This case concerns one of the earliest attempts by design thinkers at designing a large, complex system. It shows that design approaches in the public sector can look back at a long history. And it reveals how design thinking within the organization must include members of the whole organization in the design process.
The idea of citizen involvement is as old as the concept of democracy itself. But instead of collaborating with public representatives, civic initiatives are working more and more against the governmental sector. This is also reflected in a German word that has been recently coined: “Wutbürger” (literally: “enraged citizen”).
The Ministry of Manpower’s Work Pass Division (WPD) used design thinking as a tool to develop better ways to support foreigners who choose Singapore as a destination to live, work and set up businesses. The case reveals: Design thinking can potentially transform the perception and meaning of public service.