Take Survey
MEDIA, JOBS & RESOURCES for the COMMON GOOD
Sponsored  |  Careers

The Design Turn: Searching for Public Value in Policy


Monday, 31st October 2016 at 8:51 am
Staff Reporter
Dr Sharon Andrews, program manager of RMIT’s Master of Public Policy, discusses how policymakers are looking to design to innovate policy development and adequately address social issues.


Monday, 31st October 2016
at 8:51 am
Staff Reporter


0 Comments


FREE SOCIAL
SECTOR NEWS

 Print
The Design Turn: Searching for Public Value in Policy
Monday, 31st October 2016 at 8:51 am

Dr Sharon Andrews, program manager of RMIT’s Master of Public Policy, discusses how policymakers are looking to design to innovate policy development and adequately address social issues.

Governments across Australia are advocating for innovation in policy development and service design. Faced with significant challenges in family violence, child protection, homelessness and entrenched poverty (to name a few), the development of policy has shifted away from the once popular cautious incrementalism of the tinkering around the edges.

Public policy has sometimes resembled ever-increasing investments in what we already know, what we already have and what we already do. This brings to mind the quote, usually and questionably attributed to Einstein, that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. In this regard, the discourse of innovation has the potential to disrupt the stagnation of ideas and practice by questioning anew what our challenges are and how we might respond to them – bringing to the task new mindsets, tools and practices.

As part of the innovation agenda, policy actors are turning to ideas and practices that stem from the field of design. Design thinking employs a more bottom-up approach that involves co-designing interventions with key stakeholders, including service users themselves. The rhetoric of design avoids the conceit that policymakers have all the answers. It also challenges the idea that we can get it right without risk taking and trial and error. The key tenets of design within the policy context are creativity and vision, collaboration and partnerships, iterative experimentation, and thoughtful upscaling.   

Without doubt, this “design turn” holds promise. However, the challenge is to engage with the complexity of the issues we are facing and what it means to rethink and redesign systems, services and discrete interventions. Starting anew in the face of long-term failure is enticing, but we have to resist the temptation to approach design like a kid with a new toy. Really innovative and productive change is daunting. It requires a mix of depth and breadth in terms of knowledge, skills and capacities. This includes the intellectual capacity for deep insight and understanding of the complex factors creating and sustaining our most pressing social issues alongside – by no means an exhaustive list – political insight, courage, empathy, well-developed communication and relationship-building skills, imagination and vision.

Our educational institutions have a key role to play in developing practitioners who are thoughtful, creative, resourceful and skilled in working outside of silos and across traditional lines.

Find out more about RMIT’s postgraduate opportunities here.

About the author: Dr Sharon Andrews is program manager of RMIT’s Master of Public Policy. Sharon’s research interests include relations of power and freedom in social policy and outcomes focused work in human services.




Got a story to share?

Got a news tip or article idea for Pro Bono News? Or perhaps you would like to write an article and join a growing community of sector leaders sharing their thoughts and analysis with Pro Bono News readers?

Get in touch at news@probonoaustralia.com.au

Get more stories like this

FREE SOCIAL
SECTOR NEWS

Write a Reply or Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *



YOU MAY ALSO LIKE

Early Bird Tickets Now Available For ‘Transform 2019’ in Melbourne

Contributor

Tuesday, 13th November 2018 at 8:00 am

True Digital Transformation – The Only Way to Future-proof Your Charity

Contributor

Tuesday, 13th November 2018 at 8:00 am

Vollie Presents the Rotary Youth Forum 2019

Ellie Nikakis

Thursday, 8th November 2018 at 8:00 am

Okay People, Buckle Up – Are We Heading For a January Election?

Jo Scard

Tuesday, 6th November 2018 at 8:00 am

POPULAR

Report Uncovers Shocking Abuse and Neglect of Adults With Disability

Luke Michael

Monday, 5th November 2018 at 5:29 pm

White Ribbon CEO Puts Hasty Departure Down to Culture Clash

Maggie Coggan

Monday, 12th November 2018 at 5:49 pm

Government Backtracks on Cuts to Food Relief Charity

Maggie Coggan

Monday, 12th November 2018 at 5:42 pm

Disability Groups Cautious Over NDIS Independent Assessment Pilot

Luke Michael

Monday, 12th November 2018 at 5:38 pm

Take Survey
pba inverse logo
Subscribe Twitter Facebook

The social sector's most essential news coverage. Delivered free to your inbox every Tuesday and Thursday morning.

You have Successfully Subscribed!