Shropshire Council

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How we came about

In 2010 Shropshire Council took its first steps towards mainstreaming design thinking across the organisation. The council had taken a design based approach to help them ‘understand the barriers to physical activity’. Using ethnography they were able to design solutions that put citizens at the heart of a new service offer. This successful first step on to the design ladder got the attention of the council’s senior management team who saw the value that service design could bring.

The challenge for the council was how they could make service design an integral part of the business, and that’s where we came in. An initial team of six council staff brought together from across the organisation formed Shropshire Council’s in-house service design team. Mentored by a designer in residence we learned our craft by working alongside front line staff.

Having successfully been awarded funding from the Design Council and Innovate UK as part of the Independence Matters programme – Keeping Connected Business Challenge, we cut our design teeth on a service which we developed called Gusto. Gusto turned the notion of preventative social care on its head by encouraging older adults to do more of the things they love, try new experiences and meet new people, enabling more adults to thrive in later life and reducing the burden on social care and health. From that point on, prevention­ and asset­ based capability models became part of our DNA.

The previous years have been an exciting and challenging journey for the team, seeing us win contracts with other public sector bodies. Our team members have a wealth of public sector experience, and each share a real passion and empathy for the people who both deliver and use our public services. We understand the challenges that those in the public sector are currently facing because we feel them too, but we also have the knowledge and expertise to help teams from across local government and the health services to use design thinking to reshape their services for the benefit of both the end user and the organisation. We bridge the gap between design and the public sector.

We bridge the gap between design and the public sector.