Design in the public sector – opportunities and challenges 140127

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Actes du colloque organisé à Stockholm le 27 janvier 2014 - Forum for Social Innovation Sweden, Malmö University in collaboration with Konstfack University College of Arts, Crafts and Design, The Swedish Faculty for Design Research and Research Education and SVID, Konstfack University.

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Design in the public sector – opportunities and challenges 140127

  1. 1. Forum for Social Innovation Sweden, Seminar - 2014-01-27 DESIGN IN THE PUBLIC SECTOR – OPPORTUNITIES AND CHALLENGES The 27th of January Forum for Social Innovation Sweden, Malmö University in collaboration with Konstfack University College of Arts, Crafts and Design, The Swedish Faculty for Design Research and Research Education and SVID arranged a seminar at Konstfack to discuss the future role of design in the public sector. Around thirty people from diverse organisations gathered to discuss the future role of design in the public sector. The starting point for the discussion was based on concrete experiences from Sweden and France presented by specially invited speakers. Stéphane Vincent who is director for La 27e Région. Bjarne Stenquist who is project Manager at the Environmental Department, City of Malmö. Bengt Jacobsson is Professor in Business Administration, The School of Social Sciences at Södertörn University and Stefan Holmlid from Linköping University. With reflections that have emerged in the empirical work done in Malmö Living Labs and inspirations from several international initiatives such as Mindlab, Nesta and DESIS several questions where posed: • What opportunities and implications for design in the public sector can we see? • How can you balance stability and dynamism within the public sector, between managing the status quo and creating new futures? • How can the public sector deal with ambiguity and uncertainty? • Where can we locate design? • How can we support mutual learning between work practises?
  2. 2. Forum for Social Innovation Sweden, Seminar - 2014-01-27 STÉPHANE VINCENT – DESIGN IN THE PUBLIC SECTOR; EXPERIENCES FROM FRANCE The first presenter was Stéphane Vincent, from La 27e Région. La 27e Région was founded by a group of people with a lot of experience from the public sector, where some also had been working as civil servants. They had no experience of design but felt that they wanted to re-new the 26 regional governments in France, “lets start the 27th region” someone then suggested. Today they are a non-profit organisation with seven staff members and they have a contract with all regions to work as a do-tank or an in-house innovation lab. “We try to set up a zone where people within the public sector can step out of their everyday roles and forget that they are civil servants, politicians or project managers. During this process it’s important to spend time on re-interrogating and re-framing problems and not only to focus on producing solutions.” “Its good with private design firms, but you also need in-house design labs, because in the end you can only change things from within”. Their core approach is called “friendly hacking” and they try to set up a zone where people within the public sector can step out of their everyday roles and forget that they are civil servants, politicians or project managers. During this process it’s important to spend time on re-interrogating and re-framing problems and not only to focus on producing solutions. – The public sector often spends time on building very nice solutions in front of very bad formulated problems, said Stéphane Vincent. Working with this approach put emphasis not only on the methods, but also on the relationship and that you set up new forms of contract. La 27e Région tries to go beyond traditional consultancy models because its difficult if you are a consultant to re-interrogate and re-frame, rather you have to work with an action-research partnership. Its good with private design firms, but you also need in-house design labs, because in the end you can only change things from within. – We try to balance being neutral and being activists, said Stéphane Vincent. A strong common point in La 27e Région is that they truly believe in the public sector, but they also believe that it has to be modernized. – There is a lot of innovation in the public sector, but these innovations are in silos. Each silo makes innovation, but they don’t take a systemic perspective, Stéphane Vincent said. Another problem in the public sector is that they do long surveys before doing things. – We need the contrary, we need to do and learn from this doing, he stated.
