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Great co-design is inclusive. It makes an effort to find and include all of the people who will be affected by a program or service. And that means speaking to people who are often left out of design processes because they are harder to reach.
People on the periphery. People far from the centre.
That has long been our commitment at ThinkPlace but recently we’ve been asking ourselves a more nuanced question.
Australia’s 2025 Digital Transformation Strategy is about delivering a vision for all Australians to thrive in an age of data and technology. It’s the most ambitious digital strategy ever prepared for the Australian public sector.
The ACT Government’s recently-announced Family Safety Hub has been widely and rightly celebrated.
"We absolutely think this work could save lives," ACT Coordinator-General for Family Safety Jo Wood said at the project’s launch.
The words used by the Department of the Prime Minster and Cabinet to describe the nature of the problem say so much.
“The prevalence of domestic and family violence and sexual assault in Australia is alarmingly high,” the department’s website says.
“The National Plan recognizes that violence against women and their children is a complex problem that requires a long-term plan for action.”
Maybe we should just blame Harvard.
In the mid 1940s, students at the Ivy League business school hit upon a new way of thinking about their coursework. Catchy words or phrases that seemed to recur in their lectures and reading were noted down, to be later redeployed. The more they did this, the better their results trended.
In a piece of nomenclature that inevitably spread across the world they called them “buzzwords”.
In the interplay between humans, business processes and complex systems in any organisation, causes of poor performance are not always clear. Our understandings of problems vary, depending on our point of view. Executives often see a challenge quite differently from their staff, clients or supporting organisations.
In this environment, if we jump straight into ‘solution mode’ we are not likely to address the issues underlying project or program challenges. Unintended consequences of solving the wrong problem may even make things worse.