Today we had a paper published online in Public Money & Management, entitled: Co-design, evaluation and the Northern Ireland Innovation Lab. This paper, part of a special issue on “Co-Production of Public Services and Outcomes”, looks at the growing community of innovation labs across the world to help improve public services, and is related to previous innovation policy work in Wales.
Co-design, evaluation and the Northern Ireland Innovation Lab
Anna Whicher and Tom Crick
Around the world there are more than 100 policy labs — multi-disciplinary government teams developing public services and policies using innovation methods to engage citizens and stakeholders. These policy labs use a range of innovation methods and approaches, including co-production, co-creation, co-design, behavioural insights, systems thinking, ethnography, data science, nudge theory and lean processes. Although the methods may vary, one element is consistent: policy labs actively, creatively and collaboratively engage the public and a wide range of stakeholders in jointly developing solutions. The Northern Ireland Public Sector Innovation Lab (iLab) is part of a growing UK and international community of policy labs using co-design to engage with users for value co-creation, aiming to improve public governance by creating a safe space to generate ideas, test prototypes and refine concepts with beneficiaries. Drawing on iLab’s experience, this paper explores three questions: What are the main determinants of effective co-design? What are the unintended consequences of co-design? And what lessons can be learned from iLab and shared with other policy labs?
(also see: Publications)