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UAL Research Online

Embedding Design in Local Government: Role of Designers and Public Servants

Kang, Inbo (2021) Embedding Design in Local Government: Role of Designers and Public Servants. PhD thesis, University of the Arts London.

Type of Research: Thesis
Creators: Kang, Inbo

Over the past decades in the private and public sector, value co-creation with users has emerged as a key to the success of products and services. Since the Design of the Time (DOTT) project launched in 2005 to improve public service under New Labour (1997–2010) in the UK, user-centred design has gained more traction as a strategic approach to public service reform. Moreover, it has recently been considered as a useful organisational capability to address challenges, so-called ‘wicked problems’, such as an ageing population, changing technologies, and growing demands for better services from citizens under austerity. Despite the growing attention to building design capability as an approach to service innovation and an enabler for change within local governments, there is a lack of understanding of how it is embedded as an organisational capability considering their unique contextual factors: political, structural, cultural, and economic aspects. Moreover, there has been relatively less attention paid towards the role of designers and public servants even though they are the main actors applying and building design capability. To explore this gap, a mix-method approach including preliminary survey and multiple case study was used to maximise data collection. The multiple case study examines the different journeys of four local councils in England towards embedding design as part of their service innovation and organisational transformation strategies in response to change, and the data is analysed and interpreted with a thematic analysis method. This thesis makes theoretical and practical contributions in the fields of design for local government innovation and organisational change. First, it proposes a conceptual framework as a structure and guide to identify and organise the elements of local government design capability as a combination of individual and organisational design competences. Second, it identifies the reasons for embedding design capability in local governments. Third, it also identifies challenges, necessary and desirable conditions which affect the application and embeddedness of design in the local government context. Fourth, it also articulates the roles of designers and public servants as main actors of applying design approaches and embedding design capability as part of organisational capabilities. By developing the understanding of user-centred design approaches to collaborative service innovations and organisational change in local government, this thesis not only provides a foundation for future research in the area of design for public sector change and innovation, but also induces other fields of study on this area to engage in the conversations.

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Keywords/subjects not otherwise listed: Design capability, Embedding design capability, Local government, Organisational change, Roles of designers, Roles of public servant
Your affiliations with UAL: Colleges > London College of Communication
Date: March 2021
Date Deposited: 07 Apr 2021 13:37
Last Modified: 07 Apr 2021 13:37
Item ID: 16672
URI: https://ualresearchonline.arts.ac.uk/id/eprint/16672

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