Thomas Bridge 13 May 2014

Government told to put people at centre of ‘digital revolution’

Digital services in the public sector must have user-centred design as a ‘primary focus’ if people are to benefit from IT growth, a report claims.

Growth in the digital technology sector must be supported outside of London, with design capabilities embedded in all government IT activities, according to the Design Commission.

The research arm of the All-Party Parliamentary Design and Innovation Group has claimed the ‘power of design’ currently remains under-exploited in the creation of digital services and products.

Designing the digital economy calls for local authorities to be included in ‘digital design clusters’ across the UK that can provide the necessary infrastructure to support design-led digital innovation.

Coming as a result of an eight-month inquiry by the Commission, the report will be launched formally in Parliament tomorrow.

Inquiry co-chair, Gillian Youngs, said: ‘The growth of the digital economy opens up new possibilities for design to play as yet unimagined roles in helping us to understand and navigate a newly connected world. Design can help us shift the balance further towards making people central to the digital revolution, rather than just the technologies used to achieve it’.

Fellow inquiry chair Lord Inglewood commented: ‘We are at an important moment when design can reposition itself as a critical tool to drive the development of the applications of technology. But it will require both the design community and the technology community to leave their respective “comfort zones” and work more collaboratively.

‘It is the responsibility of government to help drive that process, not least through exemplifying best practice and by creating and supporting the necessary networks and infrastructure.’

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