Two inspiring posts by Dr. Lucy Kimbell, a visiting Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) Fellow at the UK-based Policy Lab, an experimental policy innovation center within the Open Policy Making team of the UK Cabinet Office:
Ethnography in policymaking: Barriers and opportunities
The value of ethnography is not simply that it’s a method for understanding people in the context of their own lives, although it does offer that. The real potential for ethnography in policymaking is to help reframe government’s understanding of its purposes and how the world in which it exists and which it shapes is changing. This insight emerged from a panel discussion organised by Policy Lab in the grand surroundings of the Churchill Room during Open Policy 2015, during which three people with different perspectives – Dr Simon Roberts of Stripe Partners, Lisa Rudnick from Interpeace and Rupert Gill of the Department of Work and Pensions – reflected on the opportunities and barriers for ethnography in government.
Prototyping in government workshop
Opening the Open Policy 2015 prototyping workshop Andrea Siodmok, head of the Policy Lab, surfaced at once three of the key principles of prototyping. First it’s about making ideas tangible. Second, it makes them shareable and discussable, so that they can then be improved upon. Third, it is a collective activity that many people can contribute to. This fast-paced session kept these principles in view as it enabled people to explore what prototyping in government might mean at the earliest stages of policymaking.