Becoming a Citizen-Centered City
The City of Gainesville hired IDEO to utilize design thinking to identify how it could become a more competitive citizen-centered city. A citizen-centered city is a more competitive one. It attracts the very best businesses, citizens, and ideas; A city that helps, celebrates and guides its citizens... then gets out of their way so they can get on with making Gainesville an even greater place to live and work.
It’s a one-stop-shop for starting or growing a business, powered by the people of Gainesville. The experts who work there help you solve problems. The paperwork speaks your language. It comes with a less-talk- more-action approach to permitting, zoning and compliance. And is backed by a city that believes in your business as much as you do. All in one place.
We introduced a new way of working, a new role to engage the community. Action Officers are your guide to getting things done in the city of Gainesville. Their job is to help you leap over hurdles, glide through red tape, and slay prickly problems. They’re experts in empathy, pros in networking, and know first-hand what it takes make things happen in Gainesville.
tools and experiences prototyped with the community
A service blueprint, see below, connects the dots between new or redesigned signature interactions and user needs, so they come together as one seamless service experience. When creating new tools and resources for citizens, it’s critical to situate them in the larger citizen experience. How will they hear about the service and find it? How does using it integrate into their life? What are the moments that matter the most?
The team created a service blueprint for the new Department of Doing to illustrate the broader landscape of starting a business in Gainesville. It was more than just obtaining permits and licenses, it was an entire journey that began with dreaming up the new business idea, celebrating opening day, and running it for years to come.
Because the team was designing for the public, we chose to design in public. We engaged the Gainesville community as co-designers in the work, to bring more perspectives to the problems we were trying to solve and the solutions we generated. But just as importantly, we saw engaged citizens as critical stakeholders in helping to bring the designs to life. From the outset of the project, the team organized itself in a storefront in downtown Gainesville, giving us visibility to passers-by and proximity to a wide variety of participants for research, concepting, and workshops.
Throughout the project we held regular open house events to share our work and get feedback on our design directions. Gainesville citizens played the roles of research participants, subject-matter experts, co-designers, and prototypes, infusing their perspectives every step of the way.
Prototypes make an idea tangible, and the best ones are rough enough that users can see the potential. Too polished, and users tend to focus on its flaws. The team created lightweight, paper-based Journey Cards and an Assessment Tool early on to get critical feedback on the overall direction. From there, we created an entire mock experience of interacting with the Department of Doing — service scripts, signature interactions, and refined versions of the early tools.
Successful business owners and city staff played the roles of new Action Officers. Would-be new business owners brought real scenarios for the prototype Department of Doing to solve. The team gained valuable insight into what adjustments needed to be made to make the new Department of Doing viable, and what elements were most important to its potential new users.