Policy & Service Design for the Public Sector – Dr Anna Whicher


Friday 11 October
16:00 - 17:15

Public engagement can be so much more than a tick-box exercise.

Traditional policy development often fails to engage people in a meaningful way. Design is an approach that helps us tackle challenges together. With a growing community of practitioners using design in government globally, this is aimed at policy makers, government, public sector, service providers etc to show how policy and service are connected – with clients who have adopted a design approach.

Hosted by Dr Anna Whicher – Head of Design Policy at PDR

PDR workshop at The Old Library, Cardiff – 22nd May 2019
Photo by Polly Thomas
Design Action Plan at Cardiff Old Library
Photo © Polly Thomas

I’ve loved all things French ever since an exchange trip when I was in school. This early experience inspired me to study French and European political history and eventually EU public policy. I spent a year working and studying in Paris and loved exploring the city and soaking in the culture. I wanted to continue to work across different cultures and use my language skills when I left University and the opportunity to manage a European design project at PDR seemed like the perfect opportunity. As someone without formal design training I find the hands on methods that designers use are excellent for engaging and enthusing project participants. Using visual design tools transcends linguistic barriers making interactions more productive by allowing everyone to participate. Collaborating with designers has been a fantastic opportunity for me to develop these skills and use them to make a real difference in the political and policy areas that interest me. Working in PDR has allowed me the freedom to work on projects and travel in a way that I don’t think I would have been able to anywhere else. As well as publicly funded projects I’ve developed my own commercial niche and am regularly invited to evaluate innovation projects and policies as well as run workshops and speak at conferences. The variety of work means that I never have time to get bored and am always learning.