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Sketchnote from Towards a Unified Theory of Shiny New Things

Shiny and new – why are these still words for government innovation?

Posted on by Stephen Collins in Posts | 6 Comments

Last Friday, I attended DesignGov‘s event Towards a Unified Theory of Shiny New Things, largely as a catch-up on where open government, design thinking and government innovation are at in the Australian Public Service. I’ve been busy with private sector clients of late, and I was feeling a little rusty. I was hoping for some fresh ideas, evidence of substantial activity, an evolution of attitude towards government innovation, and some maturity around perceptions towards design thinking. Taking the glass half-full perspective, I’ve got to say I was delighted to see a significant number of new faces among the 70 or so people there. Naturally, there were a significant number of the old hands in the room as well, and that’s as it should be; you want a mix of experience and those for whom these ideas are new at any event, else you risk becoming an echo chamber. Helping the newer …

Innovation by hyoin min on Flickr

GovCamp 2013 – Where and how does government innovation happen?

Posted on by Nathanael Boehm in Posts | 2 Comments

At GovCamp Australia 2013 this week, there were two identifiable two groups of people who presented and talked about the topics of inspiring government innovation, empowering people and liberating capability. There were the service designers who spoke about the specifics of design and presented case studies, and the managers, public servants and academics who talked about innovation (in the abstract). How important is design to innovation? As a designer myself I strongly believe in the utility of design thinking and I wish the methods and techniques I use on a daily basis were part of the standard toolkit for those in government responsible for policy design and service delivery. But I fear that too much emphasis is being put on design when we talk about innovation in government and that there are other disciplines that should be represented. The other issue is that no one can actually pin down what …

Marshmallow challenge at Pollenizer

Core questions for service design

Posted on by Stephen Collins in Posts | 3 Comments

As a service designer, I’ve been involved in building the way a significant number of programs, products and tools hang together. And, as someone who works relatively often with government, where many agencies, policies, regulation and in the end, people, need to come together to make something happen, I’m usually called upon to deal with complex issues. It often the case that the people I’m dealing when designing services, particularly, just don’t know where to start. It all looks too hard. Over time, I’ve developed a set of questions I use to help me understand what’s happening (versus why it’s happening) as I go through a discovery process when doing service design work. These questions are focussed on activities rather than values, motivation or what someone wants to achieve (the why questions). Those value-based questions are a whole other part (though not separate from this part) of the design process. I’ll post …

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acidlabs is a service design and user experience studio based in Canberra, Australia. We work with clients to solve complex problems with design thinking.
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