The annual London Design Festival is one of the world’s most important design events. This year the festival runs from 16-24 September and its programme features hundreds of events, installations and shows across the capital.
All too often, celebrations of design like the London Design Festival, focus on the design of physical products over the design of services. With roughly 79% of the UK economy now service-based, it’s time for a change in the focus of the design industry in this country. It’s time for service design to be placed front and centre of what we mean by ‘design’.
The public sector is at the forefront of this change from product to service design, with more than 600 designers working on services across central government alone.
That’s why this year, GDS and the wider government design community is partnering with the London Design Festival to host 3 events. We want to show the great work that is being done by designers across government and to discuss what design means in the public sector.
What we’re doing during the week
On 18 September we’re holding the 22nd Cross-Government Design Meetup. Normally these meetings are only open to government designers and are held in departmental buildings. But to mark London Design Festival we’re opening the event up to the public and holding it at the Design Museum in Kensington.
The free conference will feature a series of talks by heads of design from across government. As well as this, designer and urbanist Dan Hill will be giving a guest presentation on the history and future of design in the public sector. There will also be a panel discussion with design industry leaders. You can sign up for tickets at our Cross-Government meetup Eventbrite link.
On 19 September GDS is holding our second Public Sector Design Career Day at our new offices in Aldgate. This is aimed at people interested in a career in design in the public sector. Like our first career day, which we held earlier this year, it will feature a mixture of presentations and practical sessions looking at real briefs. You can sign up at our Career Day Eventbrite link.
We’re also involved in the Gov Design meetup, which will be held on the evening of 19 September, also at our offices in Aldgate. Guest speakers from across the public sector will talk about their work and there will be a chance to meet designers working in different roles across government. You can sign up at the Gov Design Meetup link.
All these events are free and open to anyone to attend.
Come and talk to us
We’re holding these events because we want to talk about what designers contribute to government. And to show some of the great work we do. From creating simpler ways to interact with government and common components to working on whole services.
We are working on things that will be used by everyone in the country (and lots of people around the world too), so it’s hugely important that we talk openly about our work and our approach.
But we also want these events to be a discussion. For people to come and ask questions about design in government and to find out more. That’s why there will be plenty of opportunity for audience questions at all our events. And for people to get a practical sense of public sector design at our career day.
We hope that these events will provide an opportunity not just for people to come and listen to us, but for people to come and talk to us too.
And we hope these events will help move service design to its rightful place at the centre of design discussions in the UK.
Find out more about our London Design Festival events on the LDF website.