How human-centred design helps us create solutions that are impactful - GovTech Accelerator

How human-centred design helps us create solutions that are impactful

A human-centred approach is one of three pillars the GovTech programme is built on. It is important for all teams to understand and follow the principles of Human-Centred Design to create a solution that not only solves the problem but is desired by the end-users.

What is design? 

If we break it down to basics, design is essentially the structure or plan behind a solution. This is the reason why there is no right or wrong design, but there is a good and a bad. Good design will serve a solution that solves a problem and bad design will not solve a problem fully, or solve it at all. 

When we put the words design and innovation together, we get a user-centric approach that is applicable to any area of human experience. We are designing every day at GovTech, developing solutions through tools and frameworks that are people-focused and aim to provide solutions to significant problems that exist at the intersection between desirability, feasibility and viability.


Is everyone a designer?

To define design simply: design is to decide on the look or function of something with a specific purpose or objective in mind. 

We tend to glorify the word “design” and have preconceived ideas about it being an industry of highly qualified creatives. Architects, fashion designers and graphic designers are experts in their fields, but seeing design as the structure or plan behind a solution allows us to harness design at all levels. Gaining some clarity around the word design allows us to harness design thinking in ways that are less daunting than our existing ideas of the concept may have been.

Think about rearranging your bedroom, moving the bed into the middle of the room so that both you and your partner have a bedside table and don’t have to climb over one another to get out of bed. This is design, solving a problem and achieving a desired outcome with yourself and your partner at the forefront. 


How to design better

Usually, we are designing for humans to interact with systems, focusing on people allows for better design practices. Design thinking provides a human-centred approach to innovation and paves the foundation for our work at GovTech. By integrating real peoples perspectives into our design considerations, we are able to get closer to the root cause of the problem and come up with a solution that won’t miss the mark.


Here are some of our tips for better design:

Be people-focused rather than solution-focused.

Forget about trying to come up with a shiny solution until you’ve spoken to the people affected by the problem and have found out their thoughts, needs and wants. At GovTech, we make sure that all teams validate any assumptions they make. Teams do this by using the card sort tool to conduct empathy interviews. Each interviewee is asked to pick three problem-, solution-, outcome and impact cards (of a possible 15 for each section), and give their opinions as to why these are most important to them. By conducting card sort interviews, the teams are able to gain detailed qualitative insights regarding their customer’s problems which are pivotal in designing a solution that keeps the human at the centre.


Recognise that one size does NOT fit all.

From solutions to people, you are able to create a solution that fits the people that you are concerned about because one solution won’t work for everybody. At GovTech, we make sure that the solutions have a direct impact on our target user. The card sorts provide direct insights on the impact of solving certain problems for certain target groups. This allows the teams to design their solutions around the most impactful problems for their target groups.


Creating impactful solutions is at the heart of what we do at GovTech, at the core of this is human-centered design. Getting comfortable with the idea that we are all designers in our own lives, realising that we all design every single day and are able to use this approach can make waves in our work and personal lives. Stay people-focused, remember that one size doesn’t fit all.  We are all designers and keeping humans at the centre of our process is only going to help us become better designers. 

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