Handbook on Policy, Process and Governing
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Handbook on Policy, Process and Governing

Edited by H. K. Colebatch and Robert Hoppe

This Handbook covers the accounts, by practitioners and observers, of the ways in which policy is formed around problems, how these problems are recognized and understood, and how diverse participants come to be involved in addressing them. H.K. Colebatch and Robert Hoppe draw together a range of original contributions from experts in the field to illuminate the ways in which policies are formed and how they shape the process of governing.
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Chapter 8: Design as a window on the policy process

H.K. Colebatch


The concept of design implies that practice is preceded (and guided) by prior systematic thought. Its application to policy is compatible with the perception of governing as systematic instrumental action, though it has to contend with such constructs as ‘policy sciences’ and the field of knowledge and practice known as ‘policy analysis’. This chapter traces the emergence of ‘policy design’ as a concept, and its problematic relationship to existing practices, relationships and concepts in the process of governing. It explores the puzzles and tensions involved in applying the concept of design to policy activity, notes recent attempts to identify a ‘new policy design’, and the place for ‘creativity’ in design, and suggests an alternative way of recognising these tensions, and making sense of the concept of design in the analysis of the policy process.

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