Call For Design Heads In Government Departments

May 15, 2014

The Design Commission, the research arm of the All-Party Parliamentary Design and Innovation Group, has asked all UK government Departments to consider hiring a head of design.

The recommendation comes as part of the group’s proposed reforms that intend to drive innovation within the public sector, boosting the country’s digital economy.

The report, Designing the Digital Economy: Embedding Growth Through Design, Innovation and Technology, claims a number of innovations could drive profitability through a wider design ethos in the digital innovation strategy.

The document calls for a greater focus on aesthetic appeal and greater consideration of more pioneering thinking in product, industrial, service and social design.

By doing this, the Design Commission claims that the challenges facing the digital economy would be better addressed.

The Group argues that the introduction of roles such as “chief user officers” on major projects such as HS2 is a similar introduction to the one they propose and would change the role of design in online services.

Further Suggestions For Digital Innovation

Besides embedding design capabilities within each Department, the report also suggests that the digital technology sector reaches beyond its typical London-centric base.

It also adds that digital design skills should be promoted throughout the national curriculum from primary school age and above.

Besides this, the Commission’s document recommends strengthening the ability of research councils, enabling them to develop design-led cross-disciplinary applications.  

It argues that following the recommendations would lead to diminishing the idea that design and digital are contradictory.

To support its ideas, the Group used the GOV.UK website as an example of a service where user needs have been prioritised above all else.

This, the Commission says, demonstrates that Whitehall already understands the importance of well-designed services.

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