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Jul 2017

Service Design of Public Services to Inspire Citizens

For over a decade now, several governments have used Service Design to transform their policies, infrastructures in order to get closer to the citizens. Service Design is not a new concept, but it is mostly an unrecognized one.

The practice is much more widespread in Europe. Already in 1991, Service Design was introduced as a design discipline by Professor Dr. Michael Erlhoff at the Koln International School of Design in Köln (Köln International School of Design – KISD). Since 2010, the British government has implemented a policy of integration of digital services centered on citizens’ design of services with “Restarting Britain“.

Why this term « Service Design“? We use design in the sense of designing services the same way we would design a product. If you think about it, there’s much more effort and investment in designing a product, and a much less in designing a service. If you have doubts, then (ask yourself ) why are the services are so poorly designed?

In Canada, a number of Service Design projects are underway, including this British Columbia public service initiative whose objectives are to better serve citizens and with a statement that should echo with all levels of government, including the Québec Government and the city councils in general.

Here are 5 principles that guide the B.C. approach to public service:

  1.  Start with the experience and needs of citizens
  2. Design with people, not just for them
  3. Develop visual and tangible artifacts for shared understanding
  4. Move between big picture and detail, and back again
  5. Address the entire service architecture — from policy to front-line delivery

What an inspiring initiative!

Here is some more reading for the summer if you have an interest for this subject:

Nice summer to you all!



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