Policy & Politics announces the 2021 winners of the Early Career and Best Paper Prizes

2020 P&P prize winnersWe are delighted to announce the 2021 prizes for award winning papers published in Policy & Politics in 2020.

The Bleddyn Davies Prize, which acknowledges scholarship of the very highest standard by an early career academic, is awarded to:

Applying design in public administration: a literature review to explore the state of the art‘ by Margot Hermus, Arwin van Buuren & Victor Bekkers from the special issue: ‘Improving public policy and administration: exploring the potential of design’.

The Ken Young Prize, which is awarded to the best article judged to represent excellence in the field published in Policy & Politics, is awarded  to:

When design meets power: Design thinking, public sector innovation and the politics of policymaking’ by Jenny M Lewis, Michael McGann and Emma Blomkamp from the special issue: ‘Improving public policy and administration: exploring the potential of design’.

Brief critiques of the winning articles follow, in celebration of their contributions.

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Applying design in public administration: a literature review to explore the state of the art‘ by Margot Hermus, Arwin van Buuren & Victor Bekkers

In this outstanding paper, the winner of the prize for the best paper published in 2020 by an early career researcher Margot Hermus, along with colleagues, Arwin Van Buuren and Viktor Bekkers, present a state-of-the-art analysis of public sector design processes from their systematic literature review. Although they find a wide variety of methods and approaches, they conclude that there is an overrepresentation of more expert-driven and informational design approaches. Moreover, collaboration is often restricted to public officials and to consultation instead of co-creation. Although a more design-led way of thinking is increasingly used in practice as a way to develop policies and services, it has until now not generally been used by scholars in the field as a method for investigation or doing research. They conclude by posing a provocative question for the future research agenda of policy design: how can we connect design and design thinking to our way of doing research in order to intertwine the scientific and societal validation of our knowledge and to increase our impact as a field.

With its scientific analysis and clear, concise conclusions about the scholarly contribution the article makes to the field, this is a worthy winner of our Bleddyn Davies prize. Congratulations Margot, Arwin and Viktor!

When design meets power: Design thinking, public sector innovation and the politics of policymakingby Jenny M Lewis, Michael McGann and Emma Blomkamp.

In their award winning article, the winners of the prize for the best paper published in 2020, Jenny Lewis, Michael McGann and Emma Blomkamp, take us on a fascinating journey of discovery to explore what happens when design thinking comes into contact with power and politics.  Along the way, they argue that policymakers need to learn how to incorporate the insights and practices from design thinking into policy.  At the same time, though, they also argue that designers too need to learn how to deal with the politics of the policy process.  They conclude that, if both sets of actors are willing to learn from each other, there should be significant benefits for policy design and all those affected by it. Indeed, they argue that it is crucial for the future of the field to appreciate the complementarities and tensions between design thinking and policy design, in order to improve policy design in the future.

This paper stands out as being the worthy winner of our annual best paper prize. Congratulations Jenny, Michael and Emma!

You can read the original research in Policy & Politics:

Hermus, Margot; van Buuren, Arwin; Bekkers, Victor (2020) ‘Applying design in public administration: a literature review to explore the state of the art’,  Policy & Politics, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1332/030557319X15579230420126 [Free]

Lewis, Jenny M; McGann, Michael; Blomkamp, Emma (2020) ‘When design meets power: design thinking, public sector innovation and the politics of policymaking’,  Policy & Politics, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1332/030557319X15579230420081 [Open Access]

If you enjoyed this blog post, you may also be interested to read:

Improving public policy and administration: exploring the potential of design

Challenges in applying design thinking to public policy: dealing with the varieties of policy formulation and their vicissitudes

Designing institutions for designing policy

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