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I joined FutureGov’s design team in Australia in 2017. My first few months were a bit of a whirlwind, from designing our Lend A Hand accessible public transport service to delivering human-centred design training to NGOs.

Where were you before you joined FutureGov?

I was a freelance consultant working with a global travel company on an end-to-end redesign of their ecosystem of websites and booking services. I also worked with a water utilities organisation to design the user interface of a new consumer-facing mobile app.

Prior to that, I was at the NSW Department of Education working in the communications and engagement team. We were creating a new single online destination for all things education in NSW for students, parents, teachers, and administrators. This included developing a comprehensive experience framework and pattern library to help the department create and maintain best practice digital content. …

Over the last few months, my colleagues and I have been talking a lot about what it means to redesign public services with impactful outputs and outcomes. Where I work at FutureGov, this means redesigning things at the organisation, service, or product levels (usually some combination of the three).

However it’s become increasingly common to be asked to downplay the product—and by extension, digital—conversation. Public servants and people who work with communities seem to have grown to dislike the term ‘digital’ and are trying to disassociate themselves from it. With stories like these, who can blame them?

The word itself has become dirty and unsavoury to some people in the public sector. ‘Digital’ is seen as technocratic and represents an app-for-everything type of approach to problem-solving. Digital gets in the way of providing services to citizens. To be digital is to be technology-led, not human-centred. …


Calvin Chong

UX designer, organiser of things, occasional pundit.

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