  3. 3. Forum for Social Innovation Sweden, Seminar - 2014-01-27 One of their first projects was called Térritoires en Résidences, where they set up a cross disciplinary team within a public organisation. During a period the team then through ethnography tries to understand what goes on and tries to collect a variety of ideas.The second week they co-design and prototype new possible solutions. Finally they produce scenarios, make an exhibition and translate this into political strategies. During these processes politicians and civil servants also get the opportunity to do ethnography and try to understand how well previous established polices work (or not work) in practice. Térritoires en Résidences have been working well to do flexible interventions, re-framing problems and prototyping solutions. They also have a growing collection of cases that build strategic visions for local, regional and national top-managers. One of the problems, however, is that there’s a huge turnover in public sector and one of the main reasons for failure is that people often change position within the public sector. The continuations of the projects have therefor been very dependent on the project manager in charge. “Many civil servants are interested in new solutions, but we need to create an empathy for how they are working.” To deal with this La 27e Région initiated La Transfo in 2011, where they could go deeper and during ten weeks simulate design labs within regional governments. In these projects ten to fifteen civil servants have been empowered with design skills. – They will not become a designer, that’s not their job, but they will learn to think as a designer, Stéphane concluded. According to Stéphane many civil servants are interested in new solutions, but we need to create an empathy for how they are working. – We need more humility; otherwise we have a risk that design appears as a miracle discipline that will solve the problem of the public sector, he added. It’s important to think in a long term perspective but also to work and develop this step by step, where you start from small, concrete and not to difficult interventions and then you can later come back and set up more complex collaborations with regional governments that are interested. La 27e Région also tries to avoid the terminology and practice of “excellence”. The notion of excellence is often associated with competition, ranking and being number one, where you then can set up expensive and huge projects that are highly specialized and solve everything within a silo. Instead they promote the more mundane process of “craft” where you through an ongoing process do tests and trials and continuously improve processes. “It’s important to think in a long term perspective but also to work and develop this step by step, where you start from small, concrete and not to difficult interventions and then you can later come back and set up more complex collaborations with regional governments that are interested.”
  4. 4. Forum for Social Innovation Sweden, Seminar - 2014-01-27 During 2014 La 27e Région has established a collaboration with the National School of Administration (Ecole Nationale de l’Administration), through the project Re/acteur public, so that they can include design for policy within their programs. BJARNE STENQUIST – DESIGN IN THE PUBLIC SECTOR; EXPERIENCES FROM MALMÖ, SWEDEN Bjarne Stenquist works as Project Manager at the Environmental Department, City of Malmö, and is also a Research associate at the British think-tank Demos and have been working with Charles Leadbeater and Geoff Mulgan. Bjarne described that, although Malmö has gone through a tremendous transformation from an industrial city to a service city, several complex, urgent challenges have raised the need for new approaches. One example is that child poverty is extremely high and there are huge differences in health in different parts of the city. Since the City of Malmö employed him, he has tried to introduce design into the public administrations as one option to deal with these complex challenges. The first opportunity came when the city launched the Area programmes where they prioritized work in five small areas and started out from these specific locations’ needs and dynamics and civil servants got a mandate to innovate. The focus was to work with many different partners – in a co-creative process and focus on testing and experimenting, models where work gradually are scaled up. Already in 2011 the idea of design labs where introduced as a part of the area programs where you not only should focus on ideas and concepts, but also on insights and understanding. Through this structure you were supposed to be able to mobilize people locally and facilitate experimental design processes. However, this turned out to be very hard to embed within the city, both regarding the terminology and language as well as the working culture. The design labs were re-labelled into Innovation Forums and they re-framed the design language into “See!”, “Understand!”, “Connect!” and “Try, try, try!” According to Bjarne it’s a huge potential in this approach, independent if you call it design or something else. The problem is that it poses a challenge
