Design-led Approaches to Public Value Creation in Public Administration and Public Management

The Policy Lab is contributing to a panel at the upcoming International Research Society for Public Management (IRSPM) conference in Edinburgh in 2018. If you are interested in being part of the panel, we welcome both conceptual and empirical papers.

These may include papers reporting on public sector innovation labs, policy labs, living labs, and design experiments, but also simulations in which a specific prototype is tested in an artificial (e.g. software) environment. Besides traditional paper presenters, we welcome contributors who wish to present a prototype and discuss how this prototype was developed and tested.

Abstracts are due through the conference website by 20 October 2017.

For more information, follow this link to the wider IRSPM conference call for proposals:

Here are some more details about our panel on Design-led Approaches to Public Value Creation in Public Administration and Public Management.

Co-Chairs: Jenny Lewis; Arwin van Buuren; Christian Bason; Mateusz Lewandowski; Catherine Mangan; Adam Thorpe.

The public sector has traditionally been seen as an inhospitable environment for change and innovation. However, increased austerity and dissatisfaction with existing approaches have fuelled interest in bringing design-led social innovation to bear on public policy and public services.

Shrinking resources, discontented electorates and complex problems of the last decade have prompted the public sector to look for new ways of governing, and developing and delivering public services.

In this effort, design has been heralded as a central concept because of its user-centeredness that in a co-productive or co-creative way bridges the gap between public policies, services and citizens’ needs and expectations, and environmental challenges (Thorpe & Gamman, 2016; Thomas & Grace, 2008; Junginger, 2014; Mulgan, 2014, Sangiorgi, 2015).

Consequently, all kinds of living labs, policy experiments and other ways of ‘learning-by-doing’ are rapidly gaining popularity in public administration (Gascó, 2016), in order to co-create value with involved stakeholders and in particular service users to strengthen the user-orientation in public policy and services and collectively solve complex challenges (Oosterlaken, 2009; Tromp, Hekkert, & Verbeek, 2011).

Although the notion of public administration as a design science is certainly not new (Simon, 1971; Miller, 1984; Shangraw & Crow, 1997; Meyer, 2005), there is much that we do not know about the application of design thinking to public policy. Design remains underexplored as an approach to create new forms of public value. Further, the contribution of design as a co-production strategy within public sector contexts is not yet well understood.

Hence, this panel is dedicated to explore the principles, methodological underpinnings, challenges and practices of applying design-oriented approaches to the field of public policy and governance. In particular, within the scope of the IRSPM theme, the panel seeks to explore how design-led approaches contribute to realising ambitions around the co-creation and co-production of public services. Concretely, this panel aims to:

· Enhance the methodological rigor of design methodologies in public management and policy;

· Explore the value of labs and co-design processes to value creation in public service delivery (health care, culture, education, social interventions, transportation, safety etc.);

· Offer theoretical or empirical explorations of the conditions that support collaborative, design-led approaches;

· Identify practical applications of design thinking in public value creation;

· Evaluate the impact of design thinking and practice on collaborative approaches to policymaking or service (re-)design;

· Identify limitations of co-design in public service provision and institutional change.

For more information, see https://www.business-school.ed.ac.uk/irspm/call-for-abstracts/ or email the-policy-lab@unimelb.edu.au.