Uber & Co. vs. Taxis – Test driving Design Thinking in a real-world public policy challenge
18 to 21 October 2018, New York
At the initiative of GDL Member Ciara Davies, the Bosch Alumni Network (BAN) teamed up with the GDL to co-organize an event on Design Thinking for Public Policy. Silvia Danielak, also a GDL member, came up with a red-hot real-world case on which to apply Design Thinking methodology: How should the public sector moderate the disruption that ride-sharing apps are causing in the taxi cab sector?
Twenty clever minds from the GDL and BAN, including GDL members Edna Martinez, Rong Yang and Eirliani Abdul Rahman,were selected to gather with their fellow alumni in an inspiring space in Brooklyn to cross-pollinate their ideas and tackle this specific issue. They had the opportunity to examine the human needs involved, re-frame the problem, brainstorm on crazy and novel ideas, examine prototypes, and test-drive different approaches in order to transfer them to other sectors of the rapidly growing online sharing economy, as well as apply those techniques to their own respective fields.
Why is this important? The rise of ride-hailing apps (such as Uber and Lyft) has brought huge disruption to the urban transport market in cities ranging from New York to Johannesburg. While this form of collaborative consumption has benefited consumers thanks to the sharing of under-utilized resources – as well as those earning or supplementing their income as drivers via these apps – it has also brought increased competition to established taxi services. Attempts to locally regulate the market have been made, but suppliers are still not subject to the same restrictions, and a growing conflict of interests has emerged between the different stakeholders. Worse still, safety concerns have arisen regarding passenger security and the sparking of political or even violent clashes between private operators who offer their services on the new platforms and traditional taxi drivers.
That is why it was time to ask how the public sector can respond to this disruption in a way that improves the passenger experience, ensures consumer safety and softens the economic blow to established taxi services.
Here’s a recording of Rachel’s presentation during the virtual follow-up session with tips and tricks on how to implement Design Thinking as a tool for organisational change. With her being a participant of the GDL & BAN activity, we’re delighted to share some of her insights and key takeaways with you. Kindly note that the video is only accessible for GDL members and therefore password protected. If you would like to access it, please contact the secretariat at .
Edna Martinez is an enthusiastic consultant in sustainable development and public policy. For over a decade, Edna has worked to design, develop and implement public policies focused on sustainability. She has adapted international agendas to the Mexican context, such as sustainable production and consumption, waste management, eco-labelling and, most recently, the 2030 Agenda, most commonly known as the Sustainable Development Goals.
Edna worked at the Mexican Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources for over five years, where her proudest achievements include the development of a National Strategy and a Special Program in Sustainable Production and Consumption. She has collaborated with UNDP and the Office of the Presidency in the design of the Implementation Strategy of the SDGs for Mexico and for FAO in the Foresight of the Agricultural Sector. Edna also co-wrote a public policy recommendation for the T20 when chaired by Germany. She also finds great satisfaction in sharing knowledge digitally, in open forums and teaching at universities.
Edna is currently part of a project that is creating an offsite space for co-creation, team building and workshop spaces for international and local organisations. This space, known as Mineralito, is in a tranquil rural area, surrounded by beautiful green landscapes and natural reserves. Knowledge sharing and designing and creating sustainable lifestyles is what inspired Mineralito. This project has turned Edna into an avid researcher of bio-construction in the creation of this magical place, where everything is designed and built with sustainability in mind and shared to be replicated.
Rong Yang is Vice President for Finance Business Partners and Strategy Americas at Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals Inc., based in New Jersey.
Before working in industry, he was a diplomat and served as Chief Translator (German) for the President and the Prime Minister of China. Besides a short employment at McKinsey as a consultant, he has been working for the Bayer Group in various functions and countries including China, Germany, Austria, and the United States. Prior to his current role, he was Bayer Pharmaceutical's Country Group Head for Czech Republic and Slovakia, based in Prague. He was in charge of Bayer Pharmaceutical’s research and development, marketing and sales activities in both countries.
Rong is active in various professional associations and advises social enterprises and entrepreneurs interested in healthcare. He holds a Master’s degree in Economics as well as a MBA from Harvard Business School.
Eirliani Abdul Rahman is co-founder of YAKIN (Youth, Adult Survivors & Kin In Need), an NGO working in the field of child rights and child protection issues, and a member of Twitter’s Safety & Trust Council. She is also Senior Assistant Director at the Singapore National Council of Social Service and has been seconded to head Operations and Programmes at Caregivers Alliance, a non-profit organisation that helps caregivers of those with mental health issues in Singapore.
In September 2015, the #FullStop to #childsexualabuse campaign that Eirliani led on behalf of Nobel Peace Prize laureate Kailash Satyarthi reached 16 million people over six weeks. She won the BMW Foundation Responsible Leaders Award the same year. Eirliani edited Nobel Peace Prize laureate Kailash Satyarthi’s book Will for Children, a collection of essays on child labour published in 2016. Her book on true accounts by survivors of child sexual abuse Survivors: Breaking the Silence on Child Sexual Abuse was published by Marshall Cavendish in 2017. It won joint second prize in the 2020 Golden Door Awards. She also contributed a case study to the medical textbook Essentials of Global Health, co-edited by Babulal Sethia, Past President and Global Health Lead of the Royal Society of Medicine, which was published by Elsevier in London in 2018. The book won first prize in the Public Health category at the 2019 British Medical Association book awards.
Eirliani was in the Singapore Foreign Service from 2005 to 2015, serving in Berlin as First Secretary (Political) and then in Delhi as Political Counsellor. From June 2015 to November 2017, she was a member of the Advisory Council of the Global Diplomacy Lab (GDL). She is a Fellow of the London-based Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce.
Eirliani lives in Singapore. She speaks Malay, English, German and Russian.
Read more about Eirliani in her latest blog article. You can also read her articles about her polar expedition, about human trafficking, the injustice of the Brexit for the British Youth and learn more about her work and activism.
Ciara is a certified Career & Business Coach with expertise in public relations, economic negotiations and cultural diplomacy.
As former British diplomat with over a decade of international experience in business and government negotiations, she brings broad knowledge of intercultural, political, economic and technological developments to her work. Ciara has trained at Ashridge Business School and is a certified member of the QRC federation of coaches and consultants. She has also worked as a graduate mentor and career development coach for the Foreign & Commonwealth Office.
Today, Ciara draws on her wide-ranging experience and personal insight to both enable clients to create careers and businesses that are aligned with their values and bring the highest form of expression to their skills and talents.
Silvia Danielak is currently pursuing graduate studies at the Harvard Graduate School of Design with a special focus on architecture and socio-spatial urban planning in the context of conflicts, structural violence and post-conflict reconstruction. Her research explores spatialised approaches to conflict transformation in Johannesburg.
Previously, Silvia worked for more than three years for the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, serving as a conflict prevention advisor to the African Union Border Programme, based in Addis Ababa. Prior to moving to Ethiopia, she was a Mercator Fellow working on multi-track diplomacy and mediation for UNDP’s Bureau for Crisis Prevention and Recovery, UNDP Kyrgyzstan, and for the HD Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue in Geneva. Silvia holds an MA in international security from Sciences Po Paris and a BA in European studies from Maastricht University.
Learn more about Silvia in her blog post.