Symposium: Design Thinking for Public Good
I initiated and organized the innovation symposium Design Thinking for Public Good 2015. The one-day symposium took place at Macromedia University in Munich, supported by a range of renowned organisations from the UK, Denmark, France and Germany.
Distinguished speakers from theory and practice informed about global trends and challenges in public sector innovation through Design Thinking. The event featured presentations, workshops and panel discussions, and was partly funded by the Bavarian State Ministry for Economic Affairs and Media, Energy and Technology. It was organized in partnership with NESTA UK and supported by Design For Europe, MindLab Denmark, Innovation lab La 27e Région France and HYVE Innovation Group Germany.
Download the symposium program:
Integrating Design Thinking Methods into Public Sector Innovation.
In the last decades design has become increasingly recognized as a driver of economic growth. Communication, interaction, product, game and fashion are only a few examples of well-known design disciplines, where designers have successfully used their specific expertise and approaches to create innovation. But the world has become increasingly complex and design has begun to analyse its unique approaches and qualities to tackle problems. Highly complex problems, usually in form of social or cultural challenges, e.g. poverty, sustainability, health, wellness or equality, where many stakeholders with conflicting perspectives are involved, where a multitude of shifting and unfamiliar elements are encountered and where the problem itself is very difficult to define, are labelled with the term “wicked problems”. Design today, with its unique methods and processes, looks way beyond traditional design tasks and has become a crucial contributor to problem solving strategies, in particular when tackling “wicked problems”, where other established innovation processes struggle on their own. In “Design Thinking” these intellectual and practical design qualities are formalized and combined into a methodology, that emphasizes empathy, ethnographic research, abductive reasoning, playful ideation, and prototyping with rapid testing cycles to provide a structured, yet creative and agile approach to innovation. The field of design today is not only successful in the pursuit of the development of communication and products, but also of services and systems. For instance, designers apply their knowledge and problem solving skills to create e.g. innovative social media communications, they develop products which truly make a difference in peoples’ lives, they invent new meaningful service experiences and they strategically plan new systems and environments to help citizens to actively engage in their communities. An increasing number of private organizations have understood what significant value Design Thinking and its processes can add to their competitive capacity. Yet, in the public sector only very few countries have begun to utilize design-driven methods in order to support innovation within public services. Denmark, France, Australia and the UK are some examples where Design Thinking is considered as a new means to approach innovation projects within the public sector. The Design Thinking For Public Good Conference 2015 in Munich strives to create attention for Design Thinking theory and practice, and aims to connect practitioners from private and public organizations in order to facilitate exchange and to foster learning. Prof. Oliver Szasz, Vice Head Graduate School Munich of Macromedia University, invites to this international Design Thinking symposium with expert presentations, workshops and panel discussions. Participants will get the opportunity to explore theory and practice: from methodologies and conceptual models to hands-on techniques and examples of successfully implemented public innovation cases from around the world.
Prof. Oliver Szasz, Vice Head Graduate School Munich, Professor of Digital Media and Communication Design at Macromedia University of Applied Sciences, Germany.
With an academic background in sociology, political science and philosophy, Oliver Szasz is focusing his design research on human-centered design, design thinking, social innovation, sustainability and innovative approaches to didactics. Prior to his professorship at Macromedia University, Oliver Szasz was managing director of his own independent design consultancy in London from 2001 until 2011. He has extensive international experience as a strategic design consultant for global private and public organisations. Besides his teaching, Oliver Szasz participates in the academic debate about design thinking and public sector design with critical writing, theoretical and practical research, and contributes with advice, workshops and MOOCs in Design Thinking for management and public sector innovation.
Dr. Michael Bartl, CEO, HYVE Innovation Group
Innovation leaders such Audi, Beiersdorf, BMW, Mondelez, Gore, Siemens, Unilever and many more rely on HYVE’s consumer-centric innovation model. He has published in international academic journals such as Journal of Product Innovation Management, Electronic Commerce Research Journal, and is research fellow of the Peter Pribilla Foundation. He is the author of the E-Journal “The Making-of Innovation” (http://www.makingofinnovation.com) and a regular speaker and host at innovation and other industry conferences. From 2011 to 2014 Michael served on the national executive committee of the German Association of Market and Social Research (BVM). In 2012 he was appointed as German senator to the Senat der Wirtschaft, which is part of the Global Economic Network.
