PbD logo.png

Held over two days in late May 2018, Policy by Design was a landmark symposium on the role of co-design and design in policy in Aotearoa New Zealand.

The symposium brought together a group of experienced commissioners, senior managers, expert practitioners, researchers, innovation workers and aligned professionals from across local and central government, academia and the private sector.

Why a symposium?

‘Design’ has the potential to make the policy process more accessible to the people most affected by it, to develop policy that is more responsive to their needs and experiences, and to create a stronger feedback loop between research, policy, implementation and their impacts on the ground. However, this field is still evolving, and the risks and challenges of these ways of working are also becoming better understood. The symposium provided a timely opportunity to reflect and share what we currently know, challenge ourselves about what ‘better’ might look like, and collectively work on the future of these practices in Aotearoa New Zealand.


The proposition

Proposition: Social policy which addresses complex issues needs to be developed with an understanding of the complex social settings in which such policy must work. Eppel et al. (2018) call for a “complexity-informed” approach to policy that encompasses adaptive and collaborative approaches and responds to the needs and dynamics of different communities.*

Over two days attendees worked together to unpack and develop a response to this proposition.  Activities  included expert presentations, ‘surgeries’ on key issues, unpacking case study examples, small group workshops, mapping key change practices, and hands-on exploration of established and emerging design tools. A range of outputs from the two days are available to download on the right of this page.

To view a more detailed version of the programme click here

* From Complexity to Collaboration: Creating the New Zealand we want for ourselves, and enabling future generations to do the same for themselves - A provocation for change by Elizabeth Eppel, Girol Karacaoglu and Donna Provoost



Click here for access to the slides, resources, and materials from the symposium.

Click here for a blog about the symposium

Sponsors and partners

Developed and co-hosted by Auckland Co-design Lab, The Southern Initiative and Community Social Policy (Auckland Council)

Sponsored by: Auckland Co-design Lab, Auckland Council’s Quality Advice Programme and GridAKL.