Skip to main navigation menu Skip to main content Skip to site footer

Design and Innovation in the Public Sector: Matters of Design in Policy-Making and Policy Implementation


As more and more governments seek new design approaches to policy-making and policy- implementation that promise to innovate and transform governments, we urgently need to understand the relationships between policy-making, policy implementation and designing. In this paper, I discuss policy-making and policy implementation as problems of design and as activities of design. I begin by pointing out traditional and emerging relationships between design and policy and by offering a design definition of policy. I roam in the field of policy-making to show that policies themselves are not yet fully acknowledged as design outcomes in contemporary policy studies. Instead, this literature treats design almost exclusively as an isolated, in-itself-closed activity, part of problem-solving that begins after a policy problem has been recognized as such and defined. I critically engage with this view of design and identify it as an obstacle for the kinds of innovation and transformation governments now seek to initiate and materialize. The general aim of this paper is to initiate a critical and necessary discourse for matters of design in policy-making and policy implementation.


public policy, policy design