Designing Positive Measures for the Public Sector

Written by: Jolene Dilny, Edited by: Nilufer Erdebil


The Official Languages Act, Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) has long since been providing services and programs to support the Official Languages Minority Communities (OLMC) across Canada to help promote economic vitality to foster a sense of community.

OLMC’s refers to English speaking individuals who reside within Québec and French speaking individuals residing outside of Québec. These communities represent a significant portion of the Canadian population that live in a community where services in their mother tongue are essential for encouraging a sense of belonging, cultural identity, growth and contribution to society.

PSPC identified the need to review their current positive measures and enhance performance indicators to assess their impact on the OLMC’s. An added challenge to this request was that PSPC had resource constraints for accomplishing this task.

Various stakeholders and representatives of the OLMC’s came together for two Design Thinking workshops.  Participants engaged with Design Thinking strategies where they were encouraged to unleash personal creativity by drawing the meaning of positive measures in order to understand how to measure them to reveal their impact. This was extremely helpful in getting to know one another better and breaking down barriers amongst the organizations and government representatives.

By building personas and using the brainstorming technique, stakeholders could empathize with their clients understand better what the end-user would feel, hear, see while using PSPC’s services. Four personas were developed to better understand each type of end client’s challenges so, services and positive measures could be added and enhanced to better meet their needs.
One of the positive outcomes and key measurements of the Design Thinking approach for the OLMC programs offered by PSPC is the level of collaboration and partnerships formed between organizations to reach the end goal of the client. During the plenary session, two PSPC stakeholders that were not directly involved in the OLMC services realized that by working collaboratively, they could solve one of the basic challenges facing the OLMC communities. Additionally, another result of the brainstorming sessions was increasing understanding and awareness of the current tools, like the Hotel Card. The project owners were blown away by the amount of information that came out of the sessions.
Design Thinking helped stakeholders to identify and solve their challenges, helped them get to their goals and meet their needs all while keeping the end citizen in mind and what they wanted to achieve.