  5. 5. Forum for Social Innovation Sweden, Seminar - 2014-01-27 for a system that only is used to do budget calculations, analyze, conclude and implement. They have also tried to emphasise to work “with” rather than “for” citizens, but this shift has also turned out to be hard to accept within the administration. Recently some of these thoughts has got a renewed focus e.g. from the Commission for a Sustainable Malmö that recommends to continue with the work in Innovation Forums. Bjarnes final recommendations is to work pedagogical and create a more general understanding of these processes, to take a “no” as a questions rather than an answer, and to keep on. Time will be on our side. “It’s a huge potential in this approach, independent if you call it design or something else. The problem is that it poses a challenge for a system that only is used to do budget calculations, analyze, conclude and implement.” BENGT JACOBSSON – BEYOND NEW PUBLIC MANAGEMENT Bengt Jacobsson is a Professor in Business Administration at The School of Social Sciences at Södertörn University. He is also active in The Academy of Public Administration. He presented a historical overview of public sector reforms, where many are associated with the umbrella concept of New Public Management (NPM). According to Bengt some of the first reforms in Sweden that relates to NPM started already 50-60 years ago with for example Program Budgeting and Management by objectives with a strong focus on results. NPM also stress the importance of formulating clear and unambiguous goals that are possible to operationalize. You should measure outputs and effects and ascribe costs to outputs and effects. All this should also be integrated in some kind of control system. It has also brought forward what Bengt termed as an audit explosion, an enormous focus on evaluation, certification, inspection, comparison, ranking etc. Bengt described how the general directors in public organisations during the 70ies and 80ies looked at private companies as the more beautiful sister, but at that time it was mostly rhetoric, however during the 90ies this was transferred into the public sector organisations. Today a lot of this, at least the managerial ideas, is institutionalized and taken for granted. – People are educated into these ideas, they think in these terms and you have to acknowledge that if you want to change things, Bengt said. “NPM also stress the importance of formulating clear and unambiguous goals that are possible to operationalize. You should measure outputs and effects and ascribe costs to outputs and effects. All this should also be integrated in some kind of control system.”
  6. 6. Forum for Social Innovation Sweden, Seminar - 2014-01-27 “Today a lot of this, at least the managerial ideas, is institutionalized and taken for granted. – People are educated into these ideas, they think in these terms and you have to acknowledge that if you want to change things...” It’s basically the same managerial ideas that have been the content of the reforms since the program budgeting in the 60ies until the beginning of this millennium. These ideas have met the same problem over and over again. They have never really worked and the reason is that the reality consists of wicked problems and enormous complexity and therefore goals have to be vague and ambiguous. One reason that these reforms has been re-introduced several times, although they don’t work, is the belief that it has to do with implementation problems, for example that people is not well enough educated, or that they haven’t formulated clear goals. – It has always been described as an implementation problem and not a model problem, which I believe it is, said Bengt. “These ideas have met the same problem over and over again. They have never really worked and the reason is that the reality consists of wicked problems and enormous complexity” Bengt summed up some of the general problems with these reforms. One relates to what he called an organisational logic where we try to create complete organisations, not necessarily companies (but with companies as models). Organisations have evolved into constructions with a strong identity, hierarchy, rationality and this opens up for all kinds of managerial ideas. – As you know problems do not know organisational boarders, he said. Another problem is that these reforms have built on the decoupling between politics and administrations. – A lot of these ideas has been introduced by bureaucrats and legitimized by politicians, but they have never been interested. Politicians have found other more pragmatic strategies to move forward and implement their ideas. “We could move from today’s strong focus on control, competition, audit, separate parts, and compliance and instead focus on trust, the system, cooperation, reflection and innovation.” Finally Bengt suggested that we could move from today’s strong focus on control, competition, audit, separate parts and compliance and instead focus on trust, the system, cooperation, reflection and innovation. – Actually I think a lot of people agree on this diagnosis, for example Innovationsrådet had a similar conclusion.
