Design as a phronetic approach to policy making

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This position paper is an expansion on a talk given at the Faultlines Design Research Conference in June 2015. Dr. Simon O’Rafferty Taking as a starting point the contention by Smith and Otto (2014) that design anthropology offers a “distinct way of knowing that incorporates both analysing and doing in the process of constructing knowledge” this position paper explores what … Read More

Exploring Ireland’s Local Agenda 21 Fund

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“The Local Agenda 21 Environmental Partnership Fund, which has operated since 1997, promotes sustainable development by assisting small-scale environmental projects at local level. These projects involve partnership arrangements between local authorities and various local groups including community groups, schools and environmental NGOs. The Fund encourages involvement of local communities in local action and decision-making and assists them in working towards … Read More

Sustainable Community Survey Highlights

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A survey has been sent out to 100 community organisations and NGOs in Ireland e.g. membership organisations, online platforms, political groups, umbrella bodies or networks that support and interact with community level projects. Below is a summary of responses to some of the questions. The survey can be viewed here. Sustainable Community Highlights

Irish General Election manifestos


These charts show the frequency of particular issues or topics as they are mentioned in the electoral manifestos of Irish political parties. It is a very basic and crude analysis of these documents and is not intended to accurately reflect policy or party positions. As an initial analysis it can give an insight into the tone and weighting given to … Read More

Sustainable Communities

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I have been very slow at writing blogs over the last few months. I have a number of posts in draft, mainly about the business behaviour change and service design prototypes, and I will make sure to publish these in the coming weeks. I wanted to write a quick update because I am now starting to look into the relationship between sustainable communities, … Read More

Sustainable Behaviour Change Seminar

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The Centre for the Study of Behaviour Change and Influence held a seminar on sustainable behaviour change in Bristol this week. The seminar was sponsored by the UK Economic and Social Research Council and involved a series of presentations from academics, policy makers and practitioners working on sustainable behaviour change. These are some of the overarching themes and reflections from the … Read More

Interpretive Policy Analysis Conference

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I attended the 10th International Conference on Interpretive Policy Analysis in Lille. What initially attracted me to this conference was that it was examining the practices of policy making from various sociological perspectives such as discourse analysis, ethnographic methods and action research. Some of the early keynote presentations set the tone of the later discussions by framing policy practices through a Bourdieuian … Read More

Prototyping a tool for co-designing policy interventions

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One of the aims of Open Practices is to apply design research methods in a policy context, specifically the design of policy interventions that enable sustainable behaviour change. The methods I am using are typical design tools such as user journey mapping and service blueprinting, design ethnography, contextual interviews, prototyping, personas, cultural probes. There are various “frameworks” that allow us … Read More

Service Design in Public Sector

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Yesterday I visited Cardiff to attend the Service Design for Public Service conference that was run by PDR (where I did my PhD) as part of the SPIDER project. This conference follows a growing number of events over the last few years that explore the intersections between public services, policy, design and innovation. It was a short one-day event but it was … Read More