Redesigning Public Sector Innovation for a New Societal Era
18. October 2019
With our new platform, Future Welfare, we expand and build on some of the most efficient design tools for public sector innovation

Our welfare system – not just in Denmark, but in many advanced economies – is facing great pressure and complex challenges that cannot be addressed by one sector or set of actors alone.  We depend on new systems and technology, new ways of imagining and co-creating services, new ways of collaborating and new competencies. We need new forms of governing.

How can we reimagine our societies and create value for each citizen?

At the Danish Design Centre, we wish to take public sector innovation to the next level. This is why we are launching a new platform, Future Welfare, which will capture the maximum bandwidth of private and public innovation, building on everything, we have learned to date.

Martin Adams

Here are the three main purposes behind the new platform: 


Building a design-led organisation
Firstly, we seek to practice public sector innovation by design. Being positioned slightly outside government structures, we have the freedom and opportunity to build initiatives and span both the private and public sector. We strive to co-design our programmes and projects together with partners, and to co-produce them with those already active in the areas in which we operate. For instance, we explore how global challenges – notably within healthcare and in urbanization – can be addressed through new public-private collaborations. In health, we have created the Boxing Future Health scenarios, where more than 3500 leaders, educators, policy makers, and citizens have now interacted with immersive future experiences. In the city space, we are running a major challenge competition for the philanthropic association Realdania to design new business models that reduce waste in the built environment. We are currently supporting the three winning teams in designing and scaling their businesses. At the international level, we have collaborated with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to build a design-led toolkit for transitioning towards platform governance – a new way of working to achieve the global sustainable development goals (SDGs).

Training leaders for the future
Secondly, we carry out a range of executive training programmes with partners ranging from States of Change (with Nesta) to Oxford Saïd Business School and the European School of Administration to Copenhagen Business School. Our Design Academy trains leaders, and innovators in design methodology for service innovation, business development, and policy making. In our offices in the urban innovation hub in Copenhagen’s BLOX-building, we seek to empower decision-makers from around the world to leverage design as a catalyst for change. One very promising field is to use our scenario work as a way of not only inspiring, but also training civil servants in long-term and future-oriented thinking.

Sharing the tools
Over the past five years, the Danish Design Centre has reinvented itself with the mission of “Empowering business, people, and society to shape the next,” running programs and interventions to bring design to organisations as a transformational resource. We already advise governments across the world on building effective and sustainable innovation labs, and in the coming months and years, we will broaden our work, using cutting-edge and proven design tools.

Sharing our knowledge and tools – open source and free of charge – is key. That is why we have decided to open our new toolbox for everyone.

Towards Future Welfare 
There is an urgent need to continue and accelerate innovation from a systemic approach across sectors: health, social issues, and education, and learning. This means including private stakeholders and NGOs to truly release the potential of co-creating a welfare system that produces new value for citizens and our society, as well as to our companies. Our Future Welfare platform will operate in this intersection, driving long-term and ambitious change.

Daniel Von Appen

The Danish Design Centre will continue to experiment, design, and co-create the future of welfare. Concretely, we will accelerate this work by gathering the strongest minds in a collaborative symposium, inviting international stakeholders, and decisionmakers to Copenhagen to help us create scenarios for future society 2050.

Save the date to explore and take the next steps in shaping the future with us at our conference Experimentation by Design: Building Future Scenarios for Sustainable Change on January 29 2020 in Copenhagen.

We look forward to shaping the next, together.