T07P04 - The Rise of Policy Labs

Topic : Policy Design, Policy Analysis, Expertise and Evaluation

Panel Chair : Emma Blomkamp - blomkamp.e@unimelb.edu.au

Panel Second Chair : Jenny Lewis - jmlewis@unimelb.edu.au

Panel Third Chair : MIchael Howlett - howlett@sfu.ca

Objectives and Scientific Relevance of the panel

Note: This Panel is eligible for the GCPSE (UNDP) Grant.

 

 

Governments around the world have been experimenting with policy design and seeking innovative approaches, as they try to increase the value for money they get from their limited funds, while simultaneously addressing intractable policy problems. In recent years, governmental interest in innovation, experimentation and measurement has spawned a multitude of policy design labs and government innovation teams. These ‘policy labs’ take a variety of forms, applying different methods and focusing on a range of issues – sometimes developing a high profile (e.g. Denmark’s MindLab), and at other times disappearing not long after they emerge (e.g. Australia’s DesignGov).

Despite their differences, policy labs predominantly draw on and reflect contemporary interest in behavioural insights, design thinking and evidence-based policy making, and there is a growing body of grey literature describing and promoting policy labs. Some are located within government; and some are autonomous but sponsored by government, not-for-profit organizations, or some combination of both. Others are located within universities. Some appear to be ‘re-branded’ units, while others are clearly new initiatives. And while some specialise in particular policy sectors, others have a very broad area of interest. Yet there is still relatively little academic research on the specific form, practices and influences of these ‘innovative’ policy-making/evaluating units. If policy labs are themselves experimental, what are we learning from these experiments in policy design?

This panel aims to better understand the emergence and spread of the policy lab as a distinct institutional form, as well as the particular concepts and methods being applied and promoted by these units, and their influence on policy design, implementation and evaluation.

We propose a panel that sheds light on the following questions, among others:

The aim of the panel is to bring together researchers from diverse disciplines and geographic locations with a common interest in understanding the origins, practices and impacts of policy labs.

 

Call for papers

Governments around the world have been experimenting with policy design and seeking innovative approaches, as they try to increase the value for money they get from their limited funds, while simultaneously addressing intractable policy problems. A growing interest in innovation, experimentation and measurement has spawned a multitude of policy design labs and government innovation teams. These ‘policy labs’ take a variety of forms, apply different methods and focus on a range of issues.

Despite their differences, policy labs predominantly draw on and reflect contemporary interest in behavioural insights, design thinking and evidence-based policy making.  Yet there is still relatively little academic research on the specific form, practices and influences of these ‘innovative’ policy-making/evaluating units. If policy labs are themselves experimental, what are we learning from these experiments in policy design?

This panel aims to better understand the emergence and spread of the policy lab as a distinct institutional form, as well as the particular concepts and methods being applied and promoted by these units, and their influence on policy design, implementation and evaluation. We want to bring together researchers from diverse disciplines and geographic locations with a common interest in understanding the origins, practices and impacts of policy labs.

We are calling for submissions that shed light on the following questions, among others:

 

Export PDF