Design for Policy (#Design4Policy)
23rd March, 2019
India is an emergent country. Therefore, the aspirations of citizens are high. However, it still faces many barriers that impede its journey towards development. This is exacerbated by the fact that it is heterogeneous along multiple dimensions.
Design-Thinking as an approach, is well-suited to address human-centred systemic problems. It can be used to guide policy-making efforts in a country like India.
Keeping this in mind, a one day workshop was arranged at an Bengaluru office of NUMA Bengaluru, a tech accelerator.
The objectives of the workshop were as follows:
- To initiate a long-term dialogue among Designers-Thinkers, Policy-Makers and other stakeholders.
- To explore the possibility of Design-Thinking to Policy-Making in India.
The workshop was attended by persons from a wide variety of backgrounds. They included:
- Think Tanks
- Start ups dealing with politics and governance
- Civil action groups
- Designers from the Industry
- Design educators
The workshop was based around the following activities:
- An introduction to Design-Thinking
- Presentations by different speakers
- Hands on activities for problem framing and exploratory design
- Speculative writing
The case studies covered the following topics:
1. A case-study of a project where Design was applied for Policy.
2. A case study where an government organization adopted design-thinking
3. Process used and selected projects from a policy-making group which incorporates gamification.
4. The normal process followed by a prominent policy-making think tank.
4. A case study which looked policy-making from a historical perspective.
5. The role of Speculative and Critical Design methods to understand policy.
The case studies were followed by hands-on activities where the participants interpreted (per-collected) user data and synthesized them using affinity mapping. A speculative design activity was also conducted where the attendees together came up with a scenario and a storyboard about the policy consequences of possible technologies.
The workshop succeeded in meeting its objectives. There were 60 participants from various backgrounds. The level of involvement was high as could be discerned through the following statements that happened during engagement:
“How do we convince the decision-makers to incorporate policy-making in an organization?” (A designer from industry)
“the language around legal interpretation involves…an interpretation (of a law) done in 1898 would differ from the one (of the same law) done in 2019”
“A very good problem statement could still be problematic”
We received positive feedback and hope that the participants have successfully connected with each other