Local, state and federal governments around the world are integrating digital government models in an effort to serve more constituents more effectively, in new and improved ways. Hennepin County, Minnesota, which includes the city of Minneapolis, has been working with Azul Seven for more than five years to bring innovation and a human-centered mentality to its digital government transition.

Redesigning Hennepin County’s main website was the first step. While successful digital government initiatives require more than just good websites, they are the point of entry for most constituents and need to be done right. Digital gov websites go beyond just marketing public services and information. With good design and backend support, these sites give constituents and staff the option of initiating government-related tasks online.

Azul Seven led Hennepin County through a human-centered design process to truly understand when and how constituents wanted to engage with government services. Together we researched and created the digital designs to deliver on the convenience and efficiency made possible with digital government models. After finishing the main Hennepin County website, we completed a series of other human-centered design projects to bring further innovation to the way the county delivers services. Those projects included:

Hennepin County Library Website

A full redesign of the site reimagined how people access the library catalog in a digital environment and promoted engagement with other library services.

Metropolitan Health Plan (MHP) (now Hennepin Health)

Redesign of a web interface to increase healthcare accessibility for underserved populations.

Green Disposal Guide & Choose to Reuse

Redesign of two distinct sustainability web resources to improve usability for county residents and staff.

Red Door

Redesign to improve the digital and mobile UX for a public health clinic providing sexual health care to the community.

Dashboard Strategy Tree

Design of an online dashboard for county administration, board members and the public, highlighting key performance indicators across both operational and strategic metrics.

 

Through the course of these projects and others, our relationship with Hennepin County broadened as their confidence in human-centered design grew. In time we began advising them on how to build their own internal innovation team for human-centered design. We helped define roles and team structures, and we trained staff members in design thinking. As this team has taken on more innovation work, Azul Seven has provided additional consulting to provide educational tools, guidance and support, as needed.

Hennepin County is still in the early stages of shifting to digital government service models. But together we’ve built a strong foundation and internal capacity for creating innovative solutions. Our work together continues to grow as we recently began introducing the county’s innovation team to the practice of biomimicry. A biomimicry pilot project for service design aims to improve communication with immigrants moving into Hennepin County by studying how other ecosystems in nature successfully integrate new arrivals.

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