About Nesta

Nesta is an innovation foundation. For us, innovation means turning bold ideas into reality and changing lives for the better. We use our expertise, skills and funding in areas where there are big challenges facing society.

Design in the public sector: An interactive map

Across Europe and the world, a growing number of governments and public sector organisations have been turning to design as a new approach to help them solve complex challenges and improve the way they work. But who are the main players? Where are the communities and governments active in this area? Which different agencies, government departments, associations, think tanks and educational institutions are innovating public services using design?

To help a wider audience better understand and connect with this growing ecosystem, Nesta and Paris-based lab La 27e Région have created an interactive map in English and French to highlight the activities, successes and networks that are already out there. The map has been developed as part of Design for Europe, a three-year EU-funded programme to support design-driven innovation across the continent.

From specialised units in central governments to small teams in local regions, the map features almost 140 organisations working in the field of design and the public sector, in Europe and beyond, which we hope will act as an inspiration for others who want to start their own design journey.

And this is just the beginning. The map provides a snapshot of the sector and demonstrates the wide mix of players involved, and we are continuing to add more organisations, particularly in Britain, North and South America and Asia.


  • The map features 42 active local authorities working in this area (cities, counties, etc) and three public institutions, along with 22 organisations operating at national government level.
  • On the service supply side, it has 33 specialist agencies focused on design in the public sector.
  • There are 19 associations, think and do-tanks, foundations or initiatives of general interest.
  • Worldwide, the map features 17 design schools and educational organisations applying design to the public sector.

These organisations have all be added to the map during our first round of research, and we’ll continue to update it. You are also invited to make suggestions for new organisations via this online form.

How to use the map

  • The organisations are sorted by six different categories: governments, public institutions, local authorities, schools, private agencies, associations of general interest.
  • Each organisation is presented with its name, location, date of creation, link to the website, and details of activities and design projects.
  • You can browse the content in several different ways: through the map, by creation date on the timeline, or through the directory of all the organisations.
  • You can help build the map by submitting the details of any new actors or organisations you think should be featured; just click the ‘Propose a new organisation’ button.

We hope that you find the map useful, and any comments or feedback is most welcome - please send us an email at [email protected].

Visit the map>>>


Isobel Roberts

Isobel Roberts

Isobel Roberts

Content and Communications Manager, Innovation Skills

Isobel worked in the Innovation Skills team as Content and Communications Manager, helping to build Nesta's learning and development offering.

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Sonja Dahl

Sonja Dahl

Sonja Dahl

Director, Innovation Skills

As Director, Sonja led the team responsible for spreading innovation skills and strengthening the conditions that allow innovation to thrive.

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