Federico Vaz Canosa

A Comparative Analysis of Design Approaches for Policy Innovation in European Policy Labs

Federico Vaz Canosa

Federico's research interest is in the use of design in the public sector, more precisely on the use and role of design for public policy innovation.

After studying Computer Engineering for two years, Federico switched career paths to become an Industrial Designer. Later, he completed a postgraduate diploma in Technology Management followed by an MSc programme in Design Innovation Management. He has also lectured for the Design School at the University of the Republic in Montevideo, Uruguay.

PhD research description

Federico's line of research is focused on the study of the development of innovative policies and its delivery through relevant and coherent services. Specifically, the study 'Design for Policy Innovation' consists of a comparative analysis of the use of design and its different approaches for innovating the policymaking process in Europe, through the so-called Policy Labs.
During the last 10 years, exploration of design approaches within the public domain has firstly arisen in the Anglo-Saxon and Nordic countries (Bason, 2014). Today, central governments and local authorities across Europe are increasingly working with design managers and incorporating multidisciplinary innovation units using design in their organisational structures (Whicher, 2015). The rationale behind this is that these partnerships will advance public and social innovation and achieve creative solutions beyond the reach of conventional structures and methods (Mulgan, 2014).
Several countries are gradually incorporating a design approach to develop public policies and services, thus recognising the value of implementers and users’ insights in the process (Bason, 2014). Moreover, it is argued that policy-making is indeed a design activity, and that policy implementation is subject to the design of services and products (Junginger, 2013). Albeit being different in form, structure, scope and origin, these organisations are often labelled as ‘policy labs’. Although currently some of the organisations incorporating this approach have reached supra-national levels, a comparative analysis of the ways in which design is applied within the European context has not been achieved.

PhD supervisors

Awards, grants or scholarships received

In 2014, Federico received a scholarship to study a Postgraduate Diploma from the University of the Republic in Uruguay. A year later, he was awarded a Chevening Scholarship from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, to complete a master's programme with us at Loughborough University London. Federico is now conducting his PhD using funding from the Institute for Design Innovation.

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Interests and activities

Federico's interests range from design and innovation to management and entrepreneurship. Science and technology are also fields in which he is interested. Federico also enjoys reading books on science fiction, history and philosophy.

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