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Design in Government conference opens today

min read

Design in Government conference opens today

min read


Design in Government conference opens today

Today Minister Catherine Martin TD opened a conference that aims to embed design into the heart of government.

Design in Government is part of Public Service Innovation Week 2022 and is the first of its kind to be held in Ireland. The purpose of the conference is to showcase the benefits of building design capabilities into the public sector for both service users and service providers.

The conference will also include contributions from Michael McGrath TD – Minister for Public Expenditure & Reform and Ossian Smyth, TD – Minister of State with responsibility for Public Procurement and eGovernment and will feature the launch of a prototype of design principles which have been created to embed design techniques into public services Design Principles. These were developed with experts from the public sector, industry and academia to introduce, design and develop a prototype of principles for designing public services.


Headlining the conference were two international leaders in the field of public service design.

  • Lou Downe, former Design Director of the UK Government founded the discipline of service design in the UK government. Lou introduced the concept of Design in Government and shared their own experience in effective design of public services.
  • Mari Nakano drew from her extensive experience with as the former Service Design Director of New York City Office for Economic Opportunity. Her experience demonstrates how positive outcomes reach beyond customer experiences, right through to the way that public servants work and collaborate with one another.

During the pandemic Ireland’s public service responded at speed to the huge challenges that the virus imposed on the effective delivery of government services. As we emerge from the pandemic there is an acknowledgement that the momentum for change must be continued.  The advances made in digitising public services in a time of crisis should give everyone confidence in their ability to make more positive changes. Since then new digital products have been developed which make the daily interactions with government services easier, not only for the users of those services, but for those delivering important services to the public.

In reflecting on the ambitions of the conference Catherine Martin TD Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts & Gaeltacht, Sport & Media stated.

‘My department is delighted to collaborate with Department of Public Expenditure and Reform on this work to embed design thinking in public services. I warmly welcome the opportunities for change that will be generated by this conference. Creativity and design thinking needs to be hardwired into our public services’.

The conference is part of a wider effort. Creative Ireland Programme are currently preparing a Roadmap for the Digital Creative Industries as part of the Programme for Government.  The design-based industries are more relevant than ever to public services as we negotiate a fast-paced, ever changing, and increasingly digitised world.

This sector is growing significantly with multi-national enterprises choosing to locate to Ireland. These businesses value and embed a design-led approach to corporate problem solving and service delivery.

This approach is not only the preserve of the private sector. The public sector must use design to become more innovative and people-centric; to improve the experiences of those who use our services, and to deliver the outcomes and impact which we aspire for our society.


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