I'm going to be working and doing my masters for a year with a public sector organisation in Scotland which is striving to understand the service design process so that they can use these skills to improve their service output.

There are several ways this can be done via an easy to use design toolkit, learning by process, documenting my process when doing projects for them and holding workshops. These are off the top of my head ideas but I will be looking more indepth into this come September.

My concern is that there are far more cultural barriers that stand in the way of creativity inside public sector workplaces before staff can even begin to start thinking and moving through projects 'like' designers. I'm looking at how these barriers can be broken down.

Any thoughts on this?

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You are absolutely right. I work with public sector clients and the key issue is change management, not design techniques. Joel Bailey wrote in Design for Service blog:

…it’s just as much about employee engagement and co-design for the benefit of the service provider. Clients have to recognise that increasingly both customers and staff operate in a service ecology. This needs integrated, holistic thinking, involving the community of players, not just a single strand.


I come from Finland and was pleased to read Niti Bahn's letter from Finland:


Hi Kathryn, nice to meet you too. I've been terribly busy and quiet here.

I like your thoughts:

First seek to understand and only then to be understood

Have you got any specific examples of work you have done and are able to talk about within the public sector and how it came about, who you worked with, how the process went, what the outcomes were?

My interest at the moment is companies who want to be seen to be using design thinking techniques to improve their service outputs, in an in-house way.

I'm also excited to hear about stories/case studies where there has been a skill swap between organisations and designers so when the designers have left, the organisation can practice the techniques used during the design process.

This also leads onto the question of can you skill swap effectively? Or do we, as experienced/trained designers have a unique edge in the way we think and work, can this thinking be passed on?

If we hand over techniques, are they really executed how designers would use them, or do these so called techniques (i.e brainstorming, journey mapping, service blueprinting) lose their real benefits and merely become things an organisation would use for the sake of using the hot topic of 'design thinking'

I've emptied my brain only slightly here, I've got a lot of questions and hoping some of you can answer/share an opinion through your experiences!


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