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Office of Open Data and Digital Transformation

BY DESIGN: Transforming public sector services I Design terms

“Customer insight and service design are at the heart of these [service transformation] efforts, and design philosophy and methods are making a difference. At the enterprise level, we’re helping reframe conversations about policy. At the program level, we’re providing ethnographic research data to build an empathetic understanding of customer needs that will guide service delivery.”
— Sarah Brooks from Design and Government 

Strategic design

“Traditional definitions of design often focus on creating discrete solutions—be it a product, a building, or a service. Strategic design applies some of the principles of traditional design to “big picture” systemic challenges like health care, education, and climate change. It redefines how problems are approached, identifies opportunities for action, and helps deliver more complete and resilient solutions. Strategic design is about crafting decision-making.”
Helsinki Design Lab

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Service design

“Government services are sometimes split into tiny pieces: lots of isolated transactions, products, and content provided by different parts of government that need to be used together by a user to achieve their goal. Service design is the activity of working out which of these pieces need to fit together, asking how well they meet user needs, and rebuilding them from the ground up so that they do.”
– Louise Downe, Head of Design for the UK Government, Government Digital Service (Quote from What We Mean By Service Design)

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Human-centered design

“Human-centered design is a creative approach to problem solving. It’s a process that starts with the people you’re designing for and ends with new solutions that are tailor made to suit their needs. Human-centered design is all about building a deep empathy with the people you’re designing for; generating tons of ideas; building a bunch of prototypes; sharing what you’ve made with the people you’re designing for; and eventually putting your innovative new solution out in the world.”

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Design research

“Design research is a vote against hunch-based reasoning. It prevents the need for endless testing, and provides a basis for evidence-based decision-making. By ‘design research’, I mean research specifically undertaken to support the strategic design and development of products, services, and programs. (While) sometimes confused with market research, the practices differ. In the public and international development sectors, understanding and meeting human needs are critical for improved livelihoods and better governance.”
— Panthea Lee, Reboot (Quote from Design Research: What Is It and Why Do It?)

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Inclusive design

“Everyone has abilities, and limits to those abilities. Designing for people with permanent disabilities actually results in designs that benefit people universally. Constraints are a beautiful thing.”
– Microsoft Inclusive Design Team

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