The State & Design

30 Jul 2021  •  10 min read


Many governments have created innovation teams in a bid to improve public policies and services through design. So what does it mean to design for the public sector? And how can citizens be involved to create better and more responsive solutions? In this collection of articles, we visit cities around the world to see how the state and design have come together for the people.

What is Design for Policy?
Dr. Andrea Siodmok, Ellie Runcie and Christian Bason, Design Council, UK

Public sector design innovators – Dr. Andrea Siodmok, Ellie Runcie and Christian Bason – explain how design helps organisations manage change, understand systems, engage citizens, identify new opportunities and test their effectiveness in this quick primer by the United Kingdom’s Design Council. Click here to view the video.

Helsinki Design Lab: Ten Years Later
Bryan Boyer

In its short five-year existence, the strategy and policy design unit in the Finnish government pioneered the use of innovation labs in the public sector. Discover the origins of the Helsinki Design Lab in 2008 and how it brought “design” and “government” closer than before. Read the article here.

Social Labs: Enabling Citizens to Co-create and Co-Design Innovations
Ada Wong, Pioneer Post

How can one find small, local solutions to big social problems? Through “social labs” where citizens and civil servants are invited to collaborate and create experimental solutions for community issues, says the founder of Hong Kong’s Make a Difference Institute, Ada Wong. Read the article here.

Rethinking Services with Innovation Labs

Since 2012, the Public Service Division’s Innovation Lab has been working across Singapore’s government agencies to transform its public sector. The in-house consultancy has produced a variety of citizen-centric services and also expanded into coaching public officers so they have the skills and mindsets for empathy, collaboration and experimentation. Read the article here.

Public Interest Designers
Miljkovic Sophie, Medium

To overcome its long hiring process and low budgets for hiring designers, the French government began pairing up government administrators with designers who are keen on serving the public for short-term projects. The programme has created a growing community of “Public Interest Designers”. Read the article here.

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