Thinkpublic is a London-based firm which uses design to help public sector agencies to improve the quality of the services they provide. Thinkpublic brings its expertise in communications into a collaborative “co-design” effort with clients in public and nonprofit and “social enterprise” sectors to improve services. Thinkpublic was founded by Deborah Szebeko in 2004. Szebeko had a background in advertising and management and work at a London children’s hospital provided the initial inspiration behind Thinkpublic.
The key to Thinkpublic’s work is its research and consultation into direct user and provider experience. Thinkpublic applies its co-design approach to take input, suggestions and questions from everyone involved in potential or existing services, and then works with those individuals and groups to improve upon them.
Thinkpublic leans on a diverse network of designers, strategists, ethnographers and healthcare professionals to collaborate as broadly as possible, creating services which address problems which may not have been apparent, or might have different angles of attack than previously thought. For example, while doctors treat the medical causes of Alzheimer’s disease, they may not understand the social needs of patients with dementia, needs which the patients and their families can see more clearly. Thinkpublic’s co-design approach can help uncover these needs, and design a service plan to meet them.
Thinkpublic believes in rigorously testing new ideas and approaches to be sure that they work in the way in which they’re envisioned. It uses the same research networks to provide feedback on new programs and services, and to see how they can be improved. Indeed, an important part of the co-design approach is to set up systems whereby feedback will continue even after the initial discovery, design and implementation have taken place.
Thinkpublic’s work brings design not only into the world of healthcare, but into the world of public services as well, demonstrating that design can be a multiplier of good work done in different fields. Learn more about their progress in the links below.