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Jan 25, 2019 22:18:27

Why I'm writing my #publicbook Public Design FAQs

by @jasonleow | 575 words | 221πŸ”₯ | 259πŸ’Œ

Jason Leow

Current day streak: 221πŸ”₯
Total posts: 259πŸ’Œ
Total words: 104015 (416 pages πŸ“„)

Background: As an experiment, I'm writing my ebook Public Design FAQs in public, on the 200wad platform. It's a complete field guide to the best practices, strategies, tactics, tips and hacks to using human-centred design approaches in the public sector. Read the book here as it's written, 200 words at a time.

Why am I writing this ebook? 

I'd always thought when it comes to using design-driven innovation in the public sector, there was a gap between explicit knowledge (books, blogposts, toolkits) and implicit knowledge (experience, intuition). Book and toolkits are useful, but they are fixed in time and space once they are published, but often there's specific situations where the toolkit doesn't quite address, but there's no recourse to ask questions about it, or how to be adaptive. I often found the best gems of experiential wisdom from speaking directly to expert practitioners, asking questions and exchanging ideas. Somehow, the fluidity of the conversation allows these practice gems to be drawn out. If you're a practitioner in other fields (like say counselling, sports, craft of some sort), then you know what I'm saying. There's nothing quite like seeing and speaking to a master craftsman in action, being able to interact with the deep experience in his/her head. That's more powerful than any book you can read about him/her. I hope that by writing Public Design FAQs, we can capture capture implicit knowledge and make it explicit, legible and enduring, and from that, grow experiential wisdom in the practice of design in government.

β€œThe act of invention may simply be making conscious, explicit, and regular what has been done for a considerable time unconsciously or by accident.” - Elting Morrison in Men, Machines, and Modern Times

I also hope to put everything I know into this one place. I'd worked as a designer at the intersection of design and the public good for over 7 years now. I had been inspired by the citizens I spoke to, in issues such as disability, employment, housing, grants, public transport, and digital government. I'm absolutely bursting with war stories I wish to share, if not for others, at least for myself. No denying in a completely selfish way that writing this ebook will be super cathartic.  

But along the way, I also wish to contribute something back to community. I'd benefited from many of the cool resources, toolkits and content that's been generously available out there on the internet. I literally built my career off tools from forerunners like IDEOnesta and Behavioural Insights Team. I even built a directory site Public Design Vault last year to collate all these cool tools I came across. So this ebook is but a continuation of all these benefactors who can helped me along the way. My way of paying it forward.


Lastly, I had wrote about it in the previous post that I wanted this ebook to be an experiment - a book like a software product that can be co-created and iterated, launched as a MVP, and updated even after that. I wanted "walk to write this book based on the very principles of design and making process itself - radical transparency, co-creation, iteration and lean startup. It's be fun to develop this ever-growing resource of practice wisdom that keeps giving back to every designer or public sector manager who's just starting out in design for social impact.

Next: why should you listen to me anyway?

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