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thinkpublic

Thinkpublic is a London-based social design agency that works with public sector and nonprofit organizations to improve the quality of the services they provide. It was founded in 2004 by then twenty-three-year-old Deborah Szebeko. Szebeko had a background in graphic design and advertising, but the inspiration for Thinkpublic was time she spent volunteering at a children’s hospital. She realized she wanted to put her skills to use for the public good, initially to pinpoint and solve communication failures within Britain’s National Health Service.

Thinkpublic takes a collaborative, “co-design” approach to design services within a range of industries especially healthcare. It taps the expertise of a diverse network of service, graphic and information designers, programmers, marketers, social scientists, positive psychologists and even anthropologists, in order to identify and address problems which may not have been apparent, and then design the best angle of attack.

Recently they launched an app-based co-design tool that captures data from patients, caregivers and healthcare professionals about their experience with healthcare services. Using this tool, they create infographics and reports that help identify key issues to be addressed through a further design process. Recently this was used to engage all stakeholders—both within the hospitals as well as patient’s families, around Altzheimer’s Disease.

Thinkpublic believes in rigorously testing new ideas and approaches to be sure that they work in the way in which they’re envisioned. An important part of the co-design approach is to set up systems so that feedback can continue 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.