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At the beginning of this month (June 7, 2017), Canberra witnessed the second edition of Explore Design. The event humbly started last year at the ATO premises and amazingly grew to almost 300 attendees this year at the shiny and amazing at Realm Hotel supported by the Department of Employment.


An energetic contribution and genuine conversation on how to use design thinking to improve government policies and services have just sparked in this sector. The well-curated grid of speakers in the morning with such great inspirations and gave this special day a good mix of what is already happening in this sector to a hands-on afternoon packed with 6 workshops full of practitioners to learn how to use this new mindset to design a better society.


Highlights of Explore Design 2017

Led by Dominic Campbell, from the FutureGov agency who works with governments worldwide to design public services for the digital age spoke about the intersection of policy, practice, and technology. He pointed out the importance of empathy in this process, but also recognised how hard is to truly make it happen. We couldn’t agree more. There is this buzz around empathy but it is pretty hard to create what we call the empathic zone during your research. Stepping in someone’s shoes require practice, a lot of practice.

Our participation: From normative’s to citizen needs.

We believe that government should be seen and a public service provider.  The traditional approach used in the public sector is focused on normative’s, but normative’s are focused on process, not people. The big change when using design thinking for the public sector is to focus on citizen needs and let it guide every decision in the process. Our goal was to help policy makers design better policies through design thinking, and for that, we developed a fast-forward challenge to foster job creation through a new policy. We see policies as enablers, and drivers of processes, services and ultimately CHANGE.

Design, like in any other sector, is also very important in public sector and the main reason behind that is the mindset shift:

When using a design thinking approach the focus is always on the user (citizen, client or patient and NOT on the process by itself); communication is simplified and better understood because of visualisation. Making information and communication simpler and understandable is already half of the problem solved; collaboration and joined up forces makes every effort more powerful; and lastly: prototyping helps mitigate risks and fear of change.

If you want to know more about Explore Design, click here: https://www.employment.gov.au/exploredesign2017

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