The Role of Design in Policy Making

S.E. Holierhoek, R.A. Price

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedings/Edited volumeConference contributionScientificpeer-review

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The design discipline is of increasing appeal to a public sector confronted with ill-defined problems consistent with the socially-embedded. This paper explores the role of design in policy making projects, by means of two case empirical case studies. We establish and apply a wicked problems perspective to analyse data from; (1) MindLab and (2) Helsinki Design Lab. Findings reveal that design is specifically useful in the mitigation of wicked policy problems when harnessed by a strategically composed multidisciplinary team including designers. The characteristics of design that are identified as essential are an interactive approach to problems, a holistic perspective, and a user-centred way of working. This paper contributes empirical evidence toward the role of design in policy making, drawing the two domains together via wicked problems theory.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationConference Proceedings of the Academy for Design Innovation Management 2(1)
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - 2019
EventAcademy for Design Innovation Management Conference 2019: Research Perspectives in the era of Transformations - Londom, United Kingdom
Duration: 19 Jun 201921 Jun 2019


ConferenceAcademy for Design Innovation Management Conference 2019
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


  • Power
  • Policy
  • Leadership
  • Ecosystem
  • Pluralism


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