The presentation of the results of the Design Policy class brought a phenomenal end to the semester with a wide-ranging and lively discussion featuring policy makers from the city, representatives from the Mac Arthur Foundation and other nonprofits, and the school’s own big guns Patrick Whitney and Jeremy Alexis.
Cecilia Ambros and Traci Thomas presented projects from the class highlighting the role design might play in the problem definition and agenda-setting phase of the policy process. Amanda Wirth and Scott Mioduszewski presented projects from the class highlighting cases where ID demo groups have worked with the Chicago and other governments in the policy implementation phase. Following these presentations, the group attempted to identify ways to realize the big idea of letting design show its value in the front end of the policy-discussion.
Pictured: the result of this discussion, a brainstorm about what a policy design curriculum should incorporate, as well as more concrete actions we all can take immediately.
From the invitation to the event:
The prevalent perception that “nothing works” in the public policy arena, or rather, public policy itself rarely seems to be working, challenges democratic systems at their core. Coincident to this spiraling public pessimism and partisan gridlock, foundations are turning to designers with renewed hope that their skills in problem definition and resolution can make a difference and help foster success.
Design is now at the table ready to address the increasingly complex social problem, from priority setting, decisions regarding the allocation of limited resources, or sorting out the public vs. private responsibilities.
Using a few case studies, prepared by students in the first Design Policy class, and the perspectives of a cross-discipline panel we will explore:
- How, in what stage and what level should Design engage?
- Can designers offer unique mediation?
- What collaborations are possible to generate and may be succeeding?