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How should public services look in a networked world?

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Our context is ever-changing. Technology has moved quickly in the last ten years and we’re only at the beginning of understanding what it can do for public services.

Public services need to respond to the changing world by being at the forefront of change, not at the back.  Thinking like designers, we need to break down the challenges, focus on what people really need and work with them to build new services.

Service design is not a dark art, it’s about understanding what people need in a world where information is much more freely available and users are technologically empowered to take control of it rather than just read it.

Technology offers us amazing possibilities for service delivery. The hallmarks of good web technology are that it’s lightweight; beautifully designed for the user; making good use of data so it does something useful; and allowing interaction between users.

As we see in the surge in smartphone use and social media, this is how many people prefer to communicate, do their shopping, find information, and organise their finances. So through the design process we need to figure out how this can be applied to public services and how to manage the risks as we experiment and, occasionally, fail.

All of this requires exceptional  leadership and the summit is a fantastic chance to bring local authority senior managers together to work through the issues, model the changes they want to see by awakening their own curiosity, energy and delight so we can show the wider world our vision for how public services should look in a networked and ever-changing world.

Carrie Bishop, consultant, FutureGov

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