A ‘design-thinking’ approach to governing the future

Bronwyn van der Merwe

The Hill:

With the U.S. Presidential Election around the corner, never before has digital exerted such a strong influence on each and every vote. Politicians are communicating with voters around the clock via social media, creating an immediacy and intimacy that has changed the nature of interactions between politicians and the people. With digital natives joining junior ministerial ranks, and more senior politicians joining the digital conversation, government bodies are under increasing pressure from all sides to digitally transform the notion of public services.

Archaic, inward-looking government departments and legacy systems are being phased out to allow room for flexible, citizen-centric digital solutions, as a way of increasing citizen engagement, while simultaneously boosting speed and efficiency and lowering costs. This is the era where technology is in service of the public good, enabling a new form of citizen empowerment.

 ‘Design-Thinking’ the Citizen Experience

Government organizations are starting to realize the benefits of digital transformation to reinvent the citizen experience in the form of digital services tailored to individual needs. However, public service leaders are finding that as they move further into the digital age, they need to re-orient their internal organizations around this paradigm shift, or their investments in digital are likely to fail. This is where Design Thinking comes into play.

Design Thinking has become a proven approach to reimagining complex service or organizational issues in the private sector. This approach of user research, rapid prototyping, constant feedback and experimentation is starting to take hold in leading business, like Citrix Systems, Ebay and Google, and is slowly spilling over into government bodies.

Read the full article on The Hill
Bronwyn van der Merwe

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