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People-Centred Policy Design

Learn how to implement innovative methods that put diverse people and their lived experience at the heart of public policy.

886 enrolled on this course

Businessman and woman using graphs on screen in meeting

People-Centred Policy Design

886 enrolled on this course

  • 5 weeks

  • 2 hours per week

  • Digital certificate when eligible

  • Open level

Find out more about how to join this course

Discover policymaking techniques to bring user voices to policies

To help better understand your users and design policies that deliver greater value, it is essential you are able to listen to and apply user voices to your work.

On this five-week course, developed by the UK Civil Service Policy Profession and Policy Lab, you’ll learn how to use innovative techniques to ensure users are at the centre of your new policies. With this knowledge, you can maximise the impact of your work.

Each method is laid out alongside real-life case studies to help you gain practical skills to apply to your context. By the end, you’ll know how to design policies from the viewpoints of those affected by them.

Gain an understanding of ethnography

An ethnographic film, similar to a documentary, aims to highlight people’s lived experience in their own environment.

On this course, you’ll explore the importance of film ethnography in telling the stories of diverse people and how you can use it to improve your work.

Next, you’ll unpack co-design to ensure your policies follow a collaborative approach. With this knowledge, you’ll be able to minimise risks during policy implementation, develop trust, and build community engagement.

Unpack speculative design and serious games

Speculative design allows you to take into account new perspectives. On the course, you’ll learn how to use speculative design to help better understand your users.

You’ll also discover how game elements can be combined with learning strategies to teach skills and attitudes. This understanding will help you use serious games to improve your policymaking.

Take your next steps in people-centred public policy

With guidance and support from policymakers, you’ll finish the course with the knowledge to help you understand people better, design policies creatively, and deliver greater public value.


  • Week 1


    • Course Introduction and Context

      In the first week, we will introduce ourselves and provide you with some context about the course.

  • Week 2

    Film ethnography

    • What is film ethnography?

      This first section of the course will introduce you to ethnography as an innovative new method for policymaking, allowing you to add new depth and integrity to your evidence base and minimising your own biases.

    • Why film ethnography?

      In this section you will learn more about the theory of ethnography and its value for policy making.

    • Getting started with ethnography

      We will explore in this section how to get started with Ethnography.

    • Summary and next steps

      Here we have touched upon the basics, but there is fantastic material out there to get involved in Ethnography beyond this course.

  • Week 3


    • What is co-design

      This section is about the co-design methodology.

    • Why Co-design?

      Here we will discuss, why you would choose to work with co-design.

    • Getting started with co-design

      In this section we will explain how you can work with co-design in your own work.

    • Summary and next steps

      Reflecting on how you can take a co-design approach in your own work

  • Week 4

    Speculative design and serious games

    • What are speculative design and serious games?

      In this section you will learn how speculative design and serious games work together through the story of a project about the future of the maritime sector and the advent of autonomous shipping.

    • Why use speculative design and serious games?

      Now that you have an understanding of speculative design and serious games, next we’ll look at ways that adopting these methods in your work can lead to more resilient policy making.

    • Getting started with Speculative design and serious games

      In this section we cover how you can get started with Futures Thinking in your own work.

    • Summary and next steps

      A look back at what you have learnt in Week 4, and a look forward to how you can implement speculative design and serious games in your work.

  • Week 5

    What next?

    • Reflections on people-centred policy innovation

      In this final week you will reflect on what you have learnt, and how how can start to implement the featured methods in your work as a policy maker

When would you like to start?

Start straight away and join a global classroom of learners. If the course hasn’t started yet you’ll see the future date listed below.

  • Available now

Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Explore more about innovative methods that help you understand people better, design policies creatively and deliver greater public value. We describe three such methods in detail and highlight others like them
  • Explore what it feels like to try out these methods. You’ll hear from policy makers and members of the public who participated in the actual examples
  • Investigate how you could implement these innovative people-centred methods in your role as a policy maker. You should get a sense of the tools, skills and other requirements for incorporating such methods in your work, as well as the benefits in trying t

Who is the course for?

This course is designed for policy professionals who are concerned with the design, delivery, and evaluation of policy.

Who developed the course?

Government Campus

Government Campus is dedicated to building the knowledge, skills and networks of civil servants across the UK.