  7. 7. Forum for Social Innovation Sweden, Seminar - 2014-01-27 STEFAN HOLMLID – DESIGN FOR SERVICES RESEARCH COMMUNITY Stefan Holmlid from Linköpings University presented how he has initiated a process to build a community of research on design for service. The process has been commissioned by Vinnova and will go on for 14 months. All different national initiatives that focus on design and services are welcome to collaborate in this process. The goal is to create a research competence centre with a set of central actors and find ways to build something that can be long term resilient. This is an opportunity to demonstrate that design can contribute with something good. DISCUSSION “The goal is to create a research competence centre with a set of central actors and find ways to build something that can be long term resilient.” BEYOND TECHNICAL RATIONALITY AND CONTROL The notion of technical rationality is very strong in today’s society (where you analyze problems, conclude, decide and implement) especially within some powerful structures such as the Department of Finance. This is the case despite all new design inspired approaches that emerged globally and that suggest that we have to move beyond technical rationality. Bjarne Stenquist suggested that it’s important to differentiate between complicated and complex problems. – When dealing with complexity you can’t just add and accumulate new information into the solution. Design thinking (or whatever we call it) is a tool to navigate in an increasingly complex reality where models are dead, he said. If we should be able to work with design and innovation in the public sector the notion of control within public organisations also have to be challenged. Bengt Jacobsson described that the most “When dealing with complexity you can’t just add and accumulate new information into the solution.”
  8. 8. Forum for Social Innovation Sweden, Seminar - 2014-01-27 “The most common approach to control in public organisations in Sweden relates to New Public Management and builds on connecting everything to the centre and set up systems that provide the centre with information. An alternative model would be to reduce the necessity to collect all the information in the centre, and instead trust the people and professionals.” “In every activity they have to think about the risks and deliver in a safe way. Often because of that, there is no space to try new ideas and no rewards for trying to find new ways of operating.” “You as a civil servant are not supposed to talk about what goes wrong. We have to set up arenas where we can learn from these local experiments and where experiences and practices can be disseminated on a long-term basis.” common approach to control in public organisations in Sweden relates to New Public Management and builds on connecting everything to the centre and set up systems that provide the centre with information. An alternative model would be to reduce the necessity to collect all the information in the centre, and instead trust the people and professionals where you can delegate and hand over issues. – We have a lot of trust and loyalty in Sweden, but still the demand for control has increased, this is really a paradox. Donna Cicek from the Swedish Tax Authority explained that NPM has lead to the fact that all activities are heavily controlled and that the control part takes space from experimentation and ongoing improvements. In every activity they have to think about the risks and deliver in a safe way. Often because of that, there is no space to try new ideas and no rewards for trying to find new ways of operating. This trust needs to go beyond organisational borders. David Lindeby from Experio Lab emphasized the importance of different kinds of ownership structures. With a mix of government, companies and organizations we can find a resilient way of connecting topics and goals to a long-term perspective. TRUST AND LEARNING If you should build trust then you also have to be able to talk about and learn from failures. According to Stéphane Vincent this is something that is difficult to do within the French administrations where you as a civil servant not are supposed to talk about what goes wrong. Bengt further reflected on the fact that we don’t have systems where we can learn from all these experiences. Even if we can see many local experiments it’s often about rule following, where we introduce the latest trends, or if it build on experiences then it’s quickly transformed into “models”.We have to set up arenas where we can learn from these local experiments and where experiences and practices can be disseminated on a long-term basis. This has to be organized and be built in to the administration and it’s a real challenge. To get such a platform to work, you need to be sure that people can take part in it and Stéphane Vincent described that La 27e Région in their new project try to convince the administrators that civil servants need to spend 5 % of their time in such a platform.
