module specification

GI7034 - Public Service Design and Innovation (2023/24)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2023/24
Module title Public Service Design and Innovation
Module level Masters (07)
Credit rating for module 20
School School of Social Sciences and Professions
Total study hours 200
45 hours Assessment Preparation / Delivery
120 hours Guided independent study
35 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 100%   Practical Portfolio Deck
Running in 2023/24

(Please note that module timeslots are subject to change)
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Summer studies North Week -

Module summary

The module aims to provide students with a detailed understanding of:
1. Conventional and co-productive policy development approaches
2. Challenges of Complexity, design and governance in public services
3. Design thinking in policy making and public sector innovation

The aim of the course is to develop an understanding of the role of design thinking in assisting public and non-for profit sector transformation.


 Complexity, design and governance LO1,LO2
 Conventional policy design – issues and limitationsLO1
 Co-productive policy design approachesLO2
 Design thinking (User research and problem framing)LO2,LO3
 Design Thinking (Ideation and prototyping)LO2,LO3
 Design Thinking (User testing and evaluation)LO2,LO3
 Technological disruption and public service innovationLO3,LO4
 Collaboration in inter-processional and inter-disciplinary contexts LO3,LO4

Balance of independent study and scheduled teaching activity

The course material is studied through a independent study and practice based workshop in which students will have to work in groups. The module will make extensive use of Weblearn and will facilitate interactions with non-for-profit and public sector organisations. The module will be delivered in conjunction with a practioner / professional partner and will run as a one week intensive block in the summer period.

Learning outcomes

At the end of this course the students will be able to:
1. Demonstrate critical awareness of the limitations of conventional policy design approaches. [LO1]
2. Demonstrate systematic understanding and critical appreciation of the challenges and opportunities offered by co-productive and design thinking based policy design models. [LO2]
3. Demonstrate critical engagement with and sound application of the user centred based methodologies in understanding issues and gaps in public services. [LO3]
4. Work collaboratively across disciplines and professions to ideate solution to problems, demonstrating a creative approach to problems solving [LO4]

Assessment strategy

Assessment is by a Practical Group Portfolio Deck, submitted 3 weeks after the end of the block teaching week. Students will have to work on producing a portfolio:
Part A (Slide Deck):
• understanding of the problem (user research)
• thought process in ideating for a solution
• prototyping
• plan for user testing and evaluation
Part B (Critical Reflection 1,500 words):
• a critical reflection of how design thinking and its associated methodologies can support effective public service transformation


Durose, C & Richardson, L. (2016) Designing public policy for co-production. Thorey, practice and change, Bristol: Policy Press
Basson, C. (2017) Leading Public Design, Bristol: Policy Press
Plattner, H., Meinel, C., & Weinberg, U. (2009). Design thinking. Landsberg am Lech: Mi-Fachverlag.
Plattner, H., Meinel, C., & Leifer, L. (Eds.). (2010). Design thinking: understand–improve–apply. Springer Science & Business Media.

Kimbell, L. (2011). Rethinking design thinking: Part I. Design and Culture, 3(3), 285-306.
Bason, C. (2010). Leading public sector innovation: Co-creating for a better society. Policy Press.
Ayres, S. (2014) Rethinking Policy and Politics. Reflections on contemporary debates in policy studies