Interview with Sung Woo Kim, Professor at Department of Experience Design in The Graduate School of Techno Design at Kookmin University
By Thomas Brandenburg
“So service designers can rebuild trust by improving people’s accessibility to policies; make it easier to access (find it easily), make it easier to read (legibility & readability), design a system where citizens are invited to policy making from the beginning so that they can see and participate the whole policy-making process.” — Sung Woo Kim
What components of service design are most interesting and relevant for public policy making?
I believe 3 components of SD are very relevant in the formulation of public policies that are intended to involve citizens in decision-making. The three components are,
(1) Co-creation which is obviously an effective way of inviting citizens in policy-making.
(2) Capturing people’s context to extract unspoken and unwritten needs Many service design tools – contextual inquiry, service safari, etc – are devised to capture context.
(3) Stakeholder maps are a way to help have a holistic viewpoint – so called big picture – and to understand inter-conflicting interests among stakeholders.
What other knowledge, experience or skills do you see as being valuable for a designer to have in his or her repertoire so that they can effectively be involved in the making of public policy today?
A service designer who would like to seriously engage into policy design field should study basic theories and practices of policy science.
What are new or emerging models of working to overcome challenges and create change in the public sector?
I am not so sure – but so far it seems that theories and practices from social innovation could provide some answers in dealing with challenges and creating change in the public sector.
With the erosion of trust in government and public institutions how can service designers help rebuild it?
If the erosion is mostly due to corruption and antidemocratic then maybe better to go out for candle light protests 🙂 It’s time to fight rather than design.
If the erosion of trust in government comes from the lack of transparency in terms of accessibility (and not in terms of corruption). That is, even though the government has done great job without any corruption, citizens tend to be more suspicious of the government when the government’s decision-making process is not clear, or when their understanding of the policy is low, or when they have less information on the policy.
So service designers can rebuild trust by improving people’s accessibility to policies; make it easier to access (find it easily), make it easier to read (legibility & readability), design a system where citizens are invited to policy making from the beginning so that they can see and participate the whole policy-making process.
How would you like to see the practice of service design evolve to support public policy?
I would like to see service designers work in public institutions as public officials. I would like service design classes and trainings are provided to students studying in the department of public administration and politics. I hope that the areas such as policy design and government experience design will grow into independent fields and the theoretical framework of these fields will be established.
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