In the last blog entry we discussed about academic writing on policy design in the form of books and journal articles. In this piece we would like to draw attention to another source of useful reference material available online in the form of pieces written by practitioners, ‘designers’ including academics in the form of design blogs such as this one and documentation of meet-ups that engage diverse stakeholders interested in or applying design thinking. A recent example of the former is the US-based Policy Lab. Policydesign.org is a blog and research portal developed and hosted by The Policy Lab “to bring new, important, and well-researched ideas to public knowledge in order to build a shared basis for cooperative and professional practice on designing policy, programs and projects”. The latest introductory piece in the blog focuses on ‘Why Policy Design’ (Miller and Rudnick, 2014)1 and describes policy design as “a means of crafting solutions to complex problems within or for administrative systems”. The authors argue that there is a need to move beyond simply studying policy decision-making to improving the practice of policy design.
Most of the Design Labs being set up by governments as well as autonomous entities consider exchange of ideas and collaboration as a pivotal element to the development of these Labs. An initiative called DesignMeets was launched in Canada in 2010 with a similar intention of bringing together Canadian designers “from all walks of life”. DesignMeets organizes regular meet-ups with the aim of fostering interdisciplinary collaboration between local designers, encouraging dialogue and sharing of perspectives on specific themes. These meet-ups are usually held once every few months in various cities with an attendance of 75-100 local designers from a variety of fields (graphic, industrial, interior design, architecture etc.). One of the recent meet-ups held in November 2013 focused on “how politicians and governments should go about designing policies and public consultation processes that engage, rather than alienate, residents and voters?” Such meetups can not only help build a repository of ideas on better design solutions for issues that are considered relevant by local communities but also help create models of stakeholder engagement and deliberation on critical design issues related to policy development.