In what is claimed to mark an important milestone in the public-service transformation journey, the Royal Civil Service Commission (RCSC) and Temasek Foundation International, Singapore launched the Design Thinking Guidebook yesterday.

The guidebook for Bhutan would ensure easy and sustainable use of design thinking methods, which is a culmination of many months of learning, applying and adapting the human-centered methodology and repertoires of tools.

Design thinking was introduced during the ‘Design Thinking for Public Sector Innovation Programme’ from June 2016 to June 2017 to foster citizen-centric mind-set, and to embrace creativity and change in public sector, the press release states. The design thinking would help generate innovative solutions to improve efficiency, quality, productivity, and user satisfaction.

Industries officer with economic affairs Sonam Lhamo, one of the master trainers, said that design thinking is a new human-centric concept of looking at or solving a problem.

“When you create or design certain services for the users, the citizens, there are lots of collaboration in design thinking,” Sonam Lhamo said. “You’ve to involve your citizens and their problems and empathise with them. This is what design thinking is.”

She said design thinking is a way to drive innovation and public service because citizens’ expectation from government keeps increasing.

“We’re conducting a cascade of workshops on design thinking so that the concept is introduced to the citizens,” she said. For instance, she explained that, if the government is looking into solving traffic congestions, until and unless it involves the users, it couldn’t come up with a plan that understands the problem of users.

An associate lecturer at Royal Institute of Management, Chonga Zangpo who was involved in framing the guidebook, said the book is to facilitate more design thinking practitioners in public service innovation with the five components, from studying to engaging the system.

“We’re hoping that in the public sector, the guidebook would help bring them innovative ideas to solve issues and provide the services required,” he said. “This book can also go into other sectors too.”

The guidebook is expected to equip design-thinking practitioners to work on real projects by designing needs and solutions with communities to deeply understand the people.

The book consists of comprehensive set of methods, tools, and activities to help frame design challenges and get to the decision makers for implementation and users.

After training about 230 public service officers and leaders on the design thinking, 23 were further trained as master trainers. These master trainers developed the guidebook with support from Singapore Polytechnic International.

Sixty participants from different ministries, agencies, and dzongkhags are currently under going the second design thinking cascading workshop in Thimphu. The four-day workshop ends tomorrow.

Yangchen C Rinzin