Exploring the Value of a Design for Service Approach to Develop Public Services in the Community Voluntary Sector: A Comparative Analysis

By Laura Warwick, Robert Young and Matthew Lievesley.

Published by The International Journal of Design in Society

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: February 7, 2014 $US5.00

This paper presents the findings from two action research case studies that explore the value of using a ‘design for service’ approach to develop public services in the community voluntary sector (CVS). Each case study was conducted within a CVS organisation that was developing or offering public services. Both were local charities that are part of UK federations; the first offering mental health and wellbeing services, the second providing community education services. The paper will present the outcomes of using a ‘design for service’ approach, including systematic inquiry, visualisation, and challenging existing stakeholder perceptions. The comparison will identify similarities and differences in each case. Factors that appear to affect the success of the approach in this context will be discussed, including organisational culture and the perception of ‘design’. These two case studies form the basis of an on-going doctoral programme. Further case studies are planned, to inform an approach framework with implications for a broad range of CVS contexts. This work will add theoretical rigour to design praxis in the emerging area of service innovation for CVS organisations.

Keywords: Design, Public Services, Voluntary Organisations

The International Journal of Design in Society, Volume 7, Issue 2, April 2014, pp.19-33. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: February 7, 2014 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 398.471KB)).

Laura Warwick

Postgraduate Researcher, Department of Design, Faculty of Arts, Design and Social Sciences, Northumbria University, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, UK

Laura Warwick is currently studying for a PhD at Northumbria University, working directly with Third Sector organisations to explore the role that design can play in helping organisations understand their services from their customers’ point of view, particularly during the current times of austerity. Laura has extensive experience working as a Service Designer on projects for Public and Third Sector organisations.

Dr. Robert Young

Chair of Design Practice, School of Design, Northumbria University, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK

Robert Young is Professor of Design Practice in the Faculty of Arts, Design and Social Science, Northumbria University, where he began the first doctoral studies projects in the School assisting twenty-four candidates to gain their PhDs. He is also Director of the Centre for Design Research, specialising in human-centred, research-led design practice projects with private and public sector organisations since 1989 and Coordinator of the Northumbria DESIS Lab (Design, Social Innovation and Sustainability).

Matthew Lievesley

Reader, Department of Design, Faculty of Arts, Design and Social Sciences, Northumbria University, UK

Matthew Lievesley is a Reader in the Department of Design, Faculty of Arts Design and Social Sciences, Northumbria University. His work focuses on the practical application of human-centred design approaches in the development of new services.