Autopilot becomes design thinking

Client: Netherlands Youth Institute
Year: 2019

Transition: From thinking for the target group to thinking from the target group.

Challenge: Making design thinking part of the work of the Netherlands Youth Institute.

Back to overview

"Through those 10 projects, the organisation learned more and more about design thinking and doing."

The Netherlands Youth Institute has ‘a basement full’ of knowledge products for professionals in youth care. Think checklists, protocols, manuals and step-by-step plans. Products that are simply used over and over again. But do they actually match the users’ needs? Indeed, do we actually know who the users are and whether they actually use the products? The Netherlands Youth Institute saw their inability to answer these questions as a growing problem. Hence, they asked DIG to make design thinking part of the organisation. We do this through the various projects we do with the institute. And by holding regular sessions where we evaluate the work.

Talking plate and audience research

New aldermen and councillors were always given a hefty ‘handout’ that quickly disappeared into the desk drawer. Until we asked them what they needed. It turned out that they were not familiar with the field and just wanted to get an overview first. So we designed a clear ‘talking plate’ for above the desk. Using the projects, DIG showed how to set up target group research. Which questions to ask to get the information you need. And that it is a good idea to approach your target group anyway to get to know them better.

Reflect, learn and adapt

Again with concrete projects like showed employees how to improve products by working iteratively. This involves testing, asking for reactions, adapting and asking for reactions again. This process of reflecting, learning and adapting thus naturally becomes more and more part of the working method of the Netherlands Youth Institute.