Five Governance Collab Prototypes

many small light bulbs equal big oneAfter delineating the variables to explore in our prototypes, Jeremy and I combined them in different ways to come up with five possible models for the Governance Collaboratory:

  • The Consultancy: outsiders team with a client to address a broadly defined problem.  A consultancy model for the Collab could take two forms: a governance innovator embedded in a team of individuals with relevant expertise but who do not work directly with the innovator, or extracting the problem altogether with a design team strictly of outsiders.
  • The Innovation Partner: an innovation partner model would have the Collab work with design teams composed of individuals from organizations to address the governance challenges they face.  We are particularly interested in understanding the relevance of this model for innovations within government institutions.
  • The Incubator: here the input is an established team of individuals with a concrete idea.  We felt it was particularly important to test this model given our emphasis on evaluating the impact of our innovator’s interventions, which implies it’s not just the idea that matters, but also the ability of a team to implement.
  • The Fellowship: a fellowship structure is at the root of our original Collab concept, where we bring an individual innovator to Stanford for a residency period.  The composition of the fellow’s design team and allocation of time between Stanford and the field could take various forms.
  • The Course: the course model is well developed at the d.school, where students work on project with real world partners.  Design for Extreme Affordability and Designing for Liberation Technologies are two particularly analogous courses, where student teams work with partners from around the world on issues related to poverty and economic development.

We are planning five prototypes which will test each of these models.  Over the winter quarter, we are facilitating 2-3 short design projects to test the consultancy, innovation partner, and incubator frameworks.  The projects will center around a concrete governance challenge faced by a local innovator, with different compositions of design teams.  Over the course of the experience, the teams will engage in the entire human centered design process, including spending time in the field conducting empathy work and testing prototypes with users.  These short projects will be conducted entirely in the innovator’s local environment: Kenya, South Africa, and a third TBD country.

In the spring quarter we will turn our attention to Stanford-based prototypes for the fellowship and course models.  We are working with one of the Center for Democracy, Development, and Rule of Law’s Social Entrepreneurs in Residence to experiment with a fellowship model.  In conjunction, we are offering a prototype course tentatively titled Disrupting Governments with Design Thinking (interested students, please apply!  We’ll post a course description and link to the application next week).

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