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Design Thinking for Institutional and Government Policy Planning

December 1, 2005


Four projects that extrapolate how design thinking can be extended to new levels of service for institutional and governmental policy planning. Preparing designers to participate will be a challenge for design education. Meeting the challenge will also require broader understanding on the part of both designers and policy planners, including the development and mastery of a new range of planning tools. A necessary concomitant will be organized support from the design professions — a campaign to demonstrate the value of design thinking to the public in general and to the decision makers who ultimately must recruit design advice. Three of the projects here address these concerns: Education for Policy Design Synthesis, A Research Initiative for Policy Design Synthesis, and A Campaign for Policy Design Synthesis . The fourth, A Natural Systems Institute, demonstrates directly how design thinking can help in institutional advanced planning



Problems induced by continuing population growth and its pressure on resources and environment have reached a stage where serious concern must be given to the processes of decision making used by governmental and institutional leaders. Major problems of policy are being addressed without benefit of a full range of critical advice. Of great concern, science thinking is frequently unheard or unheeded and design thinking is not engaged at all.


Proposed User Experience


Design thinking, as a complement to science thinking, embodies a wide range of creative characteristics as well as a number of other special qualities of distinct value to decision makers at the policy level. In advisory roles, properly prepared design professionals could make substantial contributions to a process now dominated by political and economic influence.

Final Results

Education for Policy Design Synthesis
Report EPDS_report
Appendices EPDS_appendices
Presentation EPDS_presentation

A Research Initiative for Policy Design Synthesis
Report & appendices RIPDS_report+appendices
Presentation RIPDS_presentation

A Campaign for Policy Design Synthesis
Report & appendices CPDS_report+appendices
Presentation CPDS_presentation

A Natural Systems Institute
Report NSI_report
Appendices NSI_appendices
Presentation NSI_presentation



Christine Kim
Clinton Barth
Derrick Kiker
Daniel Greene
Enric Gili Fort
Gil-Ock Lee
Henning Fischer
Hyuniee Jung
Joyce Chen
Mark King
Matthew Lennertz
Min Ouyang
Pamela Nyberg
Randy MacDonald
Rishabh Singh
Sarah Nelson
Seungho Chung
Steven Babitch
Waewwan Sitthisathainchai