Design Thinking: Putting the Citizen at the Heart of Lasting Change
For the past few decades, there has been a growing increase in the digital channels available to network with the Federal government. These channels have made it easier for the public to interact and elicit responses from elected officials.
These growing interactions have increased expectations for Government to be more transparent and collaborative. From the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to the Department of State (DOS), Design Thinking transformations have begun to develop and modernize programs to be more human-centered. Agencies and programs beholden to serve the public good should logically adopt a problem-solving mindset that places the individual at the heart of any lasting changes.
An external transformation in government services and interactions can naturally lead to an internal examination of how offices and agencies are themselves organized to meet changing constituent demands. This is where Design Thinking plays the biggest role, helping Federal programs re-orient to provide an environment where technology and culture can evolve and grow cohesively. Numerous Federal agencies and programs have harnessed this people-first transformation mentality in recent years, including the State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA). A specially designed Collaboratory initiative has sought to pilot new ways to improve inclusivity and transparency when it comes to educational and cultural diplomacy. Their recent achievements through Design Thinking initiatives and design challenges have included new best practices for use of technology in exchanges and the development of new programmatic tools for the Department.
The Federal government must keep in mind some key ideas when it chooses Design Thinking to transform and better communicate with the modern citizen:
- Think About Outside-In Methodologies: consider the entire ecosystem you are operating in; lasting changes reflect on all individual interactions with the public
- Digitize and Simplify: simplify language and remove barriers to interactions with the Federal government; organize all services around the needs of the people
- Be Sensitive to Needs and Privacy: programs the Federal government operates tend to be emotionally-charged for their constituents; focus on good customer service, empathy, and above all, privacy for the individual through whatever channels you operate
The citizen experience is clearly a priority. Using Design Thinking is an easy choice to make an exceptional citizen experience a reality.
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