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Embedding Design in Local Government


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Andrea is the Chief Designer at Cornwall Council with responsibility for service design and innovation. In this talk Andrea will discuss the challenges and successes of engaging a Local Authority in design practices. Having directed the multi award-winning social enterprise ‘Designs of the Time’ (Dott Cornwall) for two years, Andrea will also consider the value of design as a way of encouraging new approaches to local government innovation.

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Embedding Design in Local Government

  1. 1. Embeddingdesign in localgovernment Dr Andrea Siodmok Chief Designer Cornwall Council 7th Nov 2012 House of Lords
  2. 2. Helsinki World Design Capital
  3. 3. Design can act big and small. It can change the course ofhistory. The US ‘Butterfly Ballot’ forms in 2000 confusedsome voters with the election being won by 537 votes.
  4. 4. Design has become commoditised. Most notably in the1980s, which has had an impact on the industry. The term‘innovation’ is facing the same misuse and dilution.
  5. 5. Design is critical to Europe and to sustainable growth.The recent European Design Leadership board has maderecommendations to ensure design is key to recovery.
  6. 6. With Europe’s support Cornwall has invested over £250min innovation infrastructure in the last three years makingit one of the most connected places in the world.
  7. 7. Pool Innovation Centre £12m
  8. 8. Tremough Innovation Centre £13m
  9. 9. Health and Wellbeing Innovation centre (HWIC) £13m
  10. 10. Academy of Innovation& Research £9m
  11. 11. Socialdesign iscollaborative
  12. 12. ProfessionalrealmPublic realm
  13. 13. ProfessionalrealmPublic realm
  14. 14. Centralised Innovation: professionals designing newProfessional solutions forrealm people co-design and Collaborative co-delivery of Innovation new solutions with people UserPublic realm Innovation: New grass roots solutions developed by people
  15. 15. fiscal Centralised capital Innovation: Professional professionals Innovation designing new solutions for people co-design and Collaborative co-delivery of Innovation new solutions with people User User Innovation Innovation: New grass roots solutions developed social by peoplecapital
  16. 16. Pro-designCo-designNo-design
  17. 17. Theimperative
  18. 18. Designers are naturally optimistic and constantlydissatisfied. The many challenges we face in the nextdecade call for creativity, fresh thinking and pragmatism.
  19. 19. St Ives from Tate Hopes & DreamsWorld leaders in Davos 2012 cited growing inequality asthe most important issue after the economy that needs St Austelladdressing.
  20. 20. LooeThe economic crisis has caused a big rethink. The wickedproblems we face are hard to define, persistent andcontradictory and can require us to ask new questions.
  21. 21. PenzanceCan less be more? How can the public sector cut costs by50% and still meet growing public expectations for choiceand quality? The solutions inevitably become more radical
  22. 22. Lands EndDo we reconfigure existing services? Or create, reinvent,enable new peer-peer services like 21st century hitch Penzancehiking using digital technologies and social capital.
  23. 23. Change isinevitable
  24. 24. Shaped by Us...Making good ideas happen@shapecornwall
  25. 25. Shaped by Us projectSketching to think. Visualising new ideas can be apowerful force for change, helping people co-design andco-create ideas for the future together.
  26. 26. Shaped by Us project A picture paints a thousand words. Designer’s ability to draw out an abstract idea can make it more concrete so it can be shared, challenged and improved.
  27. 27. Co-discovery is democratic. To start our challenge webuilt a post-it note wall so elected members could identifyone thing they would redesign to make Cornwall better.
  28. 28. County HallThe post-its cost a few pounds and we have used the wallover and over again. It remained outside the councilchamber for a week for all staff and members to see.
  29. 29. County HallEach post-it note had the name of the Council member andthe area they represent – 123 ideas from ‘Stop seagullsattacking rubbish’ to ‘Have a strategy for Cornwall’.
  30. 30. Royal Cornwall ShowgroundDesign is positive. At our leadership conference 200 staffposted their ‘best public service experience’ on the wallbefore starting an Open Space Technology (OST) session.
  31. 31. We work on the ground with local people, listening in newways and developing a ‘common sense’ of current needsand perceptions.
  32. 32. We show up in unusual places confounding expectationsand in that moment engaging people in new ways.
  33. 33. Making it fun, easy and satisfying to get involved.
  34. 34. We use the web to share ideas with thousands of peopleto build momentum and focus through digital tools, spooffilms and social media.
  35. 35. Our radical approach ignites peoples’ passion to make adifference. We ask unthinkable questions and allowaudacious ideas to be considered.
  36. 36. And by getting everyone involved in contributing ideas,experience and knowledge through co-design techniqueswe turn self interest into shared interests.
