Deborah Szebeko (born 1980) is founding director of the social design agency thinkpublic.
After volunteering for nine months at Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital NHS Trust in 2003, Szebeko identified opportunities to use design to improve communications and patient experiences in healthcare . To encompass her insight, Szebeko set up thinkpublic in 2004 after taking part in the NESTA Creative Pioneer Programme.
Using design to improve health and public services, Szebeko and thinkpublic have worked with organisations across the World in the health and social sector. With an experience in designing services, products and social enterprise.[clarification needed]
Co-Design and Service Design
At the heart of thinkpublic and Szebeko's work is co-design, a Participatory design methodology for involving people in identifying opportunities and needs, then using creative tools to design solutions.
Working across the public, third and private sectors, Szebeko has used design and research methodologies to encourage service innovation and enterprise. Over the past 13 years, she has successfully used her service design approach to inform and develop products, enterprises and service innovations that have been rolled out internationally by the NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement, the Department of Health (UK), NESTA, Alzheimer's Society, Cabinet Office, AstraZeneca, DigitasLBi and Design Council.
In 2008, for her dedication to social innovation, Szebeko won the British Council’s UK Young Design Entrepreneur Award and was listed in the Top 10 for ‘The Future 500’ in The Observer and New Statesman.
In 2003, Szebeko won the HEFSC Young Volunteer of the Year Award for her design work at Great Ormond St Children's Hospital NHS Trust.
Since setting up thinkpublic, Szebeko has presented her work at international design and health conferences including: Leading Age Services Congress (Australia 2015), Design Indaba (Cape Town 2011), The European Business Analysts Conference (London 2010), Women in Design (Poland 2011), Designs of the Time (Cornwall 2011), Reinventing Design (Hong Kong Design Centre, 2008), Designs of the Time (Newcastle, 2007), NESTA Young Innovators (London, 2007), The European Forum on Quality Improvement in Healthcare (Prague, 2006), Doors of Perception (New Delhi, 2005) and DOORS Leaders Round Table (Amsterdam, 2004).
- Szebeko's work has featured in the following publications:
- Jefferies, E. Tan, L. Yee, J. 2013. Design Transitions – Inspiring Stores. Global Viewpoints. How Design is Changing. BIS Publisher
- Meroni, A. Sangiorgi, D. 2011. Design For Services - What Design is doing and can do for services, and how this connects to existing fields of knowledge and practice. Gower Publishing
- Bates, P. Robert, G. 2007. Bringing User Experience To Health Care – “Experience Based Design" (EBD) is a new way of bringing about improvements in healthcare services by being user-focused. Radcliffe Publishing
Papers written by Szebeko on Co-design:
 Co-designing for Society - Australasian Medical Journal 2010
 Co-designing for dementia: The Alzheimer 100 project - Australasian Medical Journal 2009
Szebeko holds a BA (Hons) in Graphic Design & Advertising from Buckinghamshire University, MA in Communications from University Of The Arts London and Diploma in Organisations, Relationship and Co-active Coaching.
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- Baker, M. (2007). Public life: Design Makes a Difference. The Telegraph.
- Hutchins, E. (2008). Inaugural Design Award Winner Announced at 100% Design. British Design Innovation.
- Service Design Network. (2008). thinkpublic receives the UK Young Design Entrepreneur Award
- Szebeko, D. (2008). Designing Healthcare Environments Health Sector Journal.
- UKYDE. (2008). "Co-design" pioneer takes top design entrepreneur award.
- Wodcast. (2008). Deborah Szebeko - Interview (mp3)