Preconditions for Service Design in Colombia: Governance and Community Challenges
De Castro Abello, Marisabella
Owing to the conditions of poverty in which 28% of its inhabitants live, the national government of Colombia provides services through its local administration in order to care for the needs of its vulnerable communities. However, providing services into deprived areas and to care for the needs of a complex group of users poses challenges for local administration. By comparing local public service experiences with documented public service design (SD) experiences worldwide, this project identified the obstacles that SD applications could have in contexts such as the one in the Atlantic Department of Colombia. Co-creation is one of the main principles within service design, as it is desirable for actors within the service system to engage in co-creation activities in order to determine their expectations and requirements in the early stages of the process. The aim of this research was to identify the ways in which the complexity of the relationship between the three key actors (government agents, providers and users) impacts on the co-creation of public services in the Atlantic Department and thus the development of service design projects. A case study was developed and data was gathered through a series of in-depth interviews with groups that represented the three key actors of a public service established by the Atlantic Department´s Government , aimed at enhancing the homes of vulnerable families. Due to the complexity of the relationship found among the three key actors of the public service within the Atlantic Department, this research concluded that there are two preconditions that should exist in a context, in order to enable co-creation between the three key actors and thus implement service design projects effectively. The first is a balanced relationship between government agents, providers and users, defined by equal levels of trust, empowerment and entitlement among them. The second is a design-led approach enabled by a senior leader from government, which motivates all of the actors involved to actively participate in co-creation activities. These results demonstrated the need to add a previous stage to the service design process, in which there needs to be an assessment of the context in order to appraise the relationship between the three key actors of the public service system. This research proposed the addition of a new Assessment stage and identifies the three possible outcomes that could arise from it, which would have a direct impact on the project´s budget, the resources needed to complete it or even its feasibility. This would have consequences for service designers, as it is necessary to assess the context in which they will work, before proposing budgets or schedules for service design´s commissioned projects.
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