  37. 37. Five Challenges
  38. 38. Mentors worked with communities to shape ideas andbuild realistic business plans, encouragingentrepreneurialism
  39. 39. Our Community Innovation Awards at the Eden Projectgave a platform to local people. We created an Angel’sDen of experts who invested in the best proposals.
  40. 40. / Discovering ChallengesTransport & Town & Energy & Learning & Healthcare &Mobility Country Environment Skills WellbeingInfrastructure Homes & Agriculture Politics & Work && Technology Community & Food Democracy Economy
  41. 41. What can design do?— Unearth where the real problem lies— Understand motives and latent needs in order to create the right incentives for behaviour change— Prototype, test, iterate and de-risk policy ideas— Create space to ‘think differently’ 80% of impact is determined in the design phase— Reduce cost of services by designing-in solutions
  42. 42. Social design:Is brave
  43. 43. For example, we built a hotel in a day from 10,000 disusedtent poles with 1,000s of volunteer hours for disaster reliefcharity ShelterBox raising £1,000s for a good cause.
  44. 44. In one project we used apples as cultural probes.
  45. 45. Social design:Is humble
  46. 46. We are building our knowledge of co-design techniques tobreak down barriers and challenge false perceptions so thatlocal people can be actively involved creating new ideas.
  47. 47. Our change starts small and without expense, such aslocal children co-designing a new community centre usingcake to build the walls and furniture.
  48. 48. Peer to peer community reporters have brought newinsights into different people’s lives. We would have haddifferent responses wearing suits and carrying clip boards.
  49. 49. Social design:Is subtle
  50. 50. Trust is the currency of community. Building trust withlocal people has taken many different forms, includingcreating a Christmas tree of wishes.
  51. 51. Social design:Is naive
  52. 52. In our evaluation a quote showed the importance ofethnographic insights ‘what do designers know aboutfishing and fishermen’
  53. 53. Social design:Is skillful and fun
  54. 54. Image: Carbon calculator and winning school#8 Eco-design challenge Students calculated their school’s carbon footprint with online tools anddeveloped a range of ideas to tackle waste and reduce CO2. Dick Strawbridge and judges from Nesta, In the Eco-design Challenge schoolchildren showed howDesign Council and Cornwall Council awarded £15k to three schools to implement their ideas. good ideas can be implemented through peer power.
  55. 55. Our innovationchallenge isacross theboard
  56. 56. Thinking Room was created in April 2011 to develop nextgeneration public services following from Designs of theTime programme in Cornwall (
  57. 57. It is based at Cornwall Council but operates across theprivate, public and third sector to develop radical newthinking and approaches to Cornwall’s future.
  58. 58. We use creative techniques and tools to workcollaboratively with citizens, professionals, designers andpolicy makers to develop new ideas.
  59. 59. Because in our vision, people lead change and use theirlocal knowledge, networks, ingenuity and compassion todeeply understand how to create meaningful change.
  60. 60. Our youngest innovators are learning to speak, our oldesthave been retired for decades, often the best ideas comethrough bringing together new and old perspectives.
  61. 61. We like unconventional wisdom, and find asking the samequestions in new places creates magical results. Ourdinner in a boatyard kick-started new Dinner by Something from Us Mirrored thinking.
  62. 62. We try and tackle the burning issues of our times, workingacross areas of employment, health, energy, transport,housing to name a few.
  63. 63. Finally we spend as much effort changing the system sothat radical becomes the normal way of working so ratherthan finding a quick fix we build a permanent fixture.
  64. 64. 1. Inspire Change by sharing good ideas and practices A workshop for project managers with ‘props’ tackling a range of challenges, identifying and understanding how to remove inefficiencies and improve innovation.Thinking Room: Nov 2011
  65. 65. Capacity building Thinking Room is not a lab or a space, it is an approach that we have been sharing throughout the council. It hasThinking Room practical methods and tools. @thinking_room
  66. 66. Our approach is simple and our work often turnsconvention on its head by creating space and time todiscover real needs.
  67. 67. Some sketches from our co-design session whichinformed the heath and wellbeing strategy.
  68. 68. Policy level Strategic change System levelTransformational design Services level Design of new service Insight level
  69. 69. Thanks to…Nesta / LGA Creative Councils programmeDott Cornwall partners: Design Council, Cornwall Council, TechnologyStrategy Board, University College FalmouthImages from FlickrSocial and Service Design teams:Sea CommunicationsThink PublicSomething from UsLeap Design for ChangeCognitive MediaTwoBoexCornwall Design* Views in this presentation my own based on experience in Dott Cornwall and CornwallCouncil developing Thinking Room & Shaped by Us @shapecornwall @thinking_room