Innovative Policy Making: The future of work for policy makers
|Traditional consultation||Design thinking|
|Conceived as a linear process||Conceived as an iterative process|
|Rule-based and logic driven||Creative, open and curious|
|Starting the process with problem definition||Starting the process with customer research to define the problem|
|Defining the problem with a potential solution in mind||Defining the problem based on themes and insights from research|
|Focus groups, roundtables or town halls with groups of customers||One-on-one interviews and observations at individual customers’ home or workplace orthe place of service delivery|
|Customer engagement with industry representatives and associations||Direct engagement with impacted customers|
|Customer engagement after problem is defined and options identified||Customer engagement from start to finish|
|Customer and Industry feedback solicited through call for submissions||Customer and Industry feedback gathered through direct primary research|
|Options developed from existing policies, regulations and services||Options designed around customers’ needs identified in primary research|
|Policy or regulation reform implemented after options analysis and consultation||Policy or regulation reform iteratively prototyped and tested with customers to build a strong evidence base about whether the policy will be accepted or rejected|
- Policymakers of the future need to learn to embrace failure. One of the key issues in government today is the fear of failure and both the internal and public pressure to never get policy wrong. The design thinking approach removes the focus on getting it “right” and encourages policy makers to work with end-users to test assumptions in the policy to actively identify the ways in which the policy could fail. By actively seeking to fail as part of the design process, policy makers generate a bank of evidence that outlines not only what will work but what will not work and why.
- Diversity is essential for policy designers of the future. For too long, policymaking has been the realm of subject-matter experts and policy officers. Design thinking requires diverse opinions and viewpoints to be successful – experts may bring one lens to the table, but people unfamiliar with the subject matter and those being directly affected by the policy bring other, often conflicting perspectives. Rather than working to improve the status quo, diversity invites questions and constructive collaboration to the policy design process. Additionally, working across agencies has been identified as a successful way to strengthen relationships within government while also bringing different ways of thinking to policy design conversation.
- Creative visual ways of working democratise policy-making. Policymakers spend most of their time reading and writing documents. Many citizens find policy documents and reports difficult to understand, full of jargon and onerous to read. Asking end-users (citizens) who are not conversant in government-speak to read a 25-page report and provide feedback is government-centric not citizen-centric.
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