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How do we help or support people that live in situations that do not fit into a system’s categories, e.g. by transforming perceptions of what a system can be? This question is constantly reoccurring in the development of our public service systems, writes Jesper Christiansen, anthropologist at MindLab, a Danish cross-ministerial innovation unit, on the NESTA site.

“A very obvious example where this matter is persistent is the area of social care for vulnerable families. This area is increasingly becoming a nightmare scenario for Western nation states across the world. These are often at-risk families, which access many different services and are involved in several case plans at the same time. The challenge is to coordinate and integrate services that are addressing such different issues like child behaviour and education, domestic violence, drug or alcohol abuse, unemployment or work injury, financial crisis, unstable housing, physical or mental illness or other more or less common hardships of everyday life.

Working with Australian design agency ThinkPlace, MindLab took part in a project that set out to address these issues and transform the service system dealing with vulnerable families in the ACT region of Australia. The purpose was to develop new capabilities and processes to co-design and co-produce services with current service users as part of introducing a new human-centred, systemic approach to improve outcomes for vulnerable families.”

Other recent readings by MindLab:

Co-production (pdf)
How do we ensure collaboration with all the actors who can potentially make a contribution to the challenges we face? Can juvenile first time offenders be sentenced by youths with a criminal record? To see the citizens’ resources and design welfare with them rather than to them – that is what we call co-production. Read cases and useful principles on the subject in this pamphlet. [Video]

Design-Led Innovation in Government
Christian Bason’s reflections on design-led innovation in the public sector and the three challenges it raises.
(Published in the Stanford Social Innovation Review)