Proceedings of DRS2018: Design as a Catalyst for Change (2018)

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Park-Lee, S., & Person, O. (2018). Perspective: the gist of public tender for service design. In C. Storni, K. Leahy, M. McMahon, P. Lloyd, & E. Bohemia (Eds.), Proceedings of DRS2018: Design as a Catalyst for Change (pp. 3078–3089). Limerick. Doi: 10.21606/dma.2018.367


Governments around the world are increasingly formalising design as an innovative approach to renew public services. In this development, the capabilities of external service design consultancies often play an important part, which calls for new insights into how public organisations procure the expertise of consultancies and what contributions designers can make to public-sector organisations. In unravelling such insights, we review preliminary data from an ongoing case study of service design procurement practices in Finland. Our initial findings suggest that the types of work service design consultancies carry out for public-sector clients are dictated in part by the requirements set in different procurement practices. Through reviewing real-life cases against the backdrop of extant literature in design, we discern three emergent challenges in existing procurement practices and present opportunities for future research. The implications are relevant for practitioners in design consultancies and public organisations alike in identifying new practices for service design.

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Strategic Design Integration and Management research group (SDIM) is at the Department of Design, School of Arts, Design and Architecture, Aalto University, Finland