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Azul Seven
Hennepin County

In an effort to serve more constituents more effectively, governments around the world are going digital. Hennepin County, Minnesota which includes the city of Minneapolis, has been working with the design and innovation firm Azul Seven for more than five years to bring a human-centered design mentality to its digital projects.

Addressing Hennepin County’s main website was the first project. While successful digital government initiatives require more than just good websites, they are the point of entry for most constituents. With good design and backend support, these sites give constituents the option and confidence to initiate government-related tasks online.

To start, Azul Seven led the County through a human-centered design process to understand when and how constituents wanted to engage with government services. Together they researched, specified and created the digital designs. The project unified 21 different content silos realizing a savings of $750,000 per year.

The early success of design-led methods encouraged the county to invest further. Azul Seven began advising the county on how to build their own internal innovation team for human-centered design. They helped define roles and team structures and trained a permanent design leadership group in the county’s newly established Center for Innovation and Excellence.

While still in the early stages, Hennepin County has built a strong internal capacity for creating innovative solutions using design-led processes. And work with Azul Seven continues to evolve. The firm recently introduced the Innovation and Excellence team to the practice of biomimicry in a pilot project to improve communication with immigrants moving into Hennepin County. The team will study how other ecosystems in nature successfully integrate new arrivals and fold their findings into new the design and delivery of new services.

What started out as a digital project has transformed into a broader initiative focusing on innovation, excellence and service across the county.


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