Design Innovation in Society









The Challenges of Human-Centred Design in a Public Sector Innovation Context 

Mieke van der bijl-brouwer 

University of Technology, Sydney

Keywords: public sector, human-centred design, design innovation, methods and tools


The world is increasingly faced with complex societal problems such as climate change, an ageing population, radicalising youth and chronic health problems. Public sector organisations have a key role in addressing these issues. It is widely acknowledged that tackling these problems requires new approaches and methods. Design, and in particular human-centred design, offers opportunities to develop these methods. In this paper I argue that a new type of human-centred innovation practice is necessary to adjust traditional user-centred design methods and tools to the public sector innovation context. This context involves different types of stakeholders with conflicting needs and aspirations, and requires a precise articulation of the value of human-centred design. I will propose a possible answer to these challenges through a case study relating to severe mental illness, in which we applied Dorst’s frame creation methodology, in combination with the NADI-model of Needs and Aspirations for Design and Innovation. 

This paper is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International licence.

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Cite this paper: van der Bijl-Brouwer, M. (2016). The Challenges of Human-Centred Design in a Public Sector Innovation Context.  Proceedings of DRS 2016, Design Research Society 50th Anniversary Conference. Brighton, UK, 27–30 June 2016.

This paper will be presented at DRS2016, find it in the conference programme

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