A design kit for public services
Designing a set of tools and guidelines to encourage public administrations adopt a citizen-centered approach.
How to translate service design and user-centred design approach into something easy to access and adopt?
We evolved our methodology into a set of design kits that could practically support specific steps in defining, design and developing a digital service without taking too much effort.
The kits are open source, available to everyone on the Designers Italia website, and used by public administrations, education institutions and private companies.
The digital transformation of an organisation is always a huge challenge, which requires primarily a mindset or cultural shift.
This challenge becomes exponential when considering the public sector, and the thousands and thousands of internal divisions and external vendors that everyday deal with the development of services for the citizens. The Digital Transformation Team of the Italian Government tackled the issues from multiple corners, from providing design education to public servants to developing guidelines that could be used to write tenders and better contract with the vendors. As part of this effort, we contributed with the creation of a set of tools that could provide a very easy, actionable help in specific moments of the design process.
Knowing that it’s very hard to give a linear representation of the process, and so a sequential use of the design tools, we used a circular shape: a continuous cycle connecting the actions of understanding people, generating ideas and actually building the service. For each of those actions, a specific set of tools is available. Each tool comes with an explanation of what is useful for and how to apply it, as well as with pre-defined templates that help users quickly get started. All the tools are developed as much as possible with Google Docs, Spreadsheets and Slides, to lower down all the barriers and reduce complexity to the minimum. The tools have been tested throughout the various projects run by the Digital Transformation Team, and adapted to the public sector context.
Thanks to the toolkits, more and more administrations in Italy could start from pre-defined building blocks instead of building every parts of their digital services from scratch. The kits help newbies adopt a user-centered mindset or get interested into learning more, as well as experts have a reference point to explain the value of design to their stakeholders. Administrations and design agencies finally have a common ground to start a dialogue, building calls for proposal that take into considerations the specific steps and deliverables of design projects.