Design thinking in the public sector – a case study of three Danish municipalities

Justyna Starostka, Amalia de Götzen, Nicola Morelli

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
60 Downloads (Pure)


In recent years, design in the public sector has gained popularity amongst policymakers as well as among scholars. Design is perceived as a promising way to create more successful policies and public services. Despite growing popularity, a critical reflection on benefits and challenges, as well as about different understandings of design practices in the public sector, are still lacking. Therefore, this paper aims to investigate different ways public organizations engage and introduce design approach. In this paper we present 3 municipalities in Denmark and the way design is understood and implemented in organizational work practices. Our contribution to theory is twofold. First, our research responds to the recent call of different researchers to investigate how design is operationalized and drawn upon in practice by different organizations in the public sector. Second, our research contributes to the design field, by showing barriers of implementations, different benefits and challenges connected with design in organizations with no prior experience in design.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPolicy Design and Practice
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)504-515
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • Design
  • co-creation
  • design science
  • design thinking
  • public administration
  • public policy


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