Public innovation ranks as a key concern within most political platforms today, but how does it translate in the daily work patterns of public servants? What role can designers play in such a transformation? These issues are addressed through the study of a public innovation project conducted in a French city of under 50,000 inhabitants. Our analysis highlights some of the specificities of public innovation, which have to do with the relative brevity of political terms and the fact that it must be appropriated by everyone, from public managers to regular citizens. Such distinctive characteristics seem to durably mark innovators out as deviants, departing from institutional standards. This raises questions about the positioning and capacity of designers to effect long-lasting change via one-off assignments.
- public action