Solving homeland security's wicked problems: a design thinking approach
Wyckoff, Kristin L.
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The Department of Homeland Security’s Science and Technology Directorate (DHS S&T) requires a consistent yet flexible approach to address wicked problems. A design-thinking methodology holds promise, as its tenets align with the diversity and complexity inherent within the homeland security environment. Design thinking emphasizes a human-centered and multidisciplinary approach to solution development. The research examined how design thinking is used to solve problems, S&T’s current approach to solving problems, and how other public organizations are using a design-thinking methodology. Denmark’s MindLab and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) informed a framework for how DHS S&T could adopt a design-thinking approach. The analysis and framework were organized around Galbraith’s Star Model. The conclusion is that a design-thinking approach requires a significant shift in how S&T executes research and development (R&D). This shift can strengthen the dialogue necessary between S&T, homeland security practitioners, and nontraditional DHS partners to spur solutions. This thesis provides a framework for how S&T can incorporate design-thinking principles that are working well in other domains to tackle homeland security’s complex problems.
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