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Co-design, evaluation and the Northern Ireland Innovation Lab
Public Money & Management, Volume: 39, Issue: 4, Pages: 290 - 299
Swansea University Author: Tom Crick
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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, c...
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Taylor & Francis
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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. Established in 2014, iLab has led 18 projects in its first two years, focusing on a wide range of service and policy challenges. Perhaps due to the experimental nature of their activities, Policy Labs tend to operate behind closed doors; in autumn 2016, iLab commissioned an evaluation of its activities and governance to enable Labs to share good practices and identify some of the key challenges in order to advance and consolidate knowledge. Drawing on iLab’s evaluation composed of 30 interviews with lab staff, the wider Northern Ireland Civil Service and external stakeholders, 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 experience in Northern Ireland and shared with other Policy Labs?
Special Issue on “Co-Production of Public Services and Outcomes”
Co-design, Co-production, Policy Labs, Evaluation, Public Services, Northern Ireland
College of Arts and Humanities