Learning by design thinking: A case study of innovation in municipal meal-services

Signe Ramstedt Bertelsen

Student thesis: Master thesis


This thesis investigates design thinking applied in a public sector context through a case‐study of The Good Kitchen. The Good Kitchen is the name of a project aimed at creating a better mealservice to senior citizens in the city of Holstebro, Denmark, and illustrates how design thinking can drive change in public sector services. A central assumption in this thesis is that we should not only pay attention to the tangible outputs from innovation driven by design thinking. To get beneath the surface of design thinking involves considering the more subtle changes from design. With this in mind, I chose to explore changes from design thinking, instead of retaining a focus on innovation and outputs, thus has the following research question guided my thesis: What were the reasons for initiating The Good Kitchen, and in what ways did design thinking bring about change? Started in 2007, The Good Kitchen was one of the first cases to demonstrate the deliberate use of design thinking in public sector services. Owing this, I investigate why and by whom the project was initiated. A second point of focus is on the practical application of design thinking. I explain and dissect the process leading to the development of the current meal‐service concept, as it is widely perceived to be a buzzword of our time. Thirdly, and reasoned in an ambition to understand also the hidden impacts from design thinking, I analyze the learning implication from design thinking, and more precisely the changes in the shared mental models of the organization.

EducationsMSocSc in Management of Creative Business Processes , (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2012
Number of pages104