Practical Policy Making Europe
A project to make grass roots policy creation a possibility by combining top down and bottom up experiences of all stakeholders involved. This document is a first step in the direction of realising a case study of practical policy making. A trial and error situation to develop the way we design our shared values and the world we live in together.
Some essential points:
The European Commission
There is a need to step away from the technical term of social innovation over to a new deeper meaning of human factors (awareness, public feelings and diversity) and soft qualities embedded in innovation.
How do we enable social innovation to create these insights into new ways of measuring with both human and economic profit (Connecting social innovation with economic value)?
The quality of diversity
E. g.: We need to create a practical approach, a policy making embedded in society! Learning-by-doing with the help of experts, creative and critical thinkers to build and test prototypes in real life scenario’s. The European Commission needs to enable both social innovation from within and start growing a new culture, a culture of multidisciplinary and multisectoral collaborations between the creative industries and policy making needs to get established to harvest new futures! Next to scaling up of social innovation and policies we need to develop new tools to measure soft values and qualities, finding the balance between diversity and generalisation in scaling up.
Social innovation at the core of regulation!
This leads me to introducing the initiative “Practical Policy Making” which is focussing on policy making as a design process. How can we introduce a new approach to policy making, a learning by doing, involving all stakeholders present in a situation? This for me is a logical adaption of my experience in the field of design that has grown from the designing of objects to the designing of systems and is now leading me to leadership development and the designing of policy.
Working together with local and European partners like the EUClid network, Local Intelligence, local authorities and other local and European organisations we can make this proposal a reality. Step by step thinking and working together about how a plan like this can grow into society and become an integral part of it. How will this benefit politicians, businesses and European developments. At this moment there is a need for politics and society to grow closer together. That new ideas about how places are organised are not made up by someone from an other place but how, from the start of a situation experts and inhabitants work together.
Identity and ownership and responsibility of a place and its people is a very big topic. The Western European attitude is changing towards being defensive and selective, to exclude and to become a society with a singular vision. In my opinion it is the European union to blame for this behaviour. Changes in countries that are to big and to distant form the people. We now live in scale that is impossible to imagine by a regular inhabitant of a country or city. This crisis in identity is what is shaking Europe even more than the Financial crisis. This means the European union should work to build a empathic society, to create a way of working in respect of society. To give an example to local authorities on how a place can be its society and how they are there, not to govern, but to help, guide and support.
In reality a perfect situation would be a small city or village in Europe where the local authorities are looking to find new local solutions tuned to the people and circumstances of the village. Example aspects of the context can be historic, geographic, young and old, families and individuals, physical workers and desk workers, public or private, etc… This in collaboration with an inspiring team of active politicians to start the conversation of how a plan like this can be implemented.
This kind of project can only be shown by example! A grass roots initiative where top down and bottom up help each other in developing the place where they all live and work together. But to be able to do that we need to form a team of advocates with whom together we can complete the project proposal and make it into a format to which we can invite people to start working on.
This document is a first step, a concept draft. The beginning of a new project that depends on a collaboration of experts to work together on, to form a team in spirit of the project its values. With this document I hope to trigger you to express your interest and to dedicate yourself to help making this unique project a reality. By practical means, through active involvement or conceptual and political support, together we can make a difference in how we and others design their world.
An introduction to how I with my background as a designer works on the development of restructuring policy making processes.
My journey to an interest in policy making
Many of the design projects I have created relate to this experience of processes and systems, to play with diverse approaches, make the system to disappear, to provoke, to improve or support. We feel the presence of these invisible structures around us but how do we understand them and relate to them?
From a focus on the relation of people and objects my interest shifted to this relation applied to situations in the public realm where objects became tools to interact with complex situations and relations. Working together with local authorities, business and inhabitants in researches towards innovating the life in that location. Examples are a research towards the meaning of healthy living and new ways to create awareness about the relation between the different aspects of health the private and public spaces of a small city in Hungary. An other example is the development of a public square in collaboration with the public authorities introducing business insights to the organisational structure of the authorities itself to support the public space with an engaging and sustainable a approach in Kampen, a city in The Netherlands. Or the development of the scenario generator, a role playing game for policy makers for the province of Overijssel in the Netherlands where credibility is measured from the difference between personal and work related values.
The living, working, travelling and spending time in the public realm as a topic in proactive and research grew an interest to the regulations of the processes that are taking place in these spaces. Implementation and investigation in practical situations and in research leading to the rethinking of the thinking about the future. How is it that we are living the way we live today, can we become more aware of the way we live and the complexity our lifestyle demands? Questioning is the answer to the question. With my fascination to how people live in the systems around us I initiated a research project called the future of Utopia I started to work on a publication to how Western Europeans work towards the future, what function does idealism have today and in what way is it present in our society. During this research the line of politics, design started to become one.
The designers of our world are the policy makers. My question, how can I create a hybrid of design and policy making taking design tools, my experience and way of working to connect these two worlds and let them learn form each other.
The changing role of the designer
Designers traditionally are educated as makers and doers, to think about the systems for making, enabling them to create a new experience, an other perspective. To design new ways of living and working together. Policy is the next step in evolution for designers to take part in, policy is where the real designing of how life in this world takes place.
What makes it interesting to search for this combination of design and policy making is the sensibility designers and artists have for the world around us. Working from a human scale, to create processes that are made to fit situations, investigating and learning and working together with business, politics and the people themselves. It is empathy that drives them, the relation to others, with yourself to measure the values to work around. Their role is creative director of the development of systems. Taking charge to build the process and the tools specific for the situation. They are communicators, translators, inventors and adaptors, and makers, they have opportunity and the responsibility to make change and to involve others in doing so.
Local is about creating the connections between you, your street, your community, your organisation, your city, your country, our Europe… It’s about being part of something bigger and understanding the relations between the varieties of localities in the virtual and the real world. The most important thing is to be present with each other in your locality, together we create.
We experience a dissection of global markets and businesses. Uncertainties, complexities and ambiguities are demanding new ways of working. We believe in new opportunities towards a distributed openness, networked thinking, collaborative work and the Will-Do attitude for local innovative and market challenging educational & business concepts. We work as a local laboratory for your business, a place where we design new kinds of breeds, co-create new understandings towards the hybridization of design and business.
At every level of a company, organisation, community or authority, from leaders to employees and from partners to clients and customers we see a collective knowledge of experts. A practical understanding of the issues at hand by the people involved.
The key is to use this knowledge and share experiences through all different levels. This transparency is about daring to be aware and take responsibility towards everyone involved. To stand for who you are and what you do. Working together is the key to innovation. Your locality becomes a creative force. Locality is based around physical and emotional connections between people and can be found in many different scales. It has to do with your identity, who you are, where you are and what you do.
We work as a laboratory for strategic innovation and are working with business, policy, educational and individual clients across a variety of fields. Together we co-create new transparent ways of working, new profits and ways to rethink businesses and relations to society. Our platform and network are connecting tools to get a practical input on social innovation perspectives and debate. What does it mean, what can it do and how can we make a real impact for change?