Conference article

Learning to design in public sector organisations: A critique towards effectiveness of design integration

Stefan Holmlid
Linköping University, Sweden

Lisa Malmberg
County council of Sörmland, Swededn

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Published in: ServDes2018. Service Design Proof of Concept, Proceedings of the ServDes.2018 Conference, 18-20 June, Milano, Italy

Linköping Electronic Conference Proceedings 150:4, p. 37-48

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Published: 2018-07-05

ISBN: 978-91-7685-237-8

ISSN: 1650-3686 (print), 1650-3740 (online)


There has been a surge the last decade in the public sector to strive for transformation processes driven by design, to integrate design in the organisations and develop design capability and design culture. We draw on experiences from a range of projects, that are summarized in the form of exemplars. As analytic lenses, we use two constructivist learning theories, situated learning and socio-cultural learning, with associated concepts. Through these lenses we can show how the learning processes in the projects we have followed is not enough to drive integration of design or develop design capability. We can also show that the role of management practices is central to the effect of these learning processes. We can also show potential consequences of relying on individual’s knowledge in consecutive learning processes. We conclude that, from a situated and socio-cultural perspective, there are important challenges for organisations that wants to develop their design culture, and challenges for management to take on, to achieve the integration of design and an increased design capability.


design capability, learning theory, situated learning, socio-cultural, experiential learning, communities of practice, design culture


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