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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 …


A thousand nos for every yes — the essence of design

Posted on by Stephen Collins in Posts | 1 Comment

Apple’s keynote pre-​​​​roll from the 2013 WWDC. The lan­guage in this video speaks pow­er­fully to the designer in me. If design isn’t to appeal to people’s hearts as well as their heads, if we’re not design­ing to make a dif­fer­ence in the world, and if we’re not design­ing to cre­ate some­thing good, then what the hell are we design­ing for?

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 about …

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