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    When design meets power: design thinking, public sector innovation and the politics of policymaking

    Lewis, Jenny M. and McGann, Michael and Blomkamp, Emma (2020) When design meets power: design thinking, public sector innovation and the politics of policymaking. Policy & Politics, 48 (1). pp. 111-130. ISSN 1470-8442

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    Responding to the need for innovation, governments have begun experimenting with ‘design thinking’ approaches to reframe policy issues and generate and test new policy solutions. This paper examines what is new about design thinking and compares this to rational and participatory approaches to policymaking, highlighting the difference between their logics, foundations and the basis on which they ‘speak truth to power’. It then examines the impact of design thinking on policymaking in practice, using the example of public sector innovation (PSI) labs. The paper concludes that design thinking, when it comes in contact with power and politics, faces significant challenges, but that there are opportunities for design thinking and policymaking to work better together.

    Item Type: Article
    Additional Information: This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 4.0 license ( which permits adaptation, alteration, reproduction and distribution for non-commercial use, without further permission provided the original work is attributed. The derivative works do not need to be licensed on the same terms. To cite this article: Lewis, J.M., McGann, M. and Blomkamp, E. (2020) When design meets power: design thinking, public sector innovation and the politics of policymaking, vol 48, no 1, 111–130, Policy & Politics, DOI: 10.1332/030557319X15579230420081
    Keywords: design thinking; participatory policy; policy design; power; public sector innovation;
    Academic Unit: Faculty of Social Sciences > Research Institutes > Maynooth University Social Sciences Institute, MUSSI
    Faculty of Social Sciences > Sociology
    Item ID: 12960
    Identification Number:
    Depositing User: Michael McGann
    Date Deposited: 14 May 2020 14:09
    Journal or Publication Title: Policy & Politics
    Publisher: Policy Press
    Refereed: Yes
    Use Licence: This item is available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike Licence (CC BY-NC-SA). Details of this licence are available here

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