Going Public

Continuum Brings Design Thinking to Policy Matters

Nov 14 2016 - 3:36pm

A project that won an IDSA International Design Excellence Award (IDEA) is featured in a Boston Globe article, and the newspaper wants to know whether designing for public policy—is the wave of the future for design studios. Future of First Response, designed by Continuum LLC for Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, won an IDEA 2016 Silver. 

"Continuum has moved beyond the realm of designing products that make life easier for consumers," reports Janelle Nanos. "It’s now bringing its promise of innovative thinking to the public sector, tackling policy matters with the same gusto it once tackled dust bunnies.”

For the Future of First Response, Continuum designers rode along with major metropolitan fire, police and emergency medical service (EMS) crews to see firsthand how they operate. They also conducted workshops; set up frameworks; designed prototypes; and made videos.The Globe reports that in the last two years, not only has Continuum reimagined operations for Boston's first responders, but also for the city's transit system and schools.

Continuum’s Senior Vice President Jon Campbell calls the push into public policy a "natural progression” based on “this realization that human centered-design can be applied to all sorts of different challenges, not just product design.” He adds, “What really juices a designer is tackling really hard problems, and trying to make it better for people,” no matter if it’s a “medical device, consumer good or a public service.”

IDEA 2017 opens for entries on Dec. 1, 2016.