Understanding the current practice of design in government

Limitations and opportunities


  • Ahmee KIM Delft University of Technology, the Netherlands
  • Mieke VAN DER BIJL-BROUWER Delft University of Technology, the Netherlands




Embedding design in government, design for policy, complex systems, design-led organizational change, design capability building


Design is today suggested as an alternative way of working in government contexts. Many developed nations are trying to embed design in their public organizations. Yet recent studies have shown that design is not easily permeating into everyday practice of public organizations. This research therefore aims to understand what the current practice of design-embedding in government is like and its limitations by interviewing six experts in the design for government field. The research findings reveal that the changes created by the current design-embedding practice in government are not being actively sustained or amplified. Based on an understanding of organisations as complex systems, we suggest a further practice of design-embedding in which designers steward and stimulate design-led change energy within public organizations. This study shows that embedding design capability in professional organizations is more about design-led organizational change than passing on a design skillset to the organizational members.




How to Cite

KIM , A. ., & VAN DER BIJL-BROUWER , M. . (2019). Understanding the current practice of design in government: Limitations and opportunities. Conference Proceedings of the Academy for Design Innovation Management , 2(1), 1035–1044. https://doi.org/10.33114/adim.2019.01.301