9 August 2006

The Journey to the Interface: how public service design can connect users to reform

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The Journey to the Interface
Engagement and co-production will grow only out of a deeper, richer understanding of how services relate in practice to people’s everyday lives.

Drawing on the principles and practices of the emerging discipline of ‘service design’, this pamphlet (book, really) by Demos, the UK ‘everyday democracy’ think tank, argues that the common challenge which all service organisations face is how to create more intimate and responsive relationships with their users and customers.

Drawing on over 50 interviews with service innovators from the public, private and voluntary sectors The Journey to the Interface makes the case for a fresh approach to public service reform – an approach that is less about competition and contestability, and more about closing the gap between what people want and need, and what service organisations do.

From cleaning the streets to checkouts, from looking after our elderly parents to selling us holidays, more than 20 million people in the UK work in the service sector. The so-called ‘service economy’ now makes up 72% of our GDP. And while most of us work in service; all of us depend on it for many aspects of our existence. The giving and receiving of service has become an unmistakable part of everyday life. But this expansion of the service sector has not heralded a service revolution. Too often people’s day to day experiences are alienating and frustrating.

The pamphlet argues that service design can offer policy makers and practitioners a vision for the transformation of public services, as well as a route to get there. It outlines an agenda for action which spells out how service design approaches can be applied systemically.

- Download pamphlet (pdf, 2.8 mb, 118 pages)
Book review by John Thackara

(via Usability News)

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