As those concerned with innovation now widely understand, design is key, not as an add-on, but as a way of structuring development. Rt Hon David Willetts MP, Minister for Universities and Science, Design for Public Good
How can governments move from incremental fixes to systemic innovation?
This is what we've been exploring in our new report, Design for Public Good. Written in collaboration with the Danish Design Centre, Design Wales and Aalto University, Finland, the report is the culmination of research on best-practice and design-led innovation for the public sector. It presents a new framework for understanding the role of design in this context.
Why did we write this report?
The aim of Design for Public Good is to promote design-led techniques for use across the EU as a means of staying competitive and creating sustainable and flourishing societies.
What is in the report?
The report presents a series of case studies such as the Danish government’s MindLab unit and the Design Council’s Reducing violence and aggression in A&E project, which illustrate how a design-led approach can tackle service delivery and policy implementation. These case studies are categorised according to the Public Sector Design Ladder, a new framework that can be used as a tool and roadmap for change in the public sector.
What the Design Ladder represents:
Step 1: Design for discrete problems
Designers are hired for one-off jobs
Step 2: Design as capability
Design becomes part of the culture of public sector organisations.
Step 3: Design for policy
Design is used at the highest levels to help create policy
Recommendations from the report
The report makes four key recommendations which are then broken down into advice for key actors such as the European Commission, governments and design organisations. The headline recommendations are:
- Use the Public Sector Design Ladder as a diagnostic tool and roadmap for progression
- Build design thinking into government and public policy practice
- Build a strong design sector than can offer strategic and service design to the public sector
- Build the evidence base and impact measurements for design innovation in the public sector
We hope this report will act as a spring board for innovation across Europe’s public sector John Mathers, CEO, Design Council
Design for Public Good has been supported through the SEE platform (Sharing Experience Europe), a network of 11 European partners working to integrate design into innovation policies. SEE is funded by the European Commission through their European Design Innovation Initiative.