ServDes Conference blog

Design – a way of highlighting the patient and user perspective in the public sector

Introducing policies for freedom of choice in the public sector are more often applied today than some decades ago. In Sweden we have seen pharmacies, health care, elderly care, schools etc. opened up for competition and policies for freedom of choice. This development highlights the user perspective in those services. Health care, and other public sector services, could use the design thinking to impose the use of user perspective, but in policy discussions about public sector the design perspective is rarely used.

In such a development where freedom of choice policies brings out the user perspective, design will play an increasingly important part of developing products and services that not only competes with the lowest price. Likewise, health care providers compete on an international market. For the markets in which globalization comes into play, design can help creating the uniqueness a supplier need to create “their” market.

For services (regardless of where they are produced) a main driver of innovation is the user and/or the customer. When the user is the main driver of innovation the design process methodology helps to understand user needs, visualize the basis for strategic decisions and thus, becomes an important part of innovation policy work. Strategic efforts to link design processes and healthcare development would certainly lead to new perspectives on how innovation can be conducted also in the health care industries. Using design processes as a strategic tool becomes crucial for developing services suitable for areas where freedom of choices is applied and international markets.

The discussion wishes to highlight how research about design thinking and design can be used to a greater extent by policy makers and health care providers. Join this discussion about design and public sector and how Sweden can transform the largest sector with help of design thinking.

/Eva-Karin Anderman