Episode 1.10 – Human Centered Design

Episode 1.10 – Human Centered Design

Trending globally in the private sector is the concept of building new products and technology primarily informed by the people to whom these products are being sold. In small forward thinking government circles, human centered design is gaining a small foothold in the rebuilding of systems and processes to better serve the community. The concept of redesigning incredibly complex systems that serve some of the most vulnerable among us is light years away from creating a new tennis shoe or a marketing campaign for a coffee shop, but the framework offered by this strategy brings incredible opportunity.

Many systems, including human services systems, across the nation seem genuinely committed to talking to communities that they are intended to serve. Early work to build this dialogue are vulnerable and productive and show that organizations, their workforces and communities are wanting to do this work, but teams and leaders are recognizing that conversations have to lead to meaningful action, and that these desired outcomes are slow and difficult without a model to turn talking into system design.

Perfection has not been achieved in any of these spaces, including at OKDHS. This strategy is ever evolving, but the early approach has yielded a promising vision for a Human Centered Design Continuum that embraces community voice, builds a strong culture of focused transformation in the deepest corner of a huge organization. As important as all of the other benefits is the articulation of a bent towards action in systems that have been stagnant for decades.

The agency’s HCD continuum allows for a wide variety of experiences ranging from a small team in rural Oklahoma utilizing a developed toolkit to embrace human centered design to reconsider an inefficient process to large scale 18 week, partner led designs that end in technology development. The intent is to build a model that can scale to the need and capacity of the team that desires to utilize.

Episode 10 of the Thousand Stories Podcast attempts to provide an experience for the listener, by bringing together nine participants in a small scale example of how human centered design can drive changes in extremely important and complex systems. The team will tackle a current issue at OKDHS by building personas, a current state journey map and a future state journey map to rebuild a system or process that addresses a specific need of children currently in the foster care system.

This is a short example of an HCD sprint done for illustration purposes. It does not include a customer listening function, which would likely be included in a subsequent stage of HCD as the team works towards a solution to the problem. The outcome of the sprint will likely need to be further discussed and feasibility of the solution will need to be evaluated.