’t we have that in the Government? Design Thinking offers a compelling approach that the Government can use to innovatively design solutions that meet the stakeholder needs – both expressed and hidden needs. It applies to designing a security screening program, developing data analytic tools, or keeping Americans safe from natural disasters. By observing people in their environments and developing empathy for their needs and motivations, we can think about problems in a more holistic, people-centered way. Resulting solutions are more effective at reaching the end goals of a program or agency.

 

Programs using traditional design or management techniques often generate results that don't meet mission needs. This creates costly re-working and back tracking, or in extreme cases, the cancellation of a program at huge taxpayer expense. With Design Thinking, we use iterative and experimental approaches to prove concepts early in the process and adjust with user feedback. This creates high quality outcomes for program operators and agency leaders, giving a stronger return on invested resources.

As part of our bold strategy, Arc Aspicio is embracing Design Thinking to drive more impactful mission results for homeland security and data sharing. By applying our knowledge of the mission operators and evolving demands of stakeholders, we are customizing Design Thinking to homeland security and other mission programs. This set of techniques adds more tools and accelerators to our existing Innovation Toolkit, bringing clients a fresh look, generating new ideas and creating breakthrough outcomes.

Contributors

Rob O'Keefe |

Rob O’Keefe, President of Arc Aspicio, brings more than 25 years of experience in designing and delivering innovative solutions for the government and Fortune 500 corporations. He is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP) with extensive experience in large program risk and quality management. Rob currently leads Client Delivery for the company’s work at the Department of Homeland Security and on all contract vehicles.

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