Anna's thoughts

Design Thinking and System design at University of Waterloo

Module 3 and 4 were very interesting because they were hands on approach. As a team we were supposed to create a policy and program that is linked to system design. As a group of four we were tasked to create a design system for university students that will enable them have timely access to the faculty members to improve their grades. We narrowed down our system design to be for third and forth year students at University of Waterloo. Our justification was that 3rd and 4th year students need more access to faculty members because they are more likely to write a thesis paper. We reached this decision after consulting former Waterloo undergraduate students and we gathered that accessing faculty in a timely manner was an issue to scheduling issues. Faculty members were usually available through their office hours such that if one is far away from the university he or she is more unlikely to find time to meet with a professor. We discussed how accessing faculty members depends on the size of the university. One of our team members cited how for her meeting with faculty members was not an issue since her university was so small that professors are most likely to know everybody by name. for me as a former student of York University we had a communication site called Moodle whereby students would chat on their own about the subject issues. The course director is also able to address question through this site and everyone could access the course director’s responses. However, if you happen to have personal issues you need to discuss with the professor you would have to conduct him or her during office hours. As a result, we suggest we create an App that would enable 3rd and 4th year students to see availability of different faculty members who are free to help with issues that might arise. Time availability will be updated by department administration, for example, the political science department would be responsible for updating the app with professors of that department’s availability. Student will book to meet with any professor who is available to help, and they will use their waterloo cards to access the lounge designed for this.

After these modules i realise how complicated design thinkiing and system design can be in creating a policy in a digital era. This is because a lot of issues need to be taken into consideration when designing this. this includes but not limited to human centred, inclusiveness and democratic. we will begin by making a prototype for the department of  social sciences using iterations for us to come up with the best product suitable for our users. this is important as a future public servant its is important to use iteration when making a prototype of a product so that you check usability at each stage.

"Totangira poyi?" meaning Where should we start from? he would sing in one of his songs. Zimbabwe has lost a music legend Oliver Mutukudzi, business man, philathronpist, human rights activists and a goodwill ambassor to UNICEF. his unwavering support for human rights will ever be missed, not forgetting his inspring and unique music. He was 66 years young. Tuku"s music has managed to inspire and appeal to many generations. I grew up listening to his music being played by my parents. One thing for sure with his music is that it never grow old, I can still enjoy and dance to his 1970s music. Each and his music contains rich Shona tradition lessons, idioms, proverbs and Shona sayings from it. I am inspired by a lot of his song but the one the resonate with me most as some one who is far away from home is Tumirai shoko. It is about how one misses home whilst in a foreign country. It is a personal blow to many Zim-Canadians as we would always anticipate to see Tuku at his unforgettable shows in Toronto. I remember one of his fans i know conducting his manager in 2018 asking whether Tuku is going to come and perform in Toronto and was told he is coming to Canada in 2019. We were all expecting him this year, not to mention my own daughter who couldnt attend his show the last time he came to Canada she was 18. Its the darkest our for all Zimbabweans. My heart goes out to his wife and family, may the chief comforter console  them. RIP Samanyanga! 

USER RESEARCH FOCUS

After module 2 I now understand how important user research is in digitization. The idea that User research is a study of who the users of a service are, how they behave and what their motivations for using the service are (Barber) I now know that user research is important for an organization to consistently deliver exceptional customer service. Usability testing is also important to check how effective is the service of app. It was interesting to find out how the University of Waterloo closures alert system is not user friendly for most of the University Waterloo services users. This is because it fails to satisfy the needs of a lot of users in terms of road or building closures notification in a way that affects their punctuality. For instance, the road closure due to street car testing leads to a lot of workers and students late. Module two is important when I am doing my coop because as a public policy servant, I have understood why usability testing is important in evaluating whether the service is going to provide the intended benefits to its users. Listening without bias is also important for the leader to make informed decisions. This is because when we listen, we get the right information rather than speculation. Finally, out of Lucia Hsieh’s 12 lesson about guerilla testing, the points that resonate with me are: Location of target audience is a factor for willingness to participate. That is if trying to do a guerilla testing at the mall people are less likely to agree to participate because they fear you might be trying to sell something to them. In addition, it is important to be confident when approaching potential users for credibility purposes. The third point that resonated with me is to be prepared for rejection so that it will not affect my confidence. All these are useful to me as a public servant in making sure the government delivers exceptional customer service. When we focus on the needs of user will also make our job easier as public servants. 

I'm in aspiring public service worker with a strong desire for social justice. 

A glimpse at digital government

An introduction to digitization of the government was of great interest to me because I  learnt new ideas on digital government. As a woman from a “developing” country Zimbabwe I used to think that my home country is still far behind in terms of digitization of the government. But after the introduction, I realized that Zimbabwe its not that far behind considering that “developed” countries like the UK adopted digital government just recently in 2011 as cited by Eaves, (2018). This means to say that other “developed” countries like Canada adopted digital governance later. However, this is not an excuse for a “developing” country because other developing” countries like Estonia are far ahead some “developed” countries with government digitization. It has been cited during the lecture that one can even apply for citizenship online. I also learnt how government digitization in Canada fell short to that of the private sector. This can be attributed to security issues which makes government processes to delay. To the contrary, one might argue that government has a laisse faire attitude towards serving the public since the government has no competition. Copeland gave a convincing argument that can compliment effective leadership and management which calls for a transformational leader who can transform an organization or public sector unit for the better. He ascertains that organizations need to change the way they do business for technology to work. He prefers an organization to have operational excellence and basic technology rather than the other way around. This is also supported by Eaves when he cites that digital units can be useful tools in bringing about agility and user-friendly designs (2018). All this can be useful during my coop as it can help transform the public sector in a positive way. This will enable efficient  provision of public services

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