Today’s political landscape poses complex challenges to democracies on planet earth. Values, principals and beliefs are the intersection that public service, policy and design have long shared. Design Leaders continue to take center stage and are playing a critical role in framing National, State and city civic problems, facilitating policy discussions, crafting authentic narratives for the 2020 presidential candidates in the United States and building more inclusive infrastructure, platforms and tools needed to make our open source, democratic, future ideals a reality.
Moore's Law caught democracies by surprise. During the digitization (Internet 1.0 - 1990s) and digital transformation (Internet 2.0 - 2000s) of society and industry, democratic laws and government run systems of record across the globe aged and fell whoa-fully fell behind the adoption of its constituents of Internet 3.0 (2010s Mobile & Social) behaviors. As the connected era (Industry 4.0) is upon us, these systems often stand as a bureaucratic barrier for citizens attempting to engage with their governments. Older laws, requirements and business rules often contain systematic exclusion of under represented communities and sow distrust in "establishment" government. This has left citizens of democracies yearning for a systematic reinvention of government for a hyper connected century designed to serve individuals, communities and nations equally with the ease of a voice command or touch a screen.
Civic Media and technology are now core parts of engagement with government.
In 2012, the United Kingdom Government Digital teams launched a beta of Gov.uk ,a single point of access to Her Majesty's Government services. In the United Kingdom The Government Digital Service (GDS) is part of the Cabinet Office and stands as on of one of the great unsung triumphs of the David Cameron's last Parliament. In 2014, The United States launched The United States Digital Service (USDS). It has since completed more than 100 projects, improving how the federal government serves Americans – including veterans, small business owners, and every day families.
Award Worthy Public Service Design
Designers have stepped up and played a pivotal role in empathetically approaching the dynamic relationships between communities, ecologies of media, technology, and the nature of image building, information and power. In 2013 Gov.uk won a number of design awards inclusive of the D&AD coveted black pencil.
Systems designers, designers and design technologists, must now collaborate with legislators and civil servants in agile teams to reinvent government with and eye towards 21st century media and data ethics, security and user experiences that inspire civic engagement for the people.
Public Service Design Works In Progress
From new ideas about connected community policing, to orchestrating step change in health care and education, to registering new voters, governmental data visualization, to eliminating biases in our democratic systems of governing, "democratic" or open source service design is shaping policy of how we re-engineer democracy to a fairer future.
Whether designers are choosing to uphold values by committing to removing friction from our voting mechanisms, to fair compensation, diversity in the workplace or acting as an engine for hot takes in the social and political media, driven by the 24-hour-a-day news cycle of network TV, design has moved from merely branding campaigns to composing values driven policies and everything in between.
The next generation of democratic leaders knows they can use emerging technology like AR, VR, Blockchain, Cryptocurrency and Ai to improve their government. But now we must demand and orchestrate change to see the potential realized.
What are the design initiatives that are inspiring your civic actions?
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The Maestros To Monitor
- The EU Policy Lab
- Center for American Politics and Design
- AIGA Design & Politics
- Center For Civics Design
- Ethics of Design
- Curry Stone Foundation
- Candace Faber
- Kamala Harris - For The People | Fun 404 Pages
- Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
- Elizabeth Warren
- Pete For America
- Blue State Digital Tools
- Algorithmic Justice League
- The Audacious Project
- The Digital Services Act
- Open Policing Project
- Open Seattle
- Open Data Day
- The Civic Tech Field Guide
- Public Interest Tech Job Boards
Sources & Related Articles
- What Is Civic Technology?
- Election design tools and resources
- For Designers, the Next Political Move is Turning Words Into Action
- The women running for president are breaking the rules of branding
- Progressive women are wearing white. They should wear purple and yellow, too
- Developing Citizen Designers
- Designing an Operating System for Democracy
- The 2020 Candidates Have Discovered How to Make Funny 404 Pages
- What campaign design reveals about the race to 2020
- Harris Introduces Legislation to Jumpstart Digital Innovation in Government
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