DHS Case Study

Opportunity

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The National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, also known as the 9/11 Commission, mandated to provide recommendations designed to guard against future attacks. One of the mandates from the 9/11 Commission was to improve student and exchange visitor policies and technologies, given some of the 9/11 hijackers had entered the country with student visas. One of our consultants was an integral part of facilitating months of workshops with key DHS and DoS stakeholders to reimagine this process.

Approach

The breadth of scope for the student and exchange visitor program (SEVP) is massive. Aside from large teams within the Federal government supporting this program, stakeholders include every technical college, college and university in the country. Our approach to this engagement was to leverage our facilitation skills to conduct week over week rapid prototyping workshops. In each workshop, we would convene the correct stakeholders based upon the topic at hand, and as ideas were generated, capture them in our visualization software live on a large screen. This worked for both processes and system user interfaces. As concepts were rapidly prototyped, stakeholder could provide immediate feedback. 

Outcomes

This approach proved so effective that our primary stakeholder became an evangelist for this process throughout DHS and at conferences. Prior to our involvement, the stakeholders had become frustrated with their lack of progress. With our involvement, the stakeholders got new energy and began to make progress at a pace they had never before experienced. The prototypes we produced were used to prepare training and adoption materials while the actual system was still being coded; a further accelerator for the program.