Workshop: ‘Design thinking’ a concept that emphasises a human-centred way of solving problems within an office, across agencies and ministries will soon be introduced in the civil service and later, in various agencies.

This was followed after a 21-day intensive training on design thinking held among 50 participants from various government and non-government offices in Thimphu. The workshop ended yesterday.

The participants were divided into five groups. They presented their project to various stakeholders and facilitators. From the participants, 20 masters trainers were selected and they will train another 120 participants in the coming months.

Royal Civil Service Commission’s (RCSC) director, Tashi Pem, said through design thinking some of the pertinent issues faced by the civil service can be addressed.

“We want the civil servants to use this concept in bringing about innovation in the work place by looking at issues through the lens of design thinking and improve the service delivery system in the country. We also hope that people use this concept where behaviour and mindsets will change by using empathy in addressing the issues and finding solutions,” Tashi Pem said.

Consultant with Singapore Polytechnic International, Lee Chonghwa, also a facilitator, said the participants can bring back creativity and innovation to their agencies through the design thinking process.

“Design thinking focuses on a human centred way of solving problems not just from the policy perspective but from the user and citizen perspective. When they develop solutions, whether they develop policy, product or services, they do it with the understanding of where the needs are, how the citizens using this policy would impact and improve their lives,” Lee Chonghwa said.

“This is very important in terms of mindset and empathy. The other important mindset they develop through the concept is collaboration – not just collaborating within the team but across teams, agencies and ministries, which is very much needed in all governments.”

The training provided the platform to build this kind of spirit where the participants from different agencies and ministries worked and collaborated. Through this, they understand each agency’s perspective and bring the idea forward, Lee Chonghwa said.

Singapore Polytechnic started to implement the design thinking concept into their organisation as well as in  their curriculum in 2010. Singapore Polytechnic created their own framework on design thinking, which consisted of four phases; sense and sensibility, empathy, ideation and prototype with a clear focus on developing empathy as the end result.

The workshop was conducted by RCSC in collaboration with Temasek Foundation and Singapore Polytechnic International.

Thinley Zangmo