Background: As an experiment, I'm writing my ebook Public Design FAQs in public, on the 200wad platform. It's a complete field guide to the best practices, strategies, tactics, tips and hacks to using human-centred design approaches in the public sector. Read the book here as it's written, 200 words at a time.
Why should you listen to me anyway?
OK this is where I feel kind of awkward doing, since I have to somewhat share my professional background and experience, without sounding like I'm boasting. But I feel it might be helpful to some readers that I share this, as I would ask myself these questions too if I reading someone's book:
"Who is this guy anyway? Why should I listen to him? Is his opinion legit and worth listening to? Does he have street cred, or "skin in the game"? Is it informed by deep experience and/or study, or just mere opinion?
I had worked as a designer and now design consultant in the intersection of design and the public good/social impact for well over 7 years now. I first started in the Prime Minister's Office of the Singapore Government, as part of a pioneering design innovation team called The Human Experience Lab (now called Innovation Unit). The team was like a startup in a mega corporation, and we were tasked with help shift the whole public service to be more citizen-centric in policy-making and service delivery. It was an awesome career as I had the opportunity to bring my passions for human-centred design, social innovation and entrepreneurship into government to create public good. I spent 2 months stint as a resident gov-designer at the globally renowned innovation firm IDEO, on a project commissioned by the housing authorities to look into the future narrative of public housing in Singapore. The job was as multi-faceted as a startup could be - I had to lead multi-agency projects one day, and the next facilitate training workshops to coach fellow public officers. Since then, I had now moved on to consulting for government organisations on a wide variety of public and social issues such as disability, employment, public transport, tourism, social impact leadership and digital government.
Maybe you shouldn’t listen to me... completely
But I also understand that even if I had all the experience in the world, I can't write this ebook alone. My perspective and experience alone might be skewed and biased. I do hope to invite other notable veterans from other countries to contribute to the ebook, be it by being directly involved or through their own books, talks, articles, or social media posts.
Of course, as with any best practices, tips and tricks of any trade, the knowledge is highly contextual and based on the specifics of the situation where it originated. Your mileage may vary, by A LOT! So try it out, see if it works in your context, and add to the knowledge pool where it doesn't.
Next: finally, we can start on the actual FAQs themselves...