Collaboration
Framework

A design framework at Public Digital Innovation Space.

PROJECT KICK-OFF

Collaboration Framework has 4 layers: problem-solving process, policy-making process, civil collaboration process, and collaboration toolkits overview.

Project Partner: Public Digital Innovation Space (PDIS)
PDIS, an organization under the government of Taiwan, is devoted to creating a space for the public to have a say in the government decision making process and to meet the needs of digital government transition.

Primary users: Participation Officers (POs)
Participation Officers are civil servants and their primary responsibilities are proposing discussions of cross-ministerial issues with wider stakeholders, and collaborating about solutions.

Project overview: Participation Officers are the ambassadors of service design in Taiwan, but they are not familiar with design processes and methods. In order to build their design capacity, I built the Collaboration Framework that sits alongside the Collaboration Research Guide so that Paticipation Officers can have a clear picture of how to practice design within government decision making processes.

Timeline: 6 weeks, Nov 2018- Jan 2019

My role: Visual and service designer.

Goals of my practice:

  • Use service design knowledge to empower Taiwanese civil servants to use Design Thinking to facilitate civil discussion and tackle social problems.
  • Give the incipient Taiwanese service design sector some structure to grow upon

PROBLEM STATEMENT

“Participation Officers get confused about when and how to use the collaboration toolkits in the problem-solving and policy-making process.”

STUDIO WORKSHOP

Workshop overview

I lead a studio workshop with my design peers at Emily Carr University to explore alternatives of visual framework design and ways of learning design methods. At the beginning of the workshop, I presented the history of PDIS and the Participation Officer (PO) network to elaborate why I am designing the framework. If you are interested in the presentation, you can have a peek here. I divided my fellow designers into 2 groups, designer and PO groups, to role- play.

Role-playing activities

The task for the PO group is to brainstorm interesting and attractive ways for learning service design methodologies. Meanwhile, the designer group can identify the flaws in my current framework design and discuss solutions.

Findings from the studio workshop

PO group:

  • Want celebrities in Taiwan to film videos to teach how to use collaboration toolkits
  • Want to visit other digital governments to know the trends and importance of design methods.

Designer group:

  • Wondered about moving all activities to the same horizontal level to become a linear process.
  • Were confused about the up and down curves
  • Hope to use arrows to elaborate the direction of dash lines.

DESIGN OUTCOMES

Tangible framework making

The final outcome is printing each framework on the transparent film separately. In this way, Participation Officers (POs) can overlay the processes and learn the relationship between policy making and design processes in a tangible way. Moreover, POs can know that each decision making process has corresponding design activities and toolkits.


Iteration overview

This tangible toolkit involved five iterations. The third iteration is the linear version I came up with after the workshop. I received advice from professionals in open studio day and discussed the pros and cons between the linear and circle presentation of the framework. Because the design and collaboration process is not linear, and to avoid misleading the concept, I decided to keep my initial design, the circle version.

The initial design had three layers: problem-solving process, policy-making process, and civil collaboration process. After several discussion with the PDIS team, we decided to add one more layer, "collaboration toolkits overview"(iteration 5-2), to demonstrate when the toolkits can be used. Due to how PDIS keeps designing and improving toolkits, the last layer, the collaboration toolkits overview, needs to be changed as new tools come up.

As the future consideration, experts mention that the real policy-making process is messy and complicated. It would be helpful to provide case studies with this framework so that participants can understand the usage of collaboration toolkits in a realistic way.

Takeaways

Cultivating design culture is a process of alternation of generation and needs a wide range of stakeholders and a multidisciplinary team. Presently, we only have three designers at PDIS and this is a challenge for designers and PDIS to build the design culture in the government. We need more time, collaborators and patience to embed service design in the government.

The other important finding is that three things need to be considered in government design practice: certainty of social good, social justice and democratic purpose (Information interview with Audrey Tang, 2019). As a designer making an effort to create social innovation, it’s difficult to include these three components perfectly. On the contrary, they usually conflict with each other and as public workers we only can find the balance to make the best decision.