Citizen-Centered Design

Government needs to be more innovative and take an outside-in approach to the design and delivery of government services to fulfill the commitments being made by political leaders and government executives.

Developing an understanding and empathy is key to the CCD approach, but the people directly involved in the process are often too close to the problem to be able to think outside the box. This is often the case for frontline workers with a government-centric process-driven mindset. The ability to ideate is dependent on the individual’s abilities to look past how things are done today Establish a cross-functional team that includes a mix of backgrounds and capabilities — from inside and outside of the organization — to maximize the effectiveness of the CCD process.

Government organizations that directly service or support citizens have been early adopters of CCD, and the related techniques are already in use and led by business areas. For example, local governments can take an HCD approach to focus Smart City strategies around the problems that matter to their cities.

Government Business Model

Every organization has a value or business model that describes what it does. Although governments aren’t in “business,” they have implicit models that explain what business they are in. Typical government “business models” reflect their mission value: regulatory, legislative, law enforcement, citizen services, economic stabilization or industry support. For example, a local government may issue grants to housing developers to support low-income housing. The capability of issuing, paying and overseeing those grants provides different value propositions to construction companies and citizens, who will pay for that service through some combination of fees and taxes.

Business models consist of customer (or citizen), value proposition, capabilities and financial model (or funding model for government). When two or more of these areas are impacted, Gartner says the organization is going through a transformation. In government, this can happen when agencies, ministries or departments are restructured (combined, divided, created) or when new services are added. Transforming the citizen’s journey by orchestrating activity across agencies, and adding a platform capability to the ecosystem, are examples of government transformation. 

Engagement – 5 Questions

Mission and vision are important, but day-to-day leadership involves connecting each team member with an inner sense of purpose. Each action has many levels. I’m typing on a keyboard, writing an article, and encouraging better leadership at the same time. One action-different levels. True leaders walk employees up that ladder to help them find meaning in even small tasks. Asking these five questions is one way to make that connection.

What are you good at doing? Which work doesn’t seem like work? What gets you noticed because you are so good at it? Help identify their strengths and open up the possibilities.

What do you enjoy? During the week, what do you look forward to doing? What do you see on your calendar that energizes you? If you could decide, how would you spend your time? Help them rediscover what they love about work.

What feels most useful? Which work makes you most proud? What tasks are most critical to the team or organization? Helps to identify the inherent value of certain work.

What creates a sense of forward momentum? What are you learning that you’ll use in the future? Where do you see yourself next? Show how today’s work helps get to future goals.

How do you relate to others? Which working partnerships are best for you? What would your favorite team look like? Think about and foster relationships that make work more meaningful.