https://designnotes.blog.gov.uk/2017/12/11/growing-the-international-design-in-government-community/

Growing the International Design in Government community

A woman at a laptop with a mobile phone
Kara on a recent international call

Back in February we wrote about our intention to set up an international design in government community.

Ten months on and we now have more than 250 people from 37 countries in the community. There are members from D5 digitally advanced member countries: Israel, New Zealand and United Kingdom. And there is a large representation from Australia, Canada, Finland and the United States of America.

There is a variety of roles represented in the community. We have service designers, UX designers, design directors, content designers, user researchers and product managers.

The community is for people working in any government across design, user research, content design and accessibility. The purpose of the community is to learn from each other, ask questions, share design patterns and best practice, and discuss shared problems so that we can try and work on them together.

We started off by creating a Google group and quickly set up a Slack team too for people who prefer it. We also have monthly calls so that people in the group can talk to each other.

The things we’ve discussed

Every month we organise a call on a specific topic. So far, we’ve discussed:

  • building design capability in government
  • design mindsets – how to help others learn and adapt a design mindset in your organisation
  • licensing and permit service patterns
  • measuring good services and good service design

On our recent call, we had the UK government and Scottish government share work on service patterns.

Polly Jones, service designer at the UK Department for Environment Food & Rural Affairs gave a presentation on service patterns related to licensing and permitting services. Lesley Allen, transformation manager at the Scottish Government, shared a show-and-tell on an alpha project on licensing and grants.

The call was really insightful, with designers from Finland, Portugal, the United States, and Canada asking questions and learning from Polly and Leslie’s experiences.

A screen reading 'standardise data to make it comparable'
A recent presentation

Next steps for the community

The organisations represented in the community are all at different stages in their design maturity. Some community members are the only designer on their team, some are the only designer in a department, and some are struggling to move their organisation from design thinking to design doing.

There are different structures represented too, from mandated digital departments like Canadian Digital Service, consultancy models like 18F, and innovation labs like Portugal’s LabX.

As a community, there are people who have experienced different stages of design. And who are set up in different ways. This means we can all learn from each other’s experiences and help each other move design in government forward.

Now that we’ve established the community, we’re working on making it a valuable resource for designers across governments by sharing common service patterns and best practice.

Join the community

Over the next few months we plan to address topics such as design patterns, design and policy, and how people start out in design positions in government.

If you work in design, content, user research or accessibility in any government across the world and you’d like to join the community, please apply to join the Google group.

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