Delivering Better Outcomes through User-Centered Policy Making

The civic tech, gov tech, and public interest tech ecosystem has long been united by a common goal of delivering better outcomes for communities and the people we serve. In nearly a decade of doing this work, we’ve learned that improving services requires a broader focus.

Often, at the root of the problem are policies that are outdated, poorly designed, or fail to take into account what communities truly need. And when a team successfully uses service design to implement a poorly-designed policy, they’re not solving the problem, they’re applying a band-aid. In order to truly improve how government delivers services and serves stakeholders, we must also redesign the way that policy is made. The future of government depends on it.

We believe that the future of improved service delivery requires a strategy that includes user-centered policy making and creates space for experimentation and piloting. Teams around the world are focusing on techniques to do so. One thing these teams have in common is that they start small, experiment, and pilot different policy solutions. The iterative development, piloting mindset is typically associated with the tech industry and seen as the work of entrepreneurs. It is critical that in today’s world, elected officials, public servants, and those responsible for designing and implementing public programs see themselves as policy entrepreneurs. Ultimately, if we want to deliver better outcomes, we need to bridge the worlds of policy making and technical as well as non-technical policy implementation.

Related Reports

User-Centered Policy: Organization Assessment

This assessment document helps government organizations begin to take a user-centered approach to their policy making process and is a useful tool as any team plans to launch a new policy effort.

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Cori Zarek

Executive Director
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