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Why Governments Need Designers

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Design has become one of the important concepts that lie at the heart of the innovation process, But it is often misunderstood.
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Design has become one of the important concepts that lie at the heart of the innovation process, But it is often misunderstood.

The various entities initiated the development of specific standards for the design process, which are represented in the frameworks of " design thinking", tools, mechanisms and methodologies of multiple stages and steps, This has contributed to transforming the design process into a recipe for innovation rather than a means of thinking and implementation. Design has reached levels that we were not able to aspire to, such as government administration, for example. This is great, but it does not mean that this practice can be reduced to one form;

Today there are two completely different approaches to the practice of design in government agencies. We can call the first approach accessible design, That is, when the designers facilitate the process but do not participate in discussions and do not express their point of view. The second approach, It is a super-intelligent design in which designers act as mentors, especially in creative activities such as coming up with new ideas.

It should be noted that both approaches involve specific challenges. First, entities resort to accessible design based on their belief that the design can be replicated through a fixed formula. Although design methodologies contribute to the initiation and application of design within a mechanism that includes specific steps, But it goes beyond that because it encompasses knowledge and discussions about human and behavioral factors, symbolology, usability and aesthetic details. Not all those details can be reduced to one approach alone. They should also be part of the discussion between the people involved and here designers can express their point of view rather than being neutral facilitators.

On the other hand, Super-intelligent design is based on the conviction that creativity is a talent that very few people have. They should therefore be treated as a primary source of good ideas. In this way, The discussion is dominated by designers and the participation of the rest is limited to very limited input. This often happens in entities that operate in a limited hierarchy where someone comes up with all the ideas and others have to turn them into reality.

The challenge with these two approaches is that design is not just a means or a form of genius; it is a professional practice that requires training, experience, and knowledge on how to create. We can say that we are all determined because we can change the environment around us with a little creativity, But knowing something doesn't mean you're capable of doing it professionally.

Design Process – Creative Chaos

The design is characterized as an unstructured process, It does not start at one point and end at another in a linear pattern. Design is a free practice that is always changing and does not include confirmed or repeatable details, And sometimes they can be very surprising. Because when we invent something, We learn how things work through testing, experimenting, and adjusting based on them. Sometimes great ideas reach dead ends, Other times, simple ideas inspire great solutions. The design process is linked to personal intuition, creativity and descriptive assessments, This method of working is very strange to people who are used to working on a linear path and based on logic and quantitative assessments.

Traditionally, Government entities include bureaucratic institutions that impose a highly sequential, rigid, and linear way of working. As design enters the world of governments, it often becomes a well-defined mechanism. For this reason, the "double diamond" approach is so popular in government circles that it offers a formula with clear steps for innovation through design. Although this is not his primary purpose. In order to successfully develop a design practice to solve government challenges, We don't just need to adopt a specific methodology, We must engage experts in the field to establish a culture that welcomes design, testing, experimentation, and collaboration. Customer-centric services and policies.

With the launch of design-based projects in government, An urgent need arises for a new work culture that is significantly different from traditional bureaucratic processes. Sometimes, These projects are carried out in the form of multi-step processes and fall under traditional working methods eliminating the design place in the entire process.

The designer's task is not limited to introducing a methodology (accessible design) or making all decisions (super intelligent design), but also to explain the design process in a manner appropriate to government employees. In this way, Design can be part of the mindset in the government sector without being just a mechanism or a resonant slogan. So, It won't really matter to follow a "double diamond" methodology, multi-stage mechanism, or any structured design methodology as long as you're dealing with people with a customer-centric mindset and keen on collaboration, empathy and creativity because you'll succeed anyway.

Getting rid of stereotypes

Government agencies need to develop a deep understanding of community members to be able to empathize with them and maximize impact. Hence, It is important for government employees to understand how to apply customer-based collaboration in order to make a meaningful impact.

Acquiring a design mindset requires hard work because it involves deconstructing certain mental models and looking at and understanding the world in a different way. This highlights our need for designers in government. Our mission is to facilitate the transformation process and adopt design as a continuous practice and apply it on the ground and on the challenges facing government entities.

This task requires designers to learn how governments work and vice versa. Experiment with different design methodologies and come up with design methods that take into account the political, social and institutional challenges that governments may face. This should be done by embracing design values such as empathy, collaboration, testing and experimentation as a new way of thinking and working. And not just steps to follow.



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