Design and Government

"Design Den Haag 2010-2018 researches the relation between Design and Government in Europe within an international context, from cultural, economic and social viewpoints. Starting summer 2010, Design Den Haag will organize a total of five public events biennially in the field of design, architecture and visual communication, with exhibitions, publications, lectures and debates, workshops and documentary films.

Each edition will entail a collaboration between Den Haag and another European government Capital: Berlin (2010), Stockholm (2012), Paris (2014), London (2016) and Rome (2018). Every edition will be evaluated.

Final evaluation of the five editions will be submitted as report to the European Union at the end of 2018. This report will contain recommendations concerning the betterment of relations between design and governance, and on governmental funds for the quality of design, architecture and visual communication."

The site is full of projects from all over the world that touch themes such as cultural diversity, society, identity and perception. They contribute to a better understanding about creativity amongst the government,and amongst designers.  I like this one - a chair constructed without any industry material and no specific color. The chair is not for sale in shops and can also not be bought trough internet. In fact it is a pleasurable chair for just some minutes. Made by happy people, focusing on trust and relationships.

Follow them on twitter.

Although it seems they might be missing the nitty gritty stuff that makes governments sit up and listen...

Frontiers of Service in a Networked World

Future Gov are working with colleagues Stephen Goldsmith and Zach Tumin at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government to research the “now wave” and the “next wave” of public service delivery around the world. And they would like your help.

"Today more than ever the prospect (and need) for network-enabled collaborations between governments, citizens, industry and non-governmental organizations is high. No one can go it alone; the costs of services are ever increasing, the influence of governments to control the entire agenda limited, and the need for quality and greater value critical.

Technology and networks open the door to new collaborations, and improved performance, whether for the production of health, safety, or employment, for example, or for transactional services, everything from certifications and licenses to tax.

In the coming weeks, leaders of these efforts from five nations – Australia, the UK, the United States, New Zealand and Canada - will be gathering at Harvard for a roundtable discussion to share current best practices and understand the prospects for the next wave of service reform. What has proven useful? Where is the best next investment? What are the critical enablers for success?

Where is the “now wave,” and where is the “next wave” ? We would like your nominations for best practice now and over the coming years. We will be gathering these and sharing at the roundtable."

"Our focus is on service delivery (not e-democracy per se) and in particular:

  • Personalisation of public services
  • Co-production and re-design of public services
  • Reducing the cost of government, in particular through joining up public service delivery within and across organisations including the shared service agenda particularly around transactional services
  • New ways of governing in terms of formal governance arrangements but also re-balancing of power between the citizen and the state
  • New ways of performance managing / measuring impact and outcomes
  • New tools and technologies

And we would love to enlist your help in answering those questions! What better way to show the power of many minds to the future of government than through a crowdsourced report writing collaboration?"

They have put together a short survey to capture your thoughts and ideas on the big trends of the moment, who and what projects are really setting the world alight in their respective field of front or back office functions from healthcare to environment and even government finance? And then where next…

FutureGov are interested in your examples of real world practice – service innovations; tools proven or in trials or use; examples of new approaches to performance measure and management of cross-organization/shared mission efforts.

Tell them:

  • What’s the initiative?
  • Where is it? Who’s doing it?
  • What tools are enabling change?
  • How do / will performance measures and metrics work in this context?
  • What’s the governance arrangement like?
  • What evidence is there of value – financial, or improved satisfaction, reduced waste or loss, improved outcomes…

If you take part and your suggestions are included, you will be given full attribution in the final report. ( studio - unbounders, graduates and students - this is a big chance to get your name in print and get your voice heard! )

Go for it! Definitely one for MyPolice and PatientOpinion !

EASY COUNCIL: Council inspired by Ryanair

The Guardian reports: "A leading Conservative council is using the business model of budget airlines, Ryanair and easyJet, to inspire a radical reform of public service provision which is being seen as a blueprint for Tory government." How does this work? Well, would you pay extra to get your planning permission quicker? The council will offer a basic service and enable people to get more if they pay extra. The same way you get on the plane first if you pay Ryanair a little more.


This scheme is already in place in the London Borough of Barnett and it is predicted that other councils think this is the approach they will need to adopt in the future.

The article has ruffled many feathers:

"Well, it's being called choice, and targeting, but what it means is, there's to be a fast service with trimmings for the richer, and a longer wait for a basic service for the poorer.Presumably this will eventually be the model for the NHS as well..."

"Is it simply that someone with more money can get something better - that's what's money for."

I think this is a really interesting debate...although I can't help but think there is something very wrong with using Ryanair as a role model?

Thank you to Jonathan for discovery.

Goverment apology over NHS care

Health Secretary Alan Johnson has apologised to the families and patients who suffered appalling care at Stafford Hospital.


"He announced a review of current A&E services and a second inquiry to look at how long problems had been going on for at Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust.

He said: "On behalf of the Government and the NHS I would like to apologise to the patients and families of patients who have suffered because of the poor standards of care at Stafford Hospital. There was a complete failure of management to address serious problems and monitor performance. This led to a totally unacceptable failure to treat emergency patients safely and with dignity."

Between 400 and 1,200 more people died than would have been expected at Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust over three years, a report said.

Although it is not clear how many of these deaths could have been avoided, the Healthcare Commission said patients undoubtedly suffered as a result of lapses in the standard of care.

Its investigation, based on more than 300 interviews and an examination of over 1,000 documents, found inadequately trained staff who were too few in number, junior doctors left alone in charge at night and patients left without food, drink or medication as their operations were repeatedly canceled.

Some patients were left in pain or needing the toilet, sat in soiled bedding for several hours at a time and were not given their regular medication, the Commission heard.

Receptionists with no medical training were expected to assess patients coming in to A&E, some of whom needed urgent care."

A service disaster.

Touching the State

Touching the state is a publication by the Design Council. Despite the paper being a few years old it is still highly relevant. It asks the question: "What does it mean to be a citizen in the 21st century?" By looking specifically at voting, jury service and the new citizenship ceremony this project questions "Can these encounters be designed differently to increase engagement and sense of citizenship?"


The paper is a fantastic demonstration of how to visually convey design enhancing relationships.