human-centered design + mindfulness

Toronto's Civic Innovation Office

I helped align senior officials to lay the foundation for Toronto's new Civic Innovation Office. I introduced modern research and design methods to scope the team's priority projects and develop an innovation process.

An Open Call to City Staff

Our first action was to post an open call asking the entire City of Toronto staff to help us define our scope. We read and scored 150+ submissions to narrow to a short list of projects most likely to directly impact residents of the city while also inspiring internal organizational development. Next, I planned and facilitated a playful design thinking exercise where we synthesized top-scoring submissions into meaningful thematic priorities to focus our work.


Defining Process and Strategy

The leadership level of government involves complex agendas, budgets, and conflict. I applied research methods and design thinking to align influential political, bureaucratic, and philanthropic stakeholders. I used survey research and subject matter expert interviews to narrow our focus and get a priority project approved by senior leadership of the city. My final contribution was a well-defined innovation process which puts residents first: an ambitious application of human-centered design process to the realities of local government.


Teaching the Government to Work Lean

The process diagram above includes countless insights about how to apply lean, agile, and human-centered processes to government. Yet perhaps the best example of bringing a lean approach to government might lie in how I produced the team's website. I facilitated a few collaborative workshops and we put up the website using SquareSpace, getting it online and approved in only 1 week at 1/10th the original budget, including wireframing and an unmoderated usability test.