The Service Design Impact Report gives a broad overview on service design driven activities in governments and public service organisations all over the world. The report shows how strong the role of design in the public sector has become and how impactful it can be. At the same time it gives insights in many opportunities yet to exploit.

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In our study we have identified five different areas that are relevant for service design: policy making, cultural and organizational change, training and capacity building, citizens engagement and digitization.

Service design is taking a role in “policy creation”. Not only does it bring in-depth insights in the needs and constraints of citizens that help to design policies that really work for citizens - it also enables and facilitates processes of co-creation with different stakeholders. Policies are perceived as a piece of design work that is in a constant development and they are made by people for people.

Service design is also taking a role in the process of cultural and organizational change. It collaborates with other experts in this field in order to enable change by reframing the challenges, by engaging stakeholders in development of scenarios of futures that do not yet exist and by prototyping envisioned scenarios. These processes change the role of public servants from experts to partners. It is no longer the public service that is doing something for the citizens but doing it with them.

This new way of thinking and working demands not only a change in mindset, but also in the way of doing things. Service design helps to build these new capacities. Very often it is a combination of teaching and learning by doing, in the process of capacity building small service design projects can be approached that create a sense of what service design can do and how to do it.

In this sentence service design works along with existing practices of citizens engagement and enriches them by the design approach. People are no longer victims of circumstances but creators of environments.

Very often we find that the digitalization of public services is the entrance door for designers. So enabling designers to expand their capacities and showcase how service design does not only polish the bits and bytes but really changes the way we live and work.

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