Introducing Design culture in Social Innovation and in the Public Sector

The 20 November 2018 POLIMI/UNIBO run the hot topic workshop on the issue of how to use design competences and methodology in public sector and in social innovation.


The workshop started from the consideration that the economic, demographic, social, and environmental long-term challenges are calling for deep changes, questioning many of the assumptions that have underpinned public services and posing new challenges for institutions, policy makers, civil servants, and communities. While austerity measures are being adopted, innovative solutions based on the active involvement and engagement of citizens emerge as a new paradigm, questioning the established welfare systems and raising quite a few unsolved problems. In this scenario, design thinking (Brown, 2009) is being interpreted as a mean to generate innovative solutions, to reshape services and to change the ways in which they are conceived and delivered. The workshop will investigate how service and participatory design processes can be applied to foster innovation in the public sector, and how prototypes and small-scale experiments can be scaled and turned into diffused practices.


The workshop put together 15 people to discuss the following Main questions and challenges:

What is the desired impact of design culture on public sector and on SI?

How can we introduce design culture as an agent of change in public organisations?

How can we relate design experiments to policy making to create impact and scale innovative solutions in the public sector?



Francesca Rizzo – University of Bologna/Politecnico di Milano

Alessandro Deserti – Politecnico di Milano

Guy Julier – Aalto University

Sabine Juginger Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts

Nicola Morelli – Aalborg University

Anna Meroni – Politecnico di Milano

Daniela Sangiorgi – Politecnico di Milano

Fiorenza Lipparini – Plus value

Stefano Maffei- Polifactory – Politecnico di Milano fablab

Massimo Bianchini – Politecnico di Milano fablab

Stefano Crabu – Politecnico di Milano and University of Padova

Marzia Mortati – Politecnico di Milano


5 PhD students from the Politecnico di Milano PhD programme have been invited on the basis of their research interest as described in their dissertations.

Presentation of the Turin experimentation at the Sev Des international conference 2018

The last 21st of June the SIC experimentation conducted within the Municipality of Turin has been presented within the Serv Des international conference.

The experimentation took place from  November 2016 until June 2018 and it represents original story of introducing Social innovation in public sector as a new paradigm to deal with the challenge of how to innovate public sector offering.