Dr. Beatrix Behrens, Head of division HR Policies, Federal Employment Agency
Dr. Beatrix Behrens is currently Head of division HR Policies at the headquarter of the Bundesagentur für Arbeit (Federal Employment Agency). Here, her responsibilities include the development and implementation of their engagement index. She has also worked extensively on the development of their integrated competency-based HR Management system, and Demographic-sensitive HR Management and Managing Diversity. She is a Visiting Fellow at the European Institute of Public Administration (HR, Leadership) and is currently seconded to the OECD to work in the field of HR with the focus on employee engagement.
Prof. Dr. Richard Buchanan, Department Chair, Design & Innovation Professor, Weatherhead School of Management, Case Western Reserve University, USA
Dr. Buchanan is well-known for extending the application of design into new areas of theory and practice, writing and teaching as well as practicing the concepts and methods of interaction design. He argues that interaction design does not stop at the flatland of the computer screen, but extends into the personal and social life of human beings and into the emerging area of service design, as well as into organizational and management design.
Brenton Caffin, NESTA, Director of Innovation Skills
Brenton is Nesta’s Director of Innovation Skills, leading Nesta‘s work to help people and organisations get better at innovating for the common good. Brenton is an innovative and strategic thinker and regularly presents to and advises national and global organisations, including UN agencies, on a wide range of issues relating to social and public sector innovation. He is an advisor to the Adelaide Festival of Ideas and former board member of the global Social Innovation Exchange and the Institute for Public Administration Australia.
Sonja Dahl, NESTA, Senior Programme Manager
Before joining Nesta, Sonja was Head of Design at the Design Council and was instrumental in the design and development of their Leadership Programmes for the public and private sectors. She also led on the recruitment and management of their national network of Design Associates and worked to streamline service delivery, support evaluation and impact measurement, and drive quality assurance of products, materials and tools.
Prof. Dr. Juergen Faust, President of Macromedia University, Professor of Digital Media, Macromedia University of Applied Sciences, Germany
Juergen Faust has specialized in managing through designing and published about the idea transferring design methods and processes into the Management field, based on his work about a comprehensive theory to describe design processes. He also teaches design and design theory. He contributed to a variety of books and publications. He recently finished his doctorate in Philosophy at the University of Plymouth, focusing on design theory.
Niels Hansen, MindLab Denmark Program manager, MS Administration
Niels Hansen works on developing new solutions to organisational problems. As program manager, he focuses on how complex organisations will be better able to work toward strategic objectives. He has expertise in impact assessment and evaluation, which make it possible for organisations to document the effects of development work. He works in particular with projects requiring understanding of large systems and the organisation of work across organisations and sectors.
Prof. Dr. Sabine Junginger, Fellow, the Hertie School of Governance, Visiting Professor, Macromedia University of Applied Sciences
Sabine Junginger, PhD, links policy-making and policy-implementation with human-centered design and organizational design practices. Her work has garnered interest from policy-makers and public managers nationally and internationally, including the OECD (France); CIDE (Mexico), NESTA (UK). She was among the researchers Chancellor Merkel invited to the 2nd International Deutschland Forum on Society and Innovation. Recent writings look at “Policy-Making as Designing” and “Public Innovation Labs: A Byway to Public Sector Innovation?”. She is a Fellow at the Hertie School of Governance in Berlin and Member of the Advisory Board of Mindlab (Denmark). She recently joined Macromedia University of Applied Sciences as a Visiting Professor.
Stéphane Vincent, Executive director and founder of the French innovation lab La 27e Région.
La 27e Région is a public innovation lab, in particular for regional administrations. This NGO was created in 2008 partly in response to the so-called „New Public Management reforms“ of the public sector. La 27e Région is trying to bring new values and cultures inspired by social innovation, service design and social sciences into public administrations, in aim to radically change the way public policies are designed.