Government needs to get better at policy-making; more open and connected with people

This talk is part of the ‘Science and populism: from evidence to narrative’ series, co-hosted by the Oxford Martin School and the Oxford Institute of Population Ageing, to celebrate their 20th Anniversary.

In today’s fast changing, highly interconnected, culturally diverse world our approaches to policy need to become more responsive to change. Currently the dominant mode of policy making is still based on what we might term ‘intelligent choice’. This retains the premise that problems can be resolved through ‘best practice’ evidence-based approaches using empirical methods. We need to move however to ‘next practice’, a method which seeks to create entirely new propositions and then test them in context, so that we may learn, adapt and actively shape our understanding of problem solving.

Such new methods are at the heart of some of the Cabinet Office Policy Lab’s latest projects. These include, for example, a unique collaboration with the Government’s Office for Science, whereby we are jointly applying Speculative Design and advanced visualisation in the run up to the Industrial Strategy Ageing Grand Challenge.