In exploring “the next frontier of service innovation” Maryantonett Flumian, former Deputy Minister at Service Canada (now President of the Institute on Governance) recognized that what was needed during her tenure to realize service transformation was a “new breed of public managers who could understand the workings of government, appreciate the outcomes that policy makers were trying to achieve, work with the power of the technology and business processes, and be prepared to ask citizens how they could best be served” (Citizens as Prosumers, The next frontier of service innovation, page 6).
I believe that these folks exist in pockets in various levels of government, the private sector, and think tanks across the country. Some work in policy development and others work in service-oriented fields. Some are specialists, others, generalists. Some work in large, complex organizations that are about as easy to change as turning around the Titanic would have been. Many are asking “how?” and “what next?”.
HOW? Yep, that’s the question
I believe the secret sauce in the public service renewal sandwich can be found by being explicit about HOW things work that incorporates both human nature and the reality of the rigid structures and organizations within which we live and work.
Design is the deliberate shaping of the environment in ways that satisfy individual and societal needs. -Donald A. Norman
People like Don Norman and Liz Saunders paved the way in the private sector to use tools from the fields of interaction design, information architecture, psychology, information visualization, business analysis and user-centred design to improve consumer products.
Peter Morville took it to the next level of intangibility by using these principles and tools for service design, as he so elegantly explores in his post on ubiquitous service design in an era of ever-present information in the digital age.
If product design principles can be used to craft better services, why not apply the principles to policy design? That’s exactly what we’re starting to see right here in Canada! Folks have started to apply these principles to explicitly focus on designing interactions between people that focus on achieving policy goals.
Process mapping is used to compare present and ideal state of how information flows through an organization, personas are used to keep our clients needs and preferences front and centre and the newly-developed Centre for Citizen Experience uses 3D paper prototypes to help public sector staff ‘walk-through’ service interactions in order to design a process that is human-focused.
Coming back to the canada@150 experiment, the participants recommended learning:
- simple visioning and foresight processes
- social, cultural, and organizational norms for working collaboratively.
- to self-organize in multi-disciplinary work groups
- flat project management
- to peer review each others’ work
- by doing
For me, that means exploring various disciplines and the tools that go with these specializations and adding them to my virtual toolbox.