Developing Innovative Public Sector Responsiveness to Multicultural Constituencies During Times of Transition

Anna Duran, Christian Bason, Gwynn Simpson, Joseph Whittaker

    Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperResearchpeer-review


    Session Relevance: The Aspen Institute has identified several tectonic shifts that are urgently affecting all societies around the world and have strong implications for public sector management. These shifts, having a strong and wide-spread impact, create a need for innovation and agile public design. The changes in the landscape have been described as: (1) socioeconomic wherein perceptions of equity and well-being could produce disenfranchised population segments; (2) readiness of all demographic group segments to transition with science and technological advancements as well as responsiveness to environmental concerns; (3) migrant transitions for purposes of security, education and upward mobility; and (4) changes in world governance systems creating the need to reassess security policies and practices. Research Prospective: In our session we will present a framework (taxonomy) under development that describes and synthesizes information about design-led innovations in public service domains, combines social imagination theories in education and action-learning models used in the business world that are sensitive to sociocultural parameters relevant to the tectonic shifts. Research methods will include a review of the literature describing social design efforts; the identification of major CSR initiatives; and an analysis of selected policy development documents related to these shifts. Our focus is on type and level of stakeholder engagement and implementation effectiveness. The resulting framework could be useful to the field of public management in a number of ways as it promises to expand social design-thinking theory and assure more inclusiveness in citizen engagement. Our panel of experts from diverse backgrounds who are scientist-practitioners within their respective disciplines will address the following: 1. How can design thinking and skills contribute to public organizations in the context of multicultural populations? 2. What other approaches can be useful to design thinking? For example, in multicultural education curricula the concept of social imagination (Mills, 1959 & 1976) emerging from Vygotskyan sociocultural tradition, offers some insights about social problem literacy and social design theory. 3. How do varying world views influence each of the tectonic shifts and why are these important to consider in “user-centered” processes? 4. What are the challenges of design processes for working with diverse stakeholders? 5. What kinds of outcomes can we expect as a result of transformation processes? Implications: Bason (2010) highlights in his work on public policy, that the practices of design are excellent tools for addressing public problems and for capturing insights and plans that are responsive to the needs of a society. Further other work (Duran, 2015) makes it clear that the social fabrics of many countries are now more diverse and the role of world view variation (differences in value systems) are a major part of the policy and public management challenges ahead. In this vein, cultural filters shape the kinds of problems that need to be explored, the types of solutions applied, the kinds of prototypical experiments that can be performed, the claims that are possible, and the criteria of acceptance (absorption) that can be used. Every major institution is affected, including education, governments, and the corporate world.
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication date2017
    Number of pages64
    Publication statusPublished - 2017
    EventThe 21st Annual Conference of International Research Society for Public Management. IRSPM 2017 - Corvinus University, Budapest, Hungary
    Duration: 19 Apr 201721 Apr 2017
    Conference number: 21


    ConferenceThe 21st Annual Conference of International Research Society for Public Management. IRSPM 2017
    LocationCorvinus University
    Internet address

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