Unlocking the democratic potential of design capabilities in public management

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Public management needs to keep pace with contemporary problems and harvest capabilities to meet future scenarios. Consequently, practitioners in the public field must advocate for critical discussions and engage with people who are going to benefit from their guidance. The purpose of the current research is to investigate strategies to
strengthen public management by exploring the potential of Design Thinking as a policy competency. A participatory design approach has been selected to co-create a learning environment for building design capabilities. In other words, a safe space that allows for sharing and nurturing knowledge, skills and attitudes. The setup of the participatory process entails a thorough exploration, in which a team of seven public managers of a regional association of municipalities participated. In four participatory sessions, a learning space has been iteratively prototyped, and finally evaluated in the context. Advantages and challenges to the selected approach are discussed to provide guidelines for a practical
application and replication of the process within the target domain. It can be concluded that design interventions developed with the current integrated design approach have demonstrated viable opportunities for capacity-building inpublic management.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of 22th DMI: Academic Design Management Conference
Subtitle of host publicationImpact the Future by Design
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 2020
Event22th DMI: Academic Design Management Conference - Impact the Future by Design - Toronto, Canada
Duration: 3 Aug 20207 Aug 2020


Conference22th DMI: Academic Design Management Conference - Impact the Future by Design


  • Participatory design
  • Design Capabilities
  • Learning environment
  • Collaboration
  • Public management
  • Capacity building
  • Co-reflection

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