Design thinking in policymaking processes: Opportunities and challenges

Michael Mintrom, Joannah Luetjens

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Design thinking has the potential to improve problem definition and mechanism design in policymaking processes. By promoting greater understanding of how citizens experience government services, design thinking can support public managers who desire to enhance public value. In Australia, as elsewhere, design thinking currently remains separated from mainstream policymaking efforts. This article clarifies the essence of design thinking and its applicability to policy development. Five design thinking strategies are discussed, all of which have lengthy histories as social science methodologies. They are (1) environmental scanning, (2) participant observation, (3) open-to-learning conversations, (4) mapping, and (5) sensemaking. Recent examples from Australia and New Zealand are used to illustrate how these strategies have been incorporated into policymaking efforts. The article concludes by considering how design thinking might be more broadly applied in policymaking, and the training and resourcing requirements that would entail.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)391-402
Number of pages12
JournalAustralian Journal of Public Administration
Volume75
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2016

Keywords

  • design thinking
  • policy analysis
  • policymaking
  • problem definition
  • stakeholder engagement

Cite this

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Design thinking in policymaking processes : Opportunities and challenges. / Mintrom, Michael; Luetjens, Joannah.

In: Australian Journal of Public Administration, Vol. 75, No. 3, 01.09.2016, p. 391-402.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

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