Weeknotes Weeks 104-106

It feels a bit like an air traffic control tower in our corner of Sitra-house these days. Between various physical comings and goings, we've also been in the thick of routing projects to and fro.

A big item for us was getting the first 100% text draft of the HDL Studio publication out the door. It was a bit later than we had hoped, so it's nice to have relief from the pressure of being behind schedule. Now that we're receiving feedback from a couple people who have been enlisted to be critical readers it's starting to feel more real. Soon TwoPoints will be doing layouts and then it's truly off. Throttle up.

Marco has been spending his time between Low2No and exploratory meetings for a new (and yet to be named) project. Early feedback is positive but we're still awaiting clearance for take off.

Meanwhile we've been continuing our in-house collaborations as well. In the past month we have really begun to dig into what the Synergize Finland studios will look like. Stuff like securing the studio leads, nailing down key bits of the schedule, and also taking the time to revisit some of the core principles and renew our shared commitment to them. Boarding completed. Requesting clearance to push back from the gate.

Opening of the SEE conference. Photo by <a href="http://www.michaeldelausnay.be/">Michael De Lausnay</a>.
Opening of the SEE conference. Photo by Michael De Lausnay.

On Tuesday I was in Brussels to share Sitra's work with the guests of the SEE Project at their Policy, Innovation, and Design conference. I left the event feeling optimistic that the economic advantages of design+business, the so-called creative economy or ceative industries, is broadly appreciated. Design was also being used in multiple presentations as a way to bring the needs of users back into the center of decision making, particularly in the public sector.

It was nice to see the launch fo the Service Design Toolkit, for instance, because it gives tools to people who might already have the desire to work in a more empathetic way but are struggling to find a structured way to do so.

Outside the Flemish Parliament, venue of the SEE Project Final Conference: Policy, Innovation & Design
Outside the Flemish Parliament, venue of the SEE Project Final Conference: Policy, Innovation & Design

The mixed content of the event brought to the fore a point which seems unclear at times, particularly when "design" gets introduced to policy contexts. Does "design policy" focus on increasing the demand for design services in a "policy for (to support) design" sort of way? Or, on the other hand, does "design policy" refer to the use of design methods to deliver new or improved services, systems, or strategies?

The latter we think of as "policy by design" and that's squarely where we put our focus at Sitra through initiatives such as HDL. Both 'policy for design' and 'policy by design' have important roles to play, but being specific about which one is on the table at any given moment helps an audience to evaluate the value proposition of design. Thanks to Mark Vanderbeeken of Experientia for putting together a well-rounded lineup that succinctly crystalized these thoughts. Cleared for landing.