Does the power of big data combined with location awareness result in our being supported by butlers or harassed by stalkers? There’s a fine line (or perhaps not such a fine line) between being helpful and being intrusive. Quite where it will be drawn is a function of commercial incentives, consumer responses and legal constraints (not least the new GDPR). In the public sector, the balance of those forces may well be different, but versions of the same factors will be in play. All of that, of course, is ultimately based on how we answer the question of whose data it is in the first place and whether we will switch much more to sharing state information rather than the underlying data.
Is user-centred digital government unstoppable? At one level the answer must be yes, we live in an increasingly digital environment and government is not and cannot be immune to that. Digital is well on the way to just being the substrate for how things get done. But just as twentieth century governments could be good at managing paper without necessarily being good at using it to communicate clearly and efficiently, so doing things digitally does not immediately imply doing them well. This post argues the positive case, that we are beyond the tipping point where ideas about rapid, responsive service design have a sufficient life – and strength – of their own to transcend the vagaries of individual leaders and services.
This is a good simple and succinct description of what user research is and why it matters. It draws out the critical point that user wants are not necessarily a good indicator of user needs, not least because what matters in the end is not (or is not just) the immediate interaction, but the success of the underlying service in delivering the right outcomes.