The Value of Service Design to the Voluntary Community Sector

Timeframe: 2011-2015

This PhD research focused on understanding the value of Service Design to Voluntary Community Sector (VCS) organisations delivering public services. Data gathered from working with three voluntary organisations showed it helped charities to: develop more customer-focused services; make financial gains; and make transformational service, system and policy changes.

The design work completed as part of the research resulted in over £650,000 in BIG Lottery Reaching Communities grants for two local charities, and contributed to a successful Arts Council bid of £1.5 million for another local voluntary organisation. This was the first known research to focus on the value of Service Design to the voluntary sector and led to the creation of the first ever SD programme in a voluntary organisation ‘Service design in mind‘.

The understanding gained through this PhD has formed the basis of much of Laura’s subsequent work in the sector, and has informed the use of Service Design in numerous national and international charities.