Fairly articulate mammal

Friday, April 19, 2019

Design thinking and making things better

I work at the City of Austin’s Office of Design & Delivery. We recently designed a new website and form for police oversight.

The form gives people a chance to lodge complaints, of course. However, it also offers a chance to recognize officers who are doing good work. By making it easy for people to give feedback, we encourage input.

I just learned that an officer earned recognition from the department for having gone above what was expected in handling a recent sexual assault case. The survivor felt that the officer was excellent in really listening and helping her feel supported and safe to talk about what had happened. She felt that way strongly enough that she took time to fill out the feedback form, which is remarkable.

Everybody knows this approach hasn’t always been the case for how these kinds of cases have been handled (everywhere).

The chain of feedback has been significantly shortened. The officer got that positive feedback quickly. This creates a virtuous circle for the department, pushing back harder and sooner for negative behavior, and giving due credit sooner and better for officers doing good work.

Proud to be working there. This is part of how the world gets better.

Here’s my recent blog post regarding the form we built and the design thinking that informed it: