In early August, as part of CIID Summer School, John collaborated with Shu Yang Lin to bring a 5 day workshop in “Design for Policy Making” to the UN City in Copenhagen.

John & Shu Yang – energised at the beginning of the week and clearly excited to be at the U.N. City!

A dynamic group of international participants, some designers, some policy makers, bravely embarked on an exploration into the ways that design methods might inform policy making practice.

The week was not without it’s challenges – as a group we were some of us very experienced designers, and others, more experienced policy makers. This made it somewhat difficult to meet the needs of both groups in upskilling and practice.

Presenting insights, synthesised from research conducted online, at U.N. City, and in the streets of Copenhagen.

That said, it was precisely that dynamic which allowed for rich peer-to-peer learning as we explored this exciting area of design.

Shu Yang brought tonnes of experience from her work with the government of Taiwan, including her early activism with the “Fork the Government” series of digital initiatives.

John brought examples from projects in the UK with Future Cities Catapult as well as collaborations with municipalities in Denmark, Spain, England and Scotland.

Additional expertise was provided by a series of fantastic guest speakers, some in person, some via video link. We were joined by Jesper Christiansen (NESTA), Fiona Pelham (Positive Impact Events), Simon O’Rafferty (M.Co) and Shane Waring (Dublin City Beta Projects).

Shu Yang Lin introduces the U.N. SDG’s at the beginning of the week.

From research conducted on the UN Sustainable Development Goals, through citizen engagement and into a policy lab-style brainstorming session, it was an action packed week. Prototyping meant policy ideas could be tested on the streets of Copenhagen, with the week wrapping up with the votes of our mini-parliament at Summer School in the atrium of UN City.

Putting policies to the test in our mini-parliament.

A lot was learned – and there’s a lot we will change if the opportunity comes again to run such an interesting workshop.

But one thing’s for sure… we worked for a week with a great group of people who are fascinated by the power of design to help create better policy, and they’re now connected and sharing their efforts in a way that can only help advance the practice.