Guest Post by: Jonathan Kates, Master of Public Policy Student
As a graduate student at UofT’s School of Public Policy & Governance and an executive member of the student-led Policy and Innovation Initiative, the Innovation Hub’s human-centered design focus overlaps with my own interest in innovative policy design. The way policy is designed at the federal, provincial and municipal levels of government offers opportunities for or constraints to innovation. This is largely due to the fact that unlike businesses in the private sector who dream up a brilliant new product, governments rarely enjoy a first-mover advantage. That is, one of the main ways of selling policies to the public is by talking about a successful application of this policy somewhere else. “It worked well in the U.K.!”; “If Montreal can do it, so can Toronto!” The thing about policy is that it can be context-specific, so sometimes what worked in the United Kingdom or Quebec may not be what’s right for Canada or Ontario. But does that mean we shouldn’t at least try and find out?