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Project Hive: Redesigning Policy Development in NSW Government

Developing a whole of government policy framework for the beekeeping industry

This cross-departmental project between the NSW Department of Primary Industries and the Office of the NSW Small Business Commissioner aimed to redesign policies affecting beekeeper’s access to public lands in NSW. The goals were to use a stakeholder-centric approach to ensure fair allocation of land and resources, and to simplify administration and access to information for beekeepers. By actively involving beekeepers in the development of the policy framework, the NSW Government believed that recommendations would be genuinely aligned to stakeholder interests and therefore more likely to be widely accepted.

“Sometimes policy makers are detached from the end users they are working for…design thinking is a breakthrough in re-connecting the dots.”

Emma Marshall, Senior Policy Officer, NSW Department of Primary Industries


Delivering customer-led policy in a cross-agency team

The approach to policy design and cross-agency work was a landmark pilot for NSW Government. “Project Hive” followed the Design Thinking process and took the team out into the homes of individual beekeepers to discuss what was really important to them. This process helped the team empathise with how government policy shapes their day to day experience and uncover the challenges faced by beekeepers and the apiculture industry. What came out of these discussions fundamentally reshaped the planned approach to policy reform and informed the development of creative and innovative ideas that were later prototyped and tested with beekeepers. Through this validation process the team were confident that the solutions designed would meet the most pertinent needs of beekeepers.

“We hope design thinking is the future of policy for government. We are converts. Capturing this journey and communicating it is key so we can share the success.”

Kylie Bryden-Smith, Director, Advocacy – Office of the NSW Small Business Commissioner


Supporting NSW beekeepers through a streamlined human-centered approach

The new policy framework will streamline administrative arrangements and support industry growth and development through:

A consistent and transparent process for allocation of sitesA central point of information on location and availabilityA single pricing structure across all public landsStandard permit terms and conditions.Long-term permits with greater clarity around tenure

The cross-agency collaboration and skills developed on Project Hive are now being used to guide future applications of Design Thinking in the NSW Government. Two new cross-departmental policy design projects are now underway as human-centred design transforms policy development in NSW.

Contact us today if you’d like to learn more or you’re interested in running a similar project.

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