Introducing the US Government's Department of Design!

Photo by Daniel Lombardi

Photo by Daniel Lombardi

Okay, so clearly the title of this post is a mere pipe dream at this point, but what if there was a centralized innovation center that helped prototype new services and programs throughout the federal government?

With the recent stalemate over the passing of the budget, it makes me wonder — why does it always have to be an all or nothing negotiation?

Let's be honest, nobody can say for sure whether the universal healthcare program will be a success. But what I do know is that with the number of years we've spent debating the issue, attempting to pass laws and now spending $20B in the last few weeks to shutdown the government, we could have performed a number of experiments in the marketplace to test our key assumptions around the healthcare law. Really, this goes for any program or service that Congress attempts to pass.

At Peer Insight, we encourage our clients to get their ideas into the marketplace as soon as possible, to begin to understand their customers' reactions, behaviors and needs. We believe that this learning process is the best way to make tough decisions, as opposed to debating opinions in a conference room. When you test your ideas with your users, it's the customers that make decisions, not the executives or their biases. 

Everyday there is more and more innovation happening within the government. We, ourselves, have worked with many public sector clients, and internal innovation units are springing up everywhere in the federal government (like OPM's Innovation Lab). I have high hopes for the future of the innovation in government but my wishes will not be completely fulfilled until we establish the Department of Design!

What are your thoughts? How might we instill a prototyping philosophy in the federal government? 

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