1. Build a shared understanding around the value of design

Not everyone understands design in the same way. Getting a shared view and a common perspective about what it means to you and your sector is key to getting people on board. Build a compelling narrative around how design-led thinking can play a role in helping to evolve public services and better meet the needs of citizens. Find ways to share and develop a consistent language others can associate with.

2. Use examples to showcase the practical value and long-term impact of design

Illustrate the impact of design so that people can easily get the message. Identify cases that are relevant to your audience, for example in the same sector or country, and then use the stories and evidence of outcomes to demonstrate the impact that design can have. You can find relevant examples through the interactive map.

3. Understand how putting people at the heart of your work ensures that solutions relate more to their needs

Design thinking enables deeper user engagement, resulting in solutions that are more straightforward and enjoyable to use. The products you use every day are tuned to think about your needs, and public services should be designed in the same way. Taking a human-centred design approach to innovation will foster a deeper level of empathy with end users, helping to define the right problems and using prototyping to evolve the right solutions.

4. Design is more than just an output: acknowledge the impact that it can have on broader culture

Many people enter the public sector because they want to change people’s lives for the better, and user-centred design practices align with that motivation. Organisational cultures can benefit from taking a design-led approach to innovation: it’s energising to learn new skills, work collaboratively and design services that are more user-centred. Think about how you can persuasively tell the story of how a design-led approach could benefit your organisation’s culture as a whole, as well as specific projects.

5. Identify key problems where a design thinking approach could make an obvious difference

Can you think of any particular problems where current approaches haven’t worked? Or issues where design thinking could add something new and valuable? These could be areas where you know that deeper user engagement could help you to reach a better definition of the problem itself, or projects with a lot of uncertainty (for example the need to design new systems for future population changes) where a prototyping approach could help you to make the issue more tangible. Read more about how to choose a project.