Valuing Design

Timeframe: 2014-2017

Identifying and Mapping Design Impact and Value was a 6-month project sponsored by the UK’s Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) aimed at understanding how and what stakeholders value in a design-led approach, specifically focused on public and third sector service innovation projects. The project aimed to identify which characteristics of design are perceived as valuable by different project stakeholders and what impact design-led approach has had on the organisations involved. The research insights have been derived from six co-created (Sanders & Stappers, 2008) case studies of service innovation conducted in UK-based public and third sector organizations. In total eighteen conditions were identified and the ten most important conditions were selected and ranked by the research participants through a workshop validation session. We further clustered these into three overarching themes: community building, capacity, and leadership based on the authors’ previous experiences with public service innovation projects. This research suggests that community building is valued above leadership and capacity as the most important condition for design to have the greatest impact in innovation and transformation projects.