  9. 9. Forum for Social Innovation Sweden, Seminar - 2014-01-27 – When they get back to their top-manager they say that, ok today you have played with post-it and user-centred stuff, but you did not really work. We have to re-think they way civil servants work and having reflexivity becoming part of their normal everyday work. Language, and pedagogical approaches is also very important. One example that Sara Modig from ModigMinoz brought up is that it’s essential to clarify what a user perspective stands for. Most civil servants within the public sector would argue that they always have been working with a user centred perspective. – Still, it’s a paramount shift in insight when we really step into the shoes of the user and take the perspective of the user. Tomas Edman relates this shift to health care. – Traditionally they have had a focus on the patient rather than try to see and experience from the patients perspective. Also a lot of front line staff is doing design without knowing it, its important to acknowledge and highlight that. You don’t have to be a trained designer and you don’t need to know all these methods, but it’s central to have the mindset. Carina Rislund from Hokahey Consulting AB emphasized that many new approaches are “pushed” upon public servants and that they often feel uncomfortable when “left alone” in these new situations. When moving from theory and knowledge into practice then you have to assist, coach and advise public servants. It’s also crucial how to frame the meeting between design practices and the everyday work that civil servants are engaged in. Tomas Edman from Experio Lab explained that they have changed the focus from talking about “bringing design into health care” into emphasizing learning between the two areas. Embodied experience is central and therefore you need to have a focus on doing, all people in an organisation should do a patient/ user journey. “We have to re-think they way civil servants work and having reflexivity becoming part of their normal everyday work.” “Most civil servants within the public sector would argue that they always have been working with a user centred perspective. – Still, it’s a paramount shift in insight when we really step into the shoes of the user and take the perspective of the user.” “We changed the focus from talking about “bringing design into health care” into emphasizing learning between the two areas.”
  10. 10. Forum for Social Innovation Sweden, Seminar - 2014-01-27 “You can show that many policies don’t work, especially if you look at them from a user/citizen perspective.” “Traditional evaluation doesn’t say much about the impact of policy. You evaluate the system, how you have spend the budget, but you don’t have a better understanding of how people use or not-use a policy. This is a failure of NPM. Design on the other hand is interested in the use of things. Design gives you a better understanding of the real practice.” “The potential to involve leaders and politicians in the “empathic gaze” POLICIES AND PRACTISES It seems very hard to affect work cultures that are so strongly established and where NPM and technical rationality is “built into the walls”. However Stéphane Vincent suggests a pragmatic approach where you can show that many policies don’t work, especially if you look at them from a user/citizen perspective. This might be used as an eye opener and by showing this you then might be able to convince policymakers that you need a new approach and open up the process of developing policies. – Traditional evaluation doesn’t say much about the impact of policy. You evaluate the system, how you have spend the budget, but you don’t have a better understanding of how people use or not-use a policy. This is a failure of NPM. Design on the other hand is interested in the use of things. Design gives you a better understanding of the real practice. Åsa Minoz brought up the notion of legitimacy and the potential to involve leaders and politicians in the “empathic gaze”. Like for example the way Göran Hägglund went on a customer journey when Experio Lab was inaugurated. Could that be used further to build greater understanding for the importance of what design practice can achieve amongst top leaders in organizations?
  11. 11. Forum for Social Innovation Sweden, Seminar - 2014-01-27 LIST OF PARTICIPANTS Stephane Vincent La 27e Région Bjarne Stenqvist Malmö Stad Bengt Jacobsson Stockholms centrum för forskning om offentlig sektor Eva-Karin Anderman SVID Jonas Gumbel SVID Klas Danerlöv Sveriges Kommuner och Landsting Marie Pernebring Sveriges Kommuner och Landsting Åsa Minoz Malmö Högskola Sara Modig ModigMinoz AB Carina Rislund Eur.Erg Hokahey Consulting AB Martin Sparr Regeringskansliet Maria Gill Västerås stad Donna Cicek Skatteverket Patrik Derk Telge Hovsjö Stefan Holmlid Linköpings universitet Bo Westerlund Konstfack Peter Ullmark KTH Aditya Pawar Umeå Universitet Ramia Mazé Interactive Institute Brendon Clark Interactive Institute Marie Denward Interactive Institute Maria Hellström Reimer Malmö Högskola Pelle Ehn Malmö Högskola Anders Emilson Malmö Högskola Louisa Szücs Johansson Malmö Högskola Per-Anders Hillgren Malmö Högskola Tomas Edman Experio Lab David Lindeby Experio Lab Jaklina Strand Malmö Stad Caroline Wiryth Skatteverket Hanna Sigsjö Malmö högskola Lotta Solding Forum for Social Innovation Sweden www.socialinnovation.se www.facebook.com/socinn www.twitter.com/MSISweden

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