process + methods
Using Data and Design to Transform City Government
The Baltimore i-team uses data science and human-centered design to develop solutions to Baltimore's biggest challenges. During the problem framing process, the i-team uses surveys, interviews, observations, focus groups and workshops, as well as quantitative data, to discover and understand the problem from a range of perspectives. This data is then synthesized into actionable research findings from which the team then begins to build solutions. First, the team generates a wide set of ideas that could address each research finding. This is done through workshops and exercises with key stakeholders. The most appropriate and viable of these solutions are then prototyped into robust ideas, and then implemented. During implementation, these solutions are iterated and refined to best serve the City of Baltimore and its citizens.
Figure 1: i-teams use a human-centered research and design process
Smart use of data has revolutionized many industries and government agencies. Some city governments struggle to fully harness the power of data due to challenges such as outdated systems or lack of capacity to determine how data could be used to problem-solve. Our team uses data science to extract as much insight as possible from data, and builds data tools that can inform and improve government services.
Human-centered design is an approach to design that centers users in the research and design of services, products, strategies, systems and experiences. We use human-centered design to ensure that the things we make in the government are effective and efficient for citizens.
Change management refers to tools and approaches that enable individuals and organizations to successfully go through change. We use change management to support our colleagues in city government to work with stakeholders and processes in ways that enable the effective and sustainable implementation of new initiatives.
Behavioral science expertise informs our data-driven strategies by providing behavioral insights that can become design "nudges" that encourage people to modify their behavior in positive ways.
The i-team guides implementation of its initiatives through project management: aggressive goal-setting and timeline management, iterative planning and prioritization of tasks and frequent communication and check-ins with our stakeholders. This allows the i-team to quickly troubleshoot any issues that may arise and stall progress, ensure the fulfillment of goals and targets and nimbly incorporate adjustments for the most successful initiatives.