Governments face enormous challenges when it comes to meeting the needs of its citizens. Sometimes, It may just also be that the citizens tend to expect more from their government irrespective of some challenges that they may be facing. Notwithstanding, there is a midway to anticipating and closing this gap, and this can be achieved through design. There are a few countries that are already doing so and are recording good results, among them are Chile, The UK, Iceland, Singapore, Canada, and Australia.
Bringing it closer to home, the government of Nigeria can join this forward-thinking approach to achieve much if they infuse design into governance and policymaking. These are two ways in which this can be achieved; by investing in design-based skill building for public sector and soliciting the input of citizens in decision-making.
Invest in design-based skill building
In the societal mix, there are design-led public servants who are amongst the country’s most valuable assets if properly engaged. However, this has not been the case as fewer public servants are identified and allowed to manage design-led projects. The current system often does not encourage geniocracy, a system that encourages putting skill and creativity to work. Also, how many design-oriented individuals can be found in the public sector? Are design-based processes infused in public service administration?
The answers to these questions will fall on the negative side. Government need to start thinking like never before on how design thought processes can be beneficial in public service. If this is in place, there will be more efficiency and effective use of resources on the part of the government.
Solicit the input of citizens in government decisions
The right platform should be created to allow citizens input in decision making. When this is done, the government will be able to realign efforts needed in certain sectors. Decisions will become more citizen-centric, with coherent experiences and greater impact.
Take Germany for instance, in the City of Cologne, the use of participatory budgeting is now the norm; the residents are involved in the process of budget allocation. On the other hand, the government of Iceland has over time chosen the path of deliberative and participatory democracy. In 2009, 1200 citizens were randomly selected to discuss the country’s future. The year after, about a thousand citizens were randomly selected to participate in the drafting of a new constitution.
When citizens are given the unbiased opportunity to make meaningful suggestions that are implemented, government’s approval rating will also be increased.
There are a lot of other ways design can also be infused in government practices; it all starts with a thought of how things can be organised or done differently to create a more logical, consistent, and valuable outcome.
If you think there’s an opportunity for us to discuss how design can be infused into government practices, please get in touch and let’s collaborate. Send a mail to firstname.lastname@example.org