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  • Author or Editor: Jenny M Lewis x
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The funding of research in universities is increasingly based on direction of resources in support of ‘excellence’. Funding decisions are linked to evaluation through research funding systems, but there has so far been little comparative empirical research on the perceived effects of these systems. This article reports on a study involving interviews with 274 academics at universities in Australia (Melbourne), New Zealand (Auckland) and the UK (Birmingham). Perceptions of the three research funding systems demonstrated significant differences across universities, and some interesting gender and seniority differences, but surprisingly little variance between humanities, science and social science disciplines.

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Responding to the need for innovation, governments have begun experimenting with ‘design thinking’ approaches to reframe policy issues and generate and test new policy solutions. This paper examines what is new about design thinking and compares this to rational and participatory approaches to policymaking, highlighting the difference between their logics, foundations and the basis on which they ‘speak truth to power’. It then examines the impact of design thinking on policymaking in practice, using the example of public sector innovation (PSI) labs. The paper concludes that design thinking, when it comes in contact with power and politics, faces significant challenges, but that there are opportunities for design thinking and policymaking to work better together.

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Responding to the need for innovation, governments have begun experimenting with ‘design thinking’ approaches to reframe policy issues and generate and test new policy solutions. This paper examines what is new about design thinking and compares this to rational and participatory approaches to policymaking, highlighting the difference between their logics, foundations and the basis on which they ‘speak truth to power’. It then examines the impact of design thinking on policymaking in practice, using the example of public sector innovation (PSI) labs. The paper concludes that design thinking, when it comes in contact with power and politics, faces significant challenges, but that there are opportunities for design thinking and policymaking to work better together.

Open access

In recent years, design approaches to policymaking have gained popularity among policymakers. However, a critical reflection on their added value and on how contemporary ‘design-thinking’ approaches relates to the classical idea of public administration as a design science, is still lacking. This introductory paper reflects upon the use of design approaches in public administration. We delve into the more traditional ideas of design as launched by Simon and policy design, but also into the present-day design wave, stemming from traditional design sciences. Based upon this we distinguish between three ideal-type approaches of design currently characterising the discipline: design as optimisation, design as exploration and design as co-creation. More rigorous empirical analyses of applications of these approaches is necessary to further develop public administration as a design science. We reflect upon the question of how a more designerly way of thinking can help to improve public administration and public policy.

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In this final chapter we reflect upon the application of more designerly, and thus creative or playful, ways of making policy, the ‘second face of public sector design’ (Clarke and Craft, 2018), how they relate to the more traditional forms of design, and what their pitfalls and promises are. Moreover, we reflect upon the consequences of this transition for the way in which public organizations should be designed and managed. In this chapter, we first sketch the potentials of designerly ways of making policies, as well as their pitfalls. We then reflect upon the relation between ‘old’ and ‘new’ approaches of policy design and the evolution we can witness. It seems that traditional and more recent approaches are combined or blended together in many ways.

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The Added Value of Design Thinking for Public Administration and Public Policy

Design approaches to policymaking have gained increasing popularity among policymakers in recent years.

First published as a special issue of Policy & Politics, this book presents original critical reflections on the value of design approaches and how they relate to the classical idea of public administration as a design science. Contributors consider the potential, challenges and applications of design approaches and distinguish between three methods currently characterising the discipline: design as optimisation, design as exploration and design as co-creation.

Developing the dialogue around public administration as a design science, this collection explores how a more ‘designerly’ way of thinking can improve public administration and public policy.

The articles on which Chapters 4, 5 and 6 are based are available Open Access under CC-BY-NC licence.

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In recent years, design approaches to policy-making have gained popularity among policy-makers. However, a critical reflection on their added value and on how contemporary ‘design-thinking’ approaches relates to the classical idea of public administration as a design science is still lacking. This introductory chapter reflects upon the use of design approaches in public administration. We delve into the more traditional ideas of design, as launched by Simon, and policy design, but also into the present-day design wave, stemming from traditional design sciences. Based upon this we distinguish between three ideal-type approaches of design currently characterizing the discipline: design as optimization; design as exploration; and design as co-creation. More rigorous empirical analyses of applications of these approaches is necessary to further develop public administration as a design science. We reflect upon the question how a more designerly way of thinking can help to improve public administration and public policy.

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