Building capacity for design thinking in government institutions to improve experience and innovativeness of business support services.
Investment and Development Agency of Latvia (LIAA) is a governmental institution tasked with responsibility for increasing export and competitiveness of Latvian companies, facilitating foreign investment and implementing tourism development and innovation policies. As such, LIAA understands the value of innovative approaches and constantly aims to improve their own services too. Design thinking is a framework approach for identifying and serving the needs of end users, focusing on standards of desirability, utility, and usability. In order to increase the quality and efficiency of public services, reduce administrative burden and make support services more compelling for entrepreneurs, investors and innovators, LIAA has decided to equip a cohort of their staff with design thinking skills.
Design Thinking Course was a cross-departmental training project that included practical learning of multiple design thinking techniques, in order for employees to be able to use them in their daily work in the future.
The course consisted of three two-day sessions, during which lecturers introduced the following topics: understanding of the design process, ideation, prototyping and testing with users, and implementation. Apart from developing new skills, the training resulted also in improvement of the existing processes and fresh ideas on what can be done differently in the future.
One person from LIAA to prepare and coordinate implementation of the course. The training fee was covered from the budget of the institution as part of organisational development.
Evidence of success
- Employees had the opportunity to develop knowledge in design thinking;
- Stronger collaboration between departments;
- Improved project application form into innovation voucher program taking into account the views of respondents (interviews were made during process);
- Developed new format of event based on suggestions from colleagues from other departments.
Difficulties in taking account recommendations from involved parties due to regulatory framework. For example, entrepreneurs recommend simplifying the procedure to receive support under the innovation voucher program. Within the institution, it is a lack of time and putting aside other jobs.
Potential for learning or transfer
It is an opportunity to get a “fresh insight” in existing processes and problems and to unite the collective. Stakeholders provide good and experience-based recommendations for improving institutional processes. It is also a way of improving the regulatory framework in future.