Caribbean [CARICOM] Leaders Need More Design Thinking In Government


Hello folks. Hope you are doing well so far in this COVID-19 period.

As I follow what is happening in and around the world, I want to stick in this blog to Design Thinking in Government. Especially that Caribbean Leaders need more Design Thinking in Government to succeed more.

I am design and created by mother nature. Everything is designed. Design is not only just what it will looks like and feels like. Design is how it works. Everywhere you can use design thinking. Yes even my car insurance company uses design.

Design Thinking is nothing more then a user-centered (people centered) approach to problem solving.

Actually in my own opinion Design Thinking is less about thinking, but more about doing. You just start from what people, users, customers, consumers etc. need or want to do.

In this case EMPATHY is the key. It is not about you. You need the ability to understand and share the feelings of others a very good way.

Design Thinking stimulates you to look at situations differently and come up with new effective solutions that go beyond and improve existing alternatives.

Integrative thinking is key. You need the ability to look at the different aspects of a problem.

Stop discussing start working. Make ideas tangible. Prototyping is thinking with your hands. Test your hypnotises. I do hope you can follow me so far.

In daily life, we experience how leaders are struggling to succeed. The road to success does not follow a straight line. The more you are able to loop through (understand, create, learn), the higher the chance you have for good results.

When things aren’t running your way, this is the frustrating whirlwind ride we all go on. Disagreements between people and parties keep us from making any stable form of progress. They happen very often, and we are so uncompromising that Government Shutdown might as well be considered a trend.

I my humble opinion politicians live in a bubble, where they shut themselves in a cave for a period of time only to emerge gloriously with ludicrously lengthy bills, preaching their so called glory as if they reached their solution by grace and wisdom of God. Furthermore they simply pass what they think they should pass; sometimes they pass what has an earmark with their name on it.  And if or when things fail, they repeal the entirety of it, and try again.

In order for Government especially in the Caribbean region to better serve their people, their process should be user-centered9 people centered). Yes clear by the people, for the people.

Leaders need to thoroughly research the problems themselves. Who are the people most affected by the problem. What is the problem, really! How does it impact the people and how can we try to solve it, and never taking biased view from the perspective of special interest groups or corporate entities that seek financial or regulatory gain. Once we identify a problem and hypothesis, we test, Test and iterate.

The easiest way for us to start is to iterate upon that which already exists. The best solutions come with research and iteration. And the iterations must be watched with a sharp, keen eye, as to identify problems the instant they become visible, so as to buffer any major impact they may create down to road.

For myself, I work within the realm of user- centered design and its benefits are very familiar to me. Design Thinking is a scientific, human-centered, and empathetic process that yields the best designed solutions. It gets us together in to a platform of understanding the people and their problems; with firm understanding and empathy, along with daily continuous innovation, we can create the best solutions.

With this blog I hope that more people can and will agree that regardless of political party of stance, a government educated and practicing design thinking methodologies will help us all to establish/create a more perfect running country, community, union etc.

Design Thinking is not always the answer to every single problem. Keep that in mind.

For some questions you will need rational thinking, spreadsheets, presentations and even more women and men in suits to come to a valid answer. If you as a leader want to become more effective train yourself in Design Thinking.

I am leaving you with the following words : Empathise, Observe, Engage, Watch and Listen….


Why we have to work 30 hours…Is the Caribbean Region ready for this implementation.



Although vacancies are increasingly asking for staff without a ‘9 to 5 mentality’, eight hours of work per day in the Caribbean region has been the norm for 100 years. In other countries there is already a lot of experimentation with fewer working hours. The Swedish experiments with the 30-hour working week have reached many international media.

Work five days, 6 hours a day

The Swedish experiments first compared two different (working) models. The first model focuses on the 30-hour working week (five days working six hours a day), where managers give employees more freedom. From that freedom, as more can decide for themselves, they also produce more and their motivation is higher.
The second model is just the opposite, and uses the traditional 40-hour working week. In this model, the focus is on management decisions and management. Managers motivate employees by properly indicating what happens in the process and when. In this way the company runs fully efficiently.

Experiments abroad

In a nursing home in Götenberg (Sweden) they experimented for no less than two years with this 30-hour working week from the Swedish model, after which they were thoroughly evaluated. What turned out to be? Everything had become more positive. Less fatigue, less absenteeism, less stress and higher client satisfaction. The only downside was increased costs. Logical, when employees are paid eight hours and work six hours. The revenues turned out not to be large enough to compensate for this gap. That is why the experiment at the Svartedalen nursing home was not continued, but the tests are continuing elsewhere.

For example, there is a Toyota maintenance center that works with complete satisfaction with shifts of twice six hours. A marketing agency in Scotland with highly skilled knowledge workers has also been working with the six-hour working day for two years. They start at 9:30 am and close the door at 3:45 pm. The result: the output and quality of that output are just as high as before – with the 40-hour working week. Absence and stress have decreased and there is a better work-life balance.

Experiments in the Netherlands

The Dutch are good at part-time work. A logical consequence of the one and a half earner model: man works full time, woman works part time. With the arrival of the 30-hour working week, the equal division of tasks between men and women suddenly comes much closer. To achieve that, customization is required. After all, you have to complete tasks from a 40-hour working week to a 30-hour working week. Employees must decide for themselves what the improvement should look like, and continue to hold onto this. If employees are given more room to determine the customized work themselves, then the motivation remains higher in the long term. And to achieve that, the biggest change is in the mindset – especially of the employer.

By experimenting with shorter working days or weeks, their fear can be relieved because they start to see the benefits. Offering freedom in working hours and workplaces (and thereby offering technologies such as video conferencing ) also helps to increase attractiveness as an employer.
Shorter working days also offer a solution to the debate about hard professions, longer working hours and sustainable employability. The generation pacts and deals on part-time work during the final phase of working life already show this.


And what does this mean for the costs (also a frequently heard objection from employers)? Can working shorter hours be rewarded with a full-time salary? We can conclude that at least half of the hours is earned back by the increase in productivity. Whether that is sufficient to invest by employers in sustainable employability or by the government in a distant future in which fewer people are needed to do the same work can be seen. It would be interesting and strengthen our position as a pioneering country.

Focus is the engine

To make a 30-hour working week a success, it is important to give a clear focus to your employees. The fact is that if people have less time available, they are more critical of what really needs to be done. They often achieve the same quality in less time. It is a combination of the right assignment, the right deadline, sufficient appreciation and room to excel. On that leads to motivated employees, whether you should start with that motivation is chicken and egg.

In the Caribbean region (CARICOM), Governments must come together to discuss about this.As the climate is changing very fast, we have to change systems.