Co-designing public services with vulnerable and disadvantaged populations: Insights from an international collaboration

Gillian Mulvale
McMaster University, Canada

Sandra Moll
McMaster University, Canada

Ashleigh Miatello
McMaster University, Canada

Glenn Robert
King’s College, UK

Michael Larkin
The University of Melbourne, Australia

Victoria Palmer
The University of Melbourne, Australia

Alicia Powell
McMaster University, Canada

Chelsea Gabel
McMaster University, Canada

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

Linköping Electronic Conference Proceedings 150:51, s. 629-630

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Publicerad: 2018-07-05

ISBN: 978-91-7685-237-8

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


This paper presents key insights from an ongoing international collaboration designed to explore and enhance the effectiveness of citizens’ engagement in designing public services (track 4 of ServDes.2018). Eight practitioner-led case studies that draw upon service design thinking and approaches to work with vulnerable and disadvantaged populations were examined to explore the experiences of participating in projects across a range of critical social service sectors (including community services, healthcare, housing, employment support, policing, and justice) in three countries. Within and cross-case comparison led to identification of key challenges related to engagement, power differentials, health concerns, funding and other economic and social circumstances that affected meaningful, sustained participation of the stakeholder groups. At ServDes we will share the lessons learned from a co- design process involving leaders and participants in the case studies about designing improvements in public services, with particular attention to engaging vulnerable and disadvantaged populations.


co-design, vulnerable populations, public services


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