Digital Transformation - change in the social system
Digitalisation - change in the technical systems
Debriefing and reframing
Upon receiving the brief, we dived deep into the concepts of digitisation, digitalisation and digital transformation. We also researched digital transformation in the public sector and case studies from other countries. We ensured we had a shared understanding of the brief and next steps. Our understanding of the brief, the reframing, planning and other aspects were then discussed with the client during a debriefing presentation to ensure expectations of all stakeholders were well-managed.
After having a firm understanding of digitisation, digitalisation and digital transformation concepts and an overview of the secondary research, we deduced that we need first to take a step back to understand:
1. About the organisational enablers and barriers to digital transformation in the municipalities.
2. Needs, motivations, context and pain points of municipality workers.
Municipality of Haarlem
VNG (Association of Netherlands Municipalities)
Service Design, Strategic Design, Organisation Design
There is a need to accelerate digital transformation efforts in municipalities to keep up with the changing contexts. The political organisation of the Netherlands, being a decentralised unitary state, gives local governments significant autonomy over decisions relating to the use of technology in local public services. Such autonomy can inspire a constructive dialogue of different approaches to digital transformation, but the lack of coordination might also lead to distinct solutions being developed in local silos. To address this gap in the ecosystem, our brief was to explore ways to unite Dutch Municipalities over a shared vision for digital transformation.
1. Designed a platform called "Transformation Hub". The hub has three objectives:
Onboarding - An interactive journey to engage the people who don't understand the importance of change and transformation and make it accessible and relatable to them.
Transformation Map of Netherlands - After the employee is onboarded, they move to a map highlighting existing transformation projects across municipalities. Here we create an awareness of existing transformation efforts and offer the opportunity to engage, learn and collaborate with others
Resources - In this section, people can find resources to educate themselves and read and save colleagues' articles.
2. Designed a service journey map outlining a concept for a mentorship program where the youth can mentor municipality workers about transformation, design and technology. This would lead to an increase in citizen participation and new ways of relating to each other and working together ('do-ocracy'). The ultimate goal is to help municipalities realise that in a time of transformative transitions our institutions must transform too.
3. Facilitated design sprints and workshops with municipality workers to deliver training on transformation design and agile working methods to municipality employees and designed a Transformation Toolkit. Reach out to access the toolkit.
The only designer on the team
Raising awareness about digital transformation and innovation in the Dutch Municipalities through a reverse mentorship program
1. Since the scope and timeframe of the project didn't let us diver deeper, I continued to explore more about transformation in the Public Sector and regularly presented my insights to the Municipality of Haarlem's Innovation Department. This helped the Innovation Department evolve its design practice and get buy-in from the leadership.
Designed digital transformation strategies for the Municipality of Haarlem.
2. Many municipality workers started advocating for a culture of experimentation in municipalities, empowering the transformation of tools, processes and mindsets for sustainable impact.
3. Developed design capabilities in the municipality workers. They now run their own design projects and sprints.
Research and insights
Once the design brief was agreed upon, in-depth research was carried out. This included interviewing various municipality employees from all over the Netherlands and multiple co-design workshops.
We synthesised our insights and validated them through an alignment workshop. Three key insights stood out -
Lack of education and awareness about innovation and digital transformation.
Fear of change and transformation.
Lack of a coherent understanding of the role of municipalities for their citizens.
Understanding Resistance to Change and Fear of Innovation
With the scope and timeframe, we had along with stakeholder conversations we decided to focus on designing to address two cultural barriers - resistance to change and fear of innovation.
We tried to understand the resistance to change and fear of innovation through desk research and co-design sessions. In our desk research, we came across many change management models. After researching some of them, we decided to adopt the ADKAR model for the context of our problem.
For our design solution and scope of the problem, we chose to focus on awareness, desire and knowledge.
Concept 2 - Transformation Hub
1. Onboarding - An interactive journey to engage the people who don't understand the importance of change and transformation and make it accessible and relatable to them.
2. Transformation Map of The Netherlands - After the employee is onboarded, they move to a map highlighting existing transformation projects across municipalities. Here we create an awareness of existing transformation efforts and offer the opportunity to engage, learn and collaborate with others
3. Resources - In this section, people can find resources to educate themselves and read and save colleagues' articles..
We designed a detailed onboarding journey for the municipality workers with a relevant local context as an example for change, transformation and innovation. Click play!
Design Drivers and Ideation Workshop
With the recognised pain points in mind, we articulated all our learnings and findings and converted them into design drivers for the ideation workshop. The drivers guided the ideation of the final concept. By brainstorming individually and then discussing everyone’s ideas, we weighed the different alternatives and systematically decided the structure and the content for the mentorship programme and the transformation hub.
Ideation workshop setup on miro
Concept 1 - Mentorship program service journey map
The service journey map illustrates the whole process of the programme, including the 8 main steps from “planning” to “continuity”. It covers the roles of both mentors and mentees, but also those of the cities (programme organiser/coordinator) and Dutch Municipalities.
In a constantly changing context, what is the role of municipalities? What kind of institutions will municipalities have to become in order to become resilient and adapt to a changing context?