Using good design to meet challenges facing public services.

Wednesday 24th November – I attended a lecture organised by the Design Council and the Public Management and Policy Association (PMPA).

The subject of the lecture was ‘Using good design to meet challenges facing public services.’

It was presented by Lord Michael Bichard of Nailsworth.

Lord Bichard opened lecture by commenting on Britains role as one of the world leaders in design and how other nations look to Britain as a source of inspiration.

He then went on to talk about several designers who were nominated for the Prince Philip Designers Prize 2010.

He talked briefly on the achievements of each of designers. Some of which you may have heard of: Neville Brody (graphics, typography, communications), Vivienne Westwood (fashion), Margaret Calvert (road signage) Zaha Hadid (architecture and urban design), Adrian Newey (F1 engineer/racing), Bill Moggridge (designer of the first ever laptop).

Lord Bichard said that ‘UK design is a success story’, an industry worth over 15 billion per year.

Even at this time of recession he claimed that ‘good design fuels success of business’ and its ‘central to economic prosperity’. The coming together of technology and  design will continue to work together.

The introduction of social media technologies, like facebook is having an impact on the way we communicate. As technologies continue to evolve, so to will the way in which this presented.

Its often seen that design, is about ‘products’, or the final outcome. However, its important to realise the ‘process’ which takes place.

There were a few points which Lord Bichard highlighted about new ways to provide and deliver public services:

  • How? Design? – services at the moment may be seen to be ‘too complex’. There is a need to simply and create better functionality, as there maybe difficulty in understanding the message.
  • The need to build design around the consumer, not necessarily around the client. There is a need to create simplicity and involve the consumer in the process.
  • Innovate. Requirement to do things differently. Maybe we are being too reserved. There maybe a risk involved, but the outcome may prove to be more successful than the ‘safer’ option.
  • ‘Search for design on the front line’. The solution could be more successful and fulfill the requirement if research is done first hand. Lord Bichard used the example of designing for the NHS. Preventing the spread of bugs such as MRSA has lead to new products being designed for hospitals, which are easier to clean and maintain, thus reducing the spread of disease.
  • Important to teach and train on the importance of design and delivery from an early age.

I found the lecture very interesting and there were some great lessons to take away. Some of the points mentioned above show how design and its processes can impact public services and the world around it.

Thank you to the design council.

For more information visit
http://www.designcouncil.org.uk/our-work/Support/Public-Services-by-Design/The-role-of-design-in-public-services-briefing/

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