Abstract

Over the past decade a new type of design practice has emerged that is aimed at addressing complex societal problems through public and social sector innovation. As opposed to traditional product design teams, design processes in this sector tend to be distributed among numerous actors. In these ‘designing networks’ it is less clear which type and level of design expertise is required and who should have it. In this paper, we investigate design expertise in public and social innovation through a study of the practices of five innovation agencies. We particularly looked at the expertise of framing. The study provides preliminary answers to how much and what kind of design expertise we need, who should have it, and how we can teach and learn this expertise. The results indicate that designing for complex societal problems requires high level design expertise with regard to framing and managing a design process. This requires capability building beyond the methodical approaches that are currently being offered to public and social sector staff members.

Keywords:

social innovation; design expertise; framing; capability building

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License

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Jun 25th, 12:00 AM

Design Expertise in Public and Social Innovation

Over the past decade a new type of design practice has emerged that is aimed at addressing complex societal problems through public and social sector innovation. As opposed to traditional product design teams, design processes in this sector tend to be distributed among numerous actors. In these ‘designing networks’ it is less clear which type and level of design expertise is required and who should have it. In this paper, we investigate design expertise in public and social innovation through a study of the practices of five innovation agencies. We particularly looked at the expertise of framing. The study provides preliminary answers to how much and what kind of design expertise we need, who should have it, and how we can teach and learn this expertise. The results indicate that designing for complex societal problems requires high level design expertise with regard to framing and managing a design process. This requires capability building beyond the methodical approaches that are currently being offered to public and social sector staff members.

 

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