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This working paper was prepared in connection with the conduct of the Design Thinking Olympics, a nationwide initiative of the Institute for Labor Studies (ILS) as part of the celebration of its 30th founding anniversary in 2017. The ILS is the policy research arm of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) with a mandate to assist DOLE in its research and labor policy analysis needs, as well as to seek novel and innovative ways in DOLE policymaking and policy implementation, among others. Believing in their potential to effect meaningful change on the ground given their proximity to DOLE’s stakeholders, the ILS has partnered with select DOLE Regional Offices in introducing the process of design thinking into day-to-day operations of DOLE’s frontline offices, including program implementation.

The ILS is well aware that for the past years, a number of governments have taken interest in using the design thinking process to promote an accountable government, to stimulate creativity and imagination in public service, and to create innovative new solutions to persistent social problems (Carstensen and Bason, 2012; Bason, 2013). Governments have also used design thinking to engage their citizens from various walks of life and to ensure that their needs are accounted for in many important policy decisions that affect their lives. By launching the Design Thinking Olympics, DOLE aims to be at the forefront of designing government-led innovative solutions rooted in people’s needs.

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Title: Programang Paggawa, Pa’no Ka Ginawa?: Introducing Design Thinking to the Regional Operations of the Department of Labor and Employment
Bernard Paul M. Mangulabnan