Paper No.114: Learning together by doing together building local government design capacity through collaboration with design education
Learning together by doing together building local government design capacity through collaboration with design education
Adam Thorpe, Alison Prendiville, Kathryn Oliver
It is widely understood that the public sector in general and public services in particular must be radically reshaped in order to meet the needs of citizens in the context of diminishing public financing. Less well understood are the ways and means by which to do so, although most now accept that design practices and processes have a significant contribution to make. But how are we to develop and build design capacity within local government at a time of austerity? This paper introduces a one-year project that explores the potential for, and value of, strategic collaboration between design education and local government to better engage council staff, and the citizens they serve, in the development and application of design-led approaches to social and service challenges and to inform policy. The project prototypes a â€˜Public Collaboration Labâ€™ (PCL), a place for collaboration, experimentation and experiential learning that brings together local government officers, design researchers and design students with front line council staff and service users to explore new ways of working to develop and deliver policy and services that may improve outcomes for citizens whilst reducing public spending.