For the most part, government products and services are designed to benefit the public at large. Therefore, it is important to understand and consider the “customer” (here, the public’s) needs in designing and conducting innovation. This concept is called “Human Centered Design” (HCD), which involves the following:
Take the time to define and understand the customer you're trying to reach.
Measure your customer's journey through your program, project, product, or initiative and always seek to improve the customer experience.
Questions to Ask
Who are your customers and what are their primary concerns?
How can you communicate with your customers to obtain information and measure the urgency of needs? How can you remain within bounds of federal requirements like the Paperwork Reduction Act?
How do I keep the focus on your customer?
What steps can you take to improve the focus of your solution?
Are your solutions addressing the customer’s needs or your own idea of a best product?
Are your solutions one-size-fits-all or do they need to be customized?
What does the customer think of your product or service? How can you measure the user experience?
How can you assemble a diverse and representative sample of customers to engage?
How have the implemented solutions affected your customer?
Define your “customer.” Who is the audience your product or service intends to reach?
Group customers and develop personas to hypothesize about your customers’ needs.
Create interview questions and interview the customer to determine what their needs are and how your product or service can best improve their experience. When in doubt, ask the customer.
Ask “what if” questions to test your assumptions.
Brainstorm ideas based on your interviews. Share stories with your team to inspire their ideation.
Design solutions to address your customer’s primary needs.
Test the solutions with your customer. Solicit and implement their feedback.
Continue refining your product or service based on customer feedback (iterate!)