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A reflection on connecting complexity
theory and design for policy
Andrea Taverna, Research Fellow, Department of Design, Politecnico di Milano
Marzia Mortati, Assistant Professor, Department of Design, Politecnico di Milano
CHALLENGING COMPLEXITY
BY SYSTEMIC DESIGN
TOWARDS SUSTAINABILITY
RSD7 - RELATING SYSTEMS THINKING AND
DESIGN 7
SYMPOSIUM - TURIN - OCTOBER 24-26 . 2018
Overview
1. Research question
2. Complex problem and complexity
3. How can policy respond effectively to these problems?
4. Applying design practice in the public sector
5. Connecting complexity theory and design for policy
How can the connection between complexity
theory and design for policy impact positively
policy innovation and development?
complexity
theory
design for
policy
Policy
innovation and
development
Complex problems and complexity
• Nowadays the most crucial and significant socio-technical problems for
society involve a complex system of stakeholders with different interests
(Don Norman, 2014).
Kibera
Complex problems and complexity
• Nowadays the most crucial and significant socio-technical problems for
society involve a complex system of stakeholders with different interests
(Don Norman, 2014).
• The digital transformation (and in general the development of the
artificial) increased the interactions between the elements of
sociotechnical systems, thus increasing the complexity.
Digital transformation
What we were designed for
What we were facing
Illustrations from McChrystal et al. Team of teams: New rules of engagement for a complex world. Penguin, 2015.
Complex problems and complexity
• Nowadays the most crucial and significant socio-technical problems for
society involve a complex system of stakeholders with different interests
(Don Norman, 2014).
• The digital transformation (and in general the development of the
artificial) increased the interactions between the elements of
sociotechnical systems, thus increasing the complexity.
• In the last century studies on complex phenomena increased defining what
is called complexity theory, which is covered by different disciplines.
http://www.art-sciencefactory.com/complexity-map_feb09.html
A reflection on connecting complexity theory and design for policy
A reflection on connecting complexity theory and design for policy
A reflection on connecting complexity theory and design for policy
How can policy respond effectively to these
problems?
• Jesper Christiansen (2012) states ‘In order to respond effectively to a
changing context of complexity and uncertainty, governments and
other public service organizations need to consider innovating the
processes and practices of public policy itself.’
• To innovate socially many governments have started to explore new
approaches, methods, and tools including also design
(Junginger,2013; Howlett, 2015; Kimbell, 2017; Junginger, 2018)
Renovation starting from:
• Procedures, that are often inappropriate and obsolete following old
dynamics of the public sector compared to the scale and speed of change
and technological development, frequently the traditional process followed
by policymakers is linear and deterministic (Hubert, 2010);
• Organisational structures and procedures, that are often inadequate to
support the flow of Information and collaboration (i.e. old silos structure)
(Froy, F. and S. Giguère 2010);
• Citizen engagement, that is often not appropriately applied to the design
and development of policy (Holmes 2011).
Applying design practice in the public sector
• Wicked problems and Third and fourth orders of design. (Buchanan, 1992,
2001).
• Norman et al. (2015) have described how design can play an active role in
reducing political, social and cultural disruption while building more
resilient solutions alongside optimizing resources.
• Bason (2017) has underlined the potential of applying design practice in
public sector and administration using three dimensions:
• Exploring the problem space
• Generating alternative scenarios
• Enacting new practices
Design for Policy
• «[…]Design research and design methods can support the efforts of
public officials to identify new ways of working and to aid in the
implementation of new thinking and doing» (Junginger, 2018).
• «What “designing for policy” seems to be questioning is how the
mandate for change is created and sustained, as well as how a better
relationship between policy and practice could increase the
likelihood of successful state interventions and build public
legitimacy. » (Mortati et al. 2018).
Connecting complexity theory and
design for policy
Complex theory to support design for policy
• When design start to deal with policy it is implicit that it works with
complex system. Therefore, through the lens of the complexity
theory, design for policy has tools and the perspectives to understand
the complexity.
• On the other hand, not connecting design for policy to the complexity
theory make complex system perceived as confused and difficult to
understand, therefore complexity would be perceived as a problem.
Design & complexity
• Pizzocaro (2004) notices how design in its practices embraces uncertain
contexts for the ability of designers to frame problems mentioning Morin
(1977) which referring to designers says “they need to have a method
which enables them to design the multiplicity of viewpoints and being
able to switch from one to another”.
• Referring to complexity Manzini(2015) states “the traditional boundaries
between designer, provider, and user of a solution become increasingly
blurred.[…] The emergence of this “enriching complexity” can be
considered a value that reflects the true nature of human beings”.
• Design X (Norman et al, 2015).
Complexity and policy
• Ceruti (2007) supports the idea of a complex view in contrast with the
(iper)specialization of the modern time. In order to have an understanding
of complexity, it is needed a dialogue between areas of knowledge.
Furthermore, he states, this dialogue becomes relevant not only in
research, but for policymakers which are not equipped with the adequate
paradigms and the cultural maps neither to solve complex problems nor to
formulate them.
• In a time when policymakers are tasked with developing innovative
solutions to increasingly complex policy problems, the need for intelligent
design of policies and a better understanding of the policy formulation
processes they involve has never been greater. (Howlett et al, 2015)
A shared vocabulary
• The aim of this position paper is to start building a shared vocabulary,
by analysing the area of knowledge between Complexity & Design &
Policy.
• The research is in an early stage in which it is under analysis what has
been produced in the common areas of knowledge between:
• Complexity and Design
• Complexity and Policy
• Design and Policy
Bibliography
• Bason, Christian. Leading public sector innovation: Co-creating for a better society. Policy Press, 2018.
• Bocchi, Gianluca, e Mauro Ceruti. La sfida della complessità. Vol. 65. Pearson Italia Spa, 2007.
• Buchanan, Richard. «Design research and the new learning». Design issues 17, n. 4 (2001): 3–23.
• ———. «Wicked problems in design thinking». Design issues 8, n. 2 (1992): 5–21.
• Celaschi, Flaviano. «Design as mediation between areas of knowledge». Man at the centre of the project. Torino, Allemandi & C, 2008.
• Ceruti, Mauro. Il tempo della complessità. Minima. Raffello Cortina Editore, 2018.
• Christiansen, Jesper, e Laura Bunt. «Innovation in policy: allowing for creativity». Social Complexity and Uncertainty in Public Governance (http://www. nesta. org. uk/publications/assets/features/innovation_in_policy),
2012.
• Holmes, Brenton. Citizens’ engagement in policymaking and the design of public services. Parliamentary Library Canberra, 2011.
• Howlett, Michael, Ishani Mukherjee, e Jun Jie Woo. «From tools to toolkits in policy design studies: the new design orientation towards policy formulation research». Policy & Politics 43, n. 2 (2015): 291–311.
• Hubert, Agnès. “Empowering People, Driving Change: Social Innovation in the European Union.” Bureau of European Policy Advisors (BEPA), 2010.
• Junginger, Sabine. «Design and innovation in the public sector: Matters of design in policy-making and policy implementation». Annual Review of Policy Design 1, n. 1 (2013): 1–11.
• ———. «Design Research and Practice for the Public Good: A Reflection». She Ji: The Journal of Design, Economics, and Innovation 3, n. 4 (1 dicembre 2017): 290–302. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.sheji.2018.02.005.
• Kimbell, Lucy, e Jocelyn Bailey. «Prototyping and the new spirit of policy-making». CoDesign 13, n. 3 (2017): 214–26.
• Manzini, Ezio. Design, when everybody designs: An introduction to design for social innovation. MIT press, 2015.
• McChrystal, General Stanley, Tantum Collins, David Silverman, e Chris Fussell. Team of teams: New rules of engagement for a complex world. Penguin, 2015.
• Morin, Edgar, Giuseppe Gembillo, e Annamaria Anselmo. La sfida della complessità. Le Lettere, 2011.
• Mortati, Marzia, Jesper Christiansen, e Stefano Maffei. «Design craft in Government», 561–71. Linköping University Electronic Press, 2018.
• Norman, Donald A, e Pieter Jan Stappers. «DesignX: complex sociotechnical systems». She Ji: The Journal of Design, Economics, and Innovation 1, n. 2 (2015): 83–106.
• Pizzocaro, Silvia. «Design e complessità». Design Multiverso: Appunti di fenomenologia del design, 2004.

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A reflection on connecting complexity theory and design for policy

  • 1. A reflection on connecting complexity theory and design for policy Andrea Taverna, Research Fellow, Department of Design, Politecnico di Milano Marzia Mortati, Assistant Professor, Department of Design, Politecnico di Milano CHALLENGING COMPLEXITY BY SYSTEMIC DESIGN TOWARDS SUSTAINABILITY RSD7 - RELATING SYSTEMS THINKING AND DESIGN 7 SYMPOSIUM - TURIN - OCTOBER 24-26 . 2018
  • 2. Overview 1. Research question 2. Complex problem and complexity 3. How can policy respond effectively to these problems? 4. Applying design practice in the public sector 5. Connecting complexity theory and design for policy
  • 3. How can the connection between complexity theory and design for policy impact positively policy innovation and development? complexity theory design for policy Policy innovation and development
  • 4. Complex problems and complexity • Nowadays the most crucial and significant socio-technical problems for society involve a complex system of stakeholders with different interests (Don Norman, 2014).
  • 6. Complex problems and complexity • Nowadays the most crucial and significant socio-technical problems for society involve a complex system of stakeholders with different interests (Don Norman, 2014). • The digital transformation (and in general the development of the artificial) increased the interactions between the elements of sociotechnical systems, thus increasing the complexity.
  • 7. Digital transformation What we were designed for What we were facing Illustrations from McChrystal et al. Team of teams: New rules of engagement for a complex world. Penguin, 2015.
  • 8. Complex problems and complexity • Nowadays the most crucial and significant socio-technical problems for society involve a complex system of stakeholders with different interests (Don Norman, 2014). • The digital transformation (and in general the development of the artificial) increased the interactions between the elements of sociotechnical systems, thus increasing the complexity. • In the last century studies on complex phenomena increased defining what is called complexity theory, which is covered by different disciplines.
  • 13. How can policy respond effectively to these problems? • Jesper Christiansen (2012) states ‘In order to respond effectively to a changing context of complexity and uncertainty, governments and other public service organizations need to consider innovating the processes and practices of public policy itself.’ • To innovate socially many governments have started to explore new approaches, methods, and tools including also design (Junginger,2013; Howlett, 2015; Kimbell, 2017; Junginger, 2018)
  • 14. Renovation starting from: • Procedures, that are often inappropriate and obsolete following old dynamics of the public sector compared to the scale and speed of change and technological development, frequently the traditional process followed by policymakers is linear and deterministic (Hubert, 2010); • Organisational structures and procedures, that are often inadequate to support the flow of Information and collaboration (i.e. old silos structure) (Froy, F. and S. Giguère 2010); • Citizen engagement, that is often not appropriately applied to the design and development of policy (Holmes 2011).
  • 15. Applying design practice in the public sector • Wicked problems and Third and fourth orders of design. (Buchanan, 1992, 2001). • Norman et al. (2015) have described how design can play an active role in reducing political, social and cultural disruption while building more resilient solutions alongside optimizing resources. • Bason (2017) has underlined the potential of applying design practice in public sector and administration using three dimensions: • Exploring the problem space • Generating alternative scenarios • Enacting new practices
  • 16. Design for Policy • «[…]Design research and design methods can support the efforts of public officials to identify new ways of working and to aid in the implementation of new thinking and doing» (Junginger, 2018). • «What “designing for policy” seems to be questioning is how the mandate for change is created and sustained, as well as how a better relationship between policy and practice could increase the likelihood of successful state interventions and build public legitimacy. » (Mortati et al. 2018).
  • 17. Connecting complexity theory and design for policy
  • 18. Complex theory to support design for policy • When design start to deal with policy it is implicit that it works with complex system. Therefore, through the lens of the complexity theory, design for policy has tools and the perspectives to understand the complexity. • On the other hand, not connecting design for policy to the complexity theory make complex system perceived as confused and difficult to understand, therefore complexity would be perceived as a problem.
  • 19. Design & complexity • Pizzocaro (2004) notices how design in its practices embraces uncertain contexts for the ability of designers to frame problems mentioning Morin (1977) which referring to designers says “they need to have a method which enables them to design the multiplicity of viewpoints and being able to switch from one to another”. • Referring to complexity Manzini(2015) states “the traditional boundaries between designer, provider, and user of a solution become increasingly blurred.[…] The emergence of this “enriching complexity” can be considered a value that reflects the true nature of human beings”. • Design X (Norman et al, 2015).
  • 20. Complexity and policy • Ceruti (2007) supports the idea of a complex view in contrast with the (iper)specialization of the modern time. In order to have an understanding of complexity, it is needed a dialogue between areas of knowledge. Furthermore, he states, this dialogue becomes relevant not only in research, but for policymakers which are not equipped with the adequate paradigms and the cultural maps neither to solve complex problems nor to formulate them. • In a time when policymakers are tasked with developing innovative solutions to increasingly complex policy problems, the need for intelligent design of policies and a better understanding of the policy formulation processes they involve has never been greater. (Howlett et al, 2015)
  • 21. A shared vocabulary • The aim of this position paper is to start building a shared vocabulary, by analysing the area of knowledge between Complexity & Design & Policy. • The research is in an early stage in which it is under analysis what has been produced in the common areas of knowledge between: • Complexity and Design • Complexity and Policy • Design and Policy
  • 22. Bibliography • Bason, Christian. Leading public sector innovation: Co-creating for a better society. Policy Press, 2018. • Bocchi, Gianluca, e Mauro Ceruti. La sfida della complessità. Vol. 65. Pearson Italia Spa, 2007. • Buchanan, Richard. «Design research and the new learning». Design issues 17, n. 4 (2001): 3–23. • ———. «Wicked problems in design thinking». Design issues 8, n. 2 (1992): 5–21. • Celaschi, Flaviano. «Design as mediation between areas of knowledge». Man at the centre of the project. Torino, Allemandi & C, 2008. • Ceruti, Mauro. Il tempo della complessità. Minima. Raffello Cortina Editore, 2018. • Christiansen, Jesper, e Laura Bunt. «Innovation in policy: allowing for creativity». Social Complexity and Uncertainty in Public Governance (http://www. nesta. org. uk/publications/assets/features/innovation_in_policy), 2012. • Holmes, Brenton. Citizens’ engagement in policymaking and the design of public services. Parliamentary Library Canberra, 2011. • Howlett, Michael, Ishani Mukherjee, e Jun Jie Woo. «From tools to toolkits in policy design studies: the new design orientation towards policy formulation research». Policy & Politics 43, n. 2 (2015): 291–311. • Hubert, Agnès. “Empowering People, Driving Change: Social Innovation in the European Union.” Bureau of European Policy Advisors (BEPA), 2010. • Junginger, Sabine. «Design and innovation in the public sector: Matters of design in policy-making and policy implementation». Annual Review of Policy Design 1, n. 1 (2013): 1–11. • ———. «Design Research and Practice for the Public Good: A Reflection». She Ji: The Journal of Design, Economics, and Innovation 3, n. 4 (1 dicembre 2017): 290–302. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.sheji.2018.02.005. • Kimbell, Lucy, e Jocelyn Bailey. «Prototyping and the new spirit of policy-making». CoDesign 13, n. 3 (2017): 214–26. • Manzini, Ezio. Design, when everybody designs: An introduction to design for social innovation. MIT press, 2015. • McChrystal, General Stanley, Tantum Collins, David Silverman, e Chris Fussell. Team of teams: New rules of engagement for a complex world. Penguin, 2015. • Morin, Edgar, Giuseppe Gembillo, e Annamaria Anselmo. La sfida della complessità. Le Lettere, 2011. • Mortati, Marzia, Jesper Christiansen, e Stefano Maffei. «Design craft in Government», 561–71. Linköping University Electronic Press, 2018. • Norman, Donald A, e Pieter Jan Stappers. «DesignX: complex sociotechnical systems». She Ji: The Journal of Design, Economics, and Innovation 1, n. 2 (2015): 83–106. • Pizzocaro, Silvia. «Design e complessità». Design Multiverso: Appunti di fenomenologia del design, 2004.

Editor's Notes

  1. Korogocho as an example of complexity The workers «scavenger», which dig into the trash, are the first to be damaged (health, enviroment) by the trash, but also the first which don’t want to be removed the site, because it gives them work (and so money to live)
  2. Kibera as an example of complexity Policy for innovation (train) Building Real «upgrading» when architects engigner go away
  3. Mc Chrystal et al. Describing the war situation in Iraq illustrate how the old structure felt inadequate in front of the new form of (terrorist) organization shaped by digital technologies
  4. Hubert, Agnes. “Empowering People, Driving Change: Social Innovation in the European Union.” Bureau of European Policy Advisors (BEPA), 2010. Froy, F. and S. Giguère (2010), Breaking Out of Policy Silos: Doing More with Less, Local Economic and Employment Development (LEED), OECD Publishing, Paris, Holmes, Brenton. Citizens’ engagement in policymaking and the design of public services. Parliamentary Library Canberra, 2011. mazzucato?
  5. Nel momento in cui il design intende occuparsi delle policy è scontato che impatta con un sistema complesso.
  6. Celaschi «design come mediatore fra i saperi» (?) Ceruti from philosophy Howlett from policy study