Design and Policy

Photo credit: David Einar Nygren

Design has become one of the central competences and capacities to drive innovation in public and private sector, contribute to growth, and consequently is being regarded as one aspect of innovation systems, and one of the change agents in public sector policy.

Design is used in policy development, as a means to get better citizen involvement and to innovate governance systems. In policy systems, different policy areas influence how different actors engage with citizens, and sometimes these come in conflict with each other. One actor relies on policies from one area, that contradicts the following actors policies, resulting in low quality governance and service.
Designerly action, where citizens and stakeholders are involved in describing the interrelationships, and communicating this in rich visualizations, can help in sharing and understanding such frictions. Finding ways to prototype new systems of policy, in terms of how the resulting public service can be done, seem to be a valuable way of understanding policy change. 
Design as a capacity in innovation systems is an area where limited knowledge exists. Mapping and describing what design competences and capacities a region has, alongside the technical innovation system, is a first step to increasing this knowledge. Finding ways of supporting the growth of design as a capacity in innovation systems are difficult to do, unless these maps are in place.


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