The Institute for Design and Public Policy
The IDPP is a "5 day intensive workshop, focusing on the nexus of inclusive design and public policy to identify and develop collaborative solutions to pressing problems" and is hosted by the RISD Executive Education Department (EE). RISD EE offers workshops and trainings for professionals and businesses in any field to learn how to apply design-thinking to their practices: "Fueled by the expertise and experience of renowned faculty, creative practitioners, disruptive entrepreneurs, and organizational leaders, RISD EE focuses on accelerating the limitless values of developing critical thinkers, confident makers, collaborative teams and innovative organizations".
I had the wonderful opportunity to attend the IDPP during the summer of 2016. The focus of the workshop was to reimagine civics in the 21st century in Rhode Island specifically. As the youngest participant, I was working side-by-side with Rhode Islander’s hailing from places that ranged from the RI Department of Health to the Center for Women and Enterprise. We were all learning about the process of design-thinking and how to apply it to better a community — in this case, it was about how to motivate RI citizens to come together for the greater good. How can we repair the relationship between the people and the government, especially in today's politically volatile society? We listened to experts from a wide range of sectors, practiced design challenges, and then set about defining our clear vision and principles for a more civic society. My team's solution, branded as "Rhode Island: Growing Smaller", culminated with us presenting to the guest critics our grand vision for the future of Rhode Island via choreography, role-playing, and persuasive speeches.
Not only was it fascinating to work with so many people older than me and in wildly different fields, but it also reiterated the actual importance of design-thinking in public policy. Artists and designers are valuable for the way we approach problem-solving and our experimental process that values failure as a means of growth. I think that civics would look very different if there were more designers in policy-making.