Design Thinking: Asking the Right Questions to Address the Five Villains of the Social Good

The American Marketing Association definition of marketing centers on the concept of offerings: “Marketing is the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.” A prime design question for this blog then becomes what should public and social...

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Redesigning Public and Social Services: Staple Yourself to a Citizen

Government leaders should adopt the perspective of a citizen passing through the end-to-end experience of a particular process and seek to optimize the complete journey. This quote from a recent McKinsey survey is simultaneously obvious and revolutionary. Of course government leaders should optimize citizen services. But most government processes seem so cumbersome and plodding...

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The Power of Design: Basic Elements of Graphical Communication

In a recent presentation, research and senior TED fellow Genevieve von Petzinger showed 32 ancient graphical symbols that she found repeated in cave paintings and hieroglyphic writings around the world. This consistent set of symbols appeared 30,000 – 40,000 years ago and remained in use for thousands of years. It’s possible that this is...

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The Power of Design: Social Service Program Design

In her TED talk, “Social Services Are Broken: How We Can Fix Them,” Hilary Cottam displayed a chart mapping 20 years of social services interventions in the life of one family (screen shot shown above). Color-coded shapes along two timelines mark each encounter in which schools, police and social services interacted with the mother,...

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