Design for policy and public services

The Centre for Public Impact: “Traditional approaches to policymaking have left policymakers and citizens looking for alternative solutions. Despite the best of intentions, the standard model of dispassionate expert analysis and subsequent implementation by a professional bureaucracy has, generally, led to siloed solutions and outcomes for citizens that fall short of what might be possible.

The discipline of design may well provide an answer to this problem by offering a collection of methods which allow civil servants to generate insights based on citizens’ needs, aspirations and behaviours. In doing so, it changes the view of citizens from seeing them as anonymous entities to complex humans with complex needs to match. The potential of this new approach is already becoming clear – just ask the medical teams and patients at Norway’s Oslo University Hospital. Women with a heightened risk of developing breast cancer had previously been forced to wait up to three months before receiving an appointment for examination and diagnosis. A redesign reduced this wait to just three days.

In-depth user research identified the principal issues and pinpointed the lack of information about the referral process as a critical problem. The designers also interviewed 40 hospital employees of all levels to find out about their daily schedules and processes. Governments have always drawn inspiration from fields such as sociology and economics. Design methods are not (yet) part of the policymaking canon, but such examples help explain why this may be about to change….(More)”Screen Shot 2016-03-07 at 8.52.52 AM