Systemic Design Approaches in the Public Sector: Are we ready?

Sabine Junginger

The complexities of designing are well known to policy makers who develop policies and public managers who implement policies through public services. So overwhelming is the intricate web of laws, rules, and regulations in a highly hierarchical and political landscape that those working under intense time pressure rarely get time to reflect on their design approaches.

With the advent of new global and regional challenges that further increase the complex nature of their task, the principles, practices, processes and methods of design employed in the public sector are moving to centre stage in the effort to arrive at innovative and desirable outcomes. In this talk, I I discuss some of the pitfalls of designing in the public sector and point out why the shift in designerly thinking and doing in the service of public sector innovation presents a challenge for the field of design.


Sabine Junginger currently heads the Competence Center for Research into Design and Management at Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts in Switzerland. She is a Research Fellow of the Hertie School of Governance (Germany), an academic advisor to the European Forum Alpbach (Austria) and the UK Design Council (DfE). She has worked as a senior design expert for the EU-Brazil Sectorial Dialogues and advises several government level public innovation labs on human-centered design. She was a founding member of ImaginationLancaster at Lancaster University (UK) and holds a PhD in Design from Carnegie Mellon University (USA).

Her work appeared in Design Issues, The Design Journal and the Journal for Business Strategy. She is co-editor of Designing Business and Management (Bloomsbury 2016); Highways and Byways to Innovation (University of Southern Denmark/Design School Kolding 2014) and The Handbook of Design Management (Bloomsbury 2011). She is author of Transforming Public Services by Design: Re-Orienting Policies, Organizations and Services around People (Routledge, UK, 2017).


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