The Cabinet Office is currently looking to recruit someone to set up and lead the Policy Lab. The role would be a civil service position, and the chosen candidate will be given a year to set up and prove the value of the lab.
The Policy Lab will work on live issues and experiment with design-led approaches such as user-centred design, rapid prototyping of policy, and using digital tools to analyse data.
The aim is to ‘establish an entirely new organisation able to bring new and challenging ways of working into the heart of policy-making in Government’.
Cabinet Office says it has looked to international examples of using design thinking in policy-making, such as MindLab in Denmark and Nesta’s Public Services Lab. It says it is seeking to open up and improve the process of policy-making as part of the Civil Service Reform Agenda.
Last year, Corporate Edge’s Ronan Harrison wrote for Design Week about the benefits of design-led policy-making.
He said, ‘It’s not that current policy formation isn’t rigorous, it’s that its linear, analytical approach often misses vital signs of weaknesses and unanticipated potential.
‘What we need are tools and frameworks that rapidly stimulate as much of the awareness that the live environment eventually affords. We need multiple ways of seeing.’
If the Policy Lab proves successful, its processes and thinking could be rolled out more widely across the Civil Service, according to Government.
Cabinet Office also plays host to the Government Digital Service, which has rolled out the award-winning Gov.uk programme.