Clarity in the meeting with Public Service

Clarity in the meeting with Public Service

Using service design to question the arrogance of the system

When citizens meet the welfare-system, they are often in a difficult situation and can feel lost and disarmed.

In order to create a more equalized collaboration between public staff and the vulnerable citizens, the top-management in the Welfare-division in Vejle wanted to work strategically with the perspectives of service design.

We used the principles of servicedesign to create ideas that can be implemented in classical situations where the dialogue between citizen and staff is difficult and can be improved.

Through a field study we got qualitative data to work with. And using the experience of the top-managers we identified areas, where “todays service” needs to evolve. The intention was of course that the service has to remain effective for those who deliver it. But at the same time it must be meaningful to the citizen who receives a message or a service that he or she basically does not wish to receive.

We developed a catalog of ideas with suggestions for new ways of “on-boarding” the citizens and enable them to navigate in a system, they do not know. We also looked at how we could create an overview in the first difficult conversations – and we had many other suggestions that could empower the citizen and the collaboration.

To evaluate the ideas, we used the term ‘The New synthesis’ to discuss the basic expectations towards public service

Frank Høedt has illustrated the framework that explains the expectations. On one hand, the leader of a public service must prove that things are managed well. At the same time the leader must always take the politcal expectations into account. And the leader must get ready to embrace the unknown in a challenged system. So how do leaders and managers handle the fact, that the public service needs to change – in a way that makes citizens more robust and self-driving.

Using service design we made sure to create ideas that could be implemented immediately.


“There is great enthusiasm in my end of the world. Especially because what we do is so close to reality and easy to put into practice. I think it is important that we stay focused there – that is, on ‘what can we do ‘next Tuesday’ rather than connecting it to something theoretical.

Yelva Bjørnholdt Jensen, Head of Outhority, Vejle Municipality

+45 4111132