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A model for policy experimentation
Embracing double-edged complexity
Towards a new conception of the role of government
A holistic approach to policy experiments
From challenges and opportunities to impact
Sensing the next policy challenge
Co-designing hypotheses to test
How to build an experiment portfolio
Co-producing by experimentation
Prototyping, programming and scaling using design approaches
Learning from experiments
10.30 End session
Public policy: A design problem
“How can you make sensible policy or strategy in a nondeterministic,
evolutionary, highly complex world, that is, a world where the most
desirable outcomes are unknown but there may be many possible
acceptable outcomes, where change is characterized by both path
dependence and unpredictability, and where there are many diverse
components, interactions, and feedback among components and
multiple dimensions to each problem? This is the design problem with
respect to public policy.”
When government policy fails…
• United States: Obamacare digital platform
• Denmark: Runaway applications for solar energy scheme
• Germany: Voluntary Technical Year
• Singapore: Relationship programmes
”[In complex settings] instead of attempting to impose a
course of action, leaders must patiently allow the path forward
to reveal itself. They need to probe first, then sense, and
then respond.” David Snowden
”The state has not just fixed markets,
but actively created them”. Marianna Mazzucato
”[We] suggest institutional changes that shift innovation policy
towards a more experimental conception of the role of the state in
facilitating entrepreneurship, and thereby innovation”. Hasan Bakshi
“This country needs, and unless I
mistake its temper, the country
demands bold persistent
experimentation. It is common sense
to take a method and try it. If it fails,
admit it frankly and try another. But
above all, try something.”
Franklin Delano Roosevelt
“An appalling piece of political
Louis Howe, adviser to Franklin Delano Roosevelt
• Sensing coming trends and developments with potential policy or organisational
• Establishing insight, foresight and scenarios to visualize plausible futures
• Creating awareness of context factors of importance to the organisation
• Preparedness, resilience in view of possible disruptions
• Basis for policy planning and action
• Which political, economic, environmental, societal and technological factors
should we care about?
• How could these driving forces inﬂuence us in the future?
• What should we do now to shape our future in a desirable direction?
• The Singaporean Government: 2050 foresight strategy
• Policy Horizons Canada: IMPACT - a serious foresigt
board game for public servants
• OECD: Schooling for tomorrow
• Danish Design Center: Scenarios Healthcare Denmark
• UAE: Museum of government futures
• Dubai Future Foundation
Designing policy with people, not for them
• Exploring problems from end user perspective
• Co-creating new ideas with users and stakeholders
• Prototyping and testing early ideas “in the lab”
• To build an early validation of ﬁt and function of a policy idea
• Create basis for redesign and ultimately for decision-making
• Who are the end users?
• How might this policy intervention work for them?
• Which other aspects do we need to take into account?
• Organising and implementing policy through collaborative networks
• Leveraging all relevant resources to produce policy outcomes
• Establishing the hypotheses of change to experiment with policy by co-production
• Ensuring rigorous collection of qualitative and quantitative
• To be explicit about which actions and factors we expect will create intended change
• Raise awareness about critical success factors
• To know what to measure to track changes, including unintended consequences
• Based on our co-design process, which hypothesis is it now we are testing?
• What inputs, activities and outputs do we expect to realize?
• What would outcomes look like, if we are successful?
What we do
View all policy interventions as essentially
Realise co-production at three scales
• Prototype: High on experimenting
Key questions: How does the intervention work?
Who does it work for (who beneﬁts)?
• Program: High on learning
Key questions: How can we learn from this now
that the design is being realized?
• Scale: High on sharing
Key questions: How can we share our insights
and tools? Which actors can embed activities to
go to scale? How can we reach more people/
• Finland PMO: Government experimentation
programme and funding platform for citizen-led
• UK CO: Government Digital Services
• UAE: Dubai Future Accelerators Programme
“If you don’t measure outcomes,
you cannot tell the difference
between success and failure. That
means you might be rewarding
Ray Rist, former senior advisor, World Bank
• Establishing a systematic set of methodologies to document inputs, activities,
outputs, and short- and long term outcomes of interventions
• Establishing key perfomance indicators: Best indications of what success could look
• Collecting data systematically
• Using data to document for accountability and transparency
• Drive continuous learning, and increase organisational performance
• Produce stronger outcomes
• Do our hypotheses hold?
• Are we achieving the positive change and outcomes we intended?
• What are unintended consequences - what should we adjust?
report from Nesta
What do we
Outcome measurement system
Measures outcomes systematically around three overall strategic objectives:
• Contribution to business growth (economic value)
• Contribution to branding of Danish design (economic value)
• Contribution to societal impacts (societal outcomes in education and sustainability)
This is done by assessing progress against a logic model of hypotheses of change effect chains.
Quantitatively: Surveys among businesses, media impact data, etc.
Qualitatively: Observation studies, interviews, design research
Enables cost beneﬁt analysis: What is the return of investing in the Danish Design Centre?
User feedback surveys
• Net promoter scores, evaluation of projects et promotor score
• Measures loyalty from participants in seminars and events
Measuring design impact for business
• Comprehensive case research methodology
• Survey data
• National statistical data
How does it
Learning, adaptation, redesign
Optimizing the use of existing
resources to be leveraged
Data Mainly quantitative Quantitative and qualitative
Tools Statistics, surveys, other
A/B test, RCT’s, cases, design
research, future probes, etc.
Tailored on concrete prototype
or programme design
Setting right KPIs
- and meeting them!
Capturing causal elements of
hypotheses of change
• Which approaches do you use today from design to
• How could systematic experimentation become part
of the “new normal” of governing?
• What would be the beneﬁts?
• Which challenges to you foresee?