An international network for

Research and Practice on Design in Policy Making


We are an interconnected global group of people researching and practicing across various design, policy, and innovation disciplines. We exist thanks to the initiative of two of our members who identified not just common interests at the intersection of the worlds of design and policy, yet in particular the prevailing institutional barriers they have faced in making progress in the field, be it in their academic or practical work.

We thus came together to discuss, stress-test and diffuse ideas about design as it adopts the role of a catalyst for the development of society-centered public policy making, implementation and services. Unlike the profiles you might find in other design, innovation, policy or research communities, we all are both researching as PhDs or recent PhD graduates, and at the same time practice in the domain as service designers, policy professionals or in design education.

What matters to us are our common interests, the ideas we want to advance in this world, and to come together as a group to act on what unites rather than divides us.

We want to generate possibilities beyond what existing institutional structures offer to us: to combine academic rigour with cutting-edge practices in a new way that enables the implementation of the most responsible and appropriate design and policy solutions, no matter the exact context or industry focus.

We look at design’s contribution to...

Human-centered research for policy, political and social innovation contexts

The deployment of new technologies in ways that enable positive social impact

Organizational and strategy innovation in the public sector and across the public and private one

Evidence-collection for policy decision-making

Social and policy entrepreneurship and institutional intrapreneurship

What we stand for

Combine practice and research in our own particular way, based on the different visions, approaches, and disciplines each member brings

Challenge current power structures, as well as knowledge-creation in policy and design

Overcome disciplinary boundaries in a way that allows for more comprehensive and systemic understandings of current societal challenges and how to solve them

Engage in diverse activities across community members, yet strive for connecting with people and organisations at every level

What we do


Academic and non-academic publications, and resources for researchers and practitioners

Engagement activities
Experience and knowledge exchange instances with the broader public


Capacity building
By sharing approaches, tools, methods (research and practice) and feedbacks on ongoing work

By exchanging on professional trajectories and opportunities

Community of practice and support
Provide practice-related support; and exchange on approaches to PhD research and how to overcome obstacles linked to it

Who we are

Diana Pamela
Villa Alvarez
Program Coordinator
Fundación Saldarriaga Concha
Bogotá, Colombia

I am interested in..

  • The role of design in public policymaking

  • The design methods used in early stages of the policy cycle for the formulation of policies

  • Design prototyping and experimentation in policymaking

Sofía Bosch Gómez
Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Northeastern University
Boston, USA

I am interested in..

  • The overlaps of design education and public and social innovation labs in Latin America.

  • Systemic design and digital public services.

  • The pedagogy of design research and methods for non-designers.

Federico Vaz
Public Sector Innovation Researcher and Consultant
London, United Kingdom

I am interested in..

  • The use of Design approaches for public policy and service innovation.

  • The democratic implications of introducing Design for governance.

  • State reform to meet XXI century societal challenges.

Francesco Leoni
Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Design Policy Lab
Dept. of Design, Politecnico di Milano
Milan, Italy

I am interested in..

  • The use of data for policy innovation: changes in the epistemology of policy-making

  • The impact of using data on governance and institutional settings

  • The interplay between digital data usage, qualitative data and heuristics in policy-making

Luis Garcia
PhD Researcher & Teaching Fellow
Carnegie Mellon University

I am interested in..

  • The legislation and public administration realities that influence public sector innovation in Latin America

  • The processes used for people’s participation in the context of public sector innovation

  • The role of design in supporting public servants and public sector institutions

Natalia Villaman
Doctoral Researcher, Designer & Mediator
University of Helsinki, Faculty of Social Sciences, Aalto University
Helsinki, Finland

I am interested in..

  • The role of facilitation as a civic skill to strengthen political efficacy and participatory democratic efforts.

  • Creating connections between design, social sciences and political sociology through multidisciplinary research and practice.

  • Politicizing participation and prompting the necessary conditions to create a culture in which power is challenged and distributed among those who participate

Ahmee Kim
PhD Researcher
TU Delft
Delft, Netherlands

I am interested in..

  • Embedding design in local government

  • Systemic design practices in public sector

  • Design for Policy practices in Asian countries

Beatriz Belmonte
Strategic Design for Public Purpose Technology
Better Public Services

I am interested in..

  • Digital government and public purpose technology, also called govtech or civtech.

  • People-centric evaluation for the public sector

  • Training and capability needed for the next generation of public policy designers

Extended Network

John Herniman

Verena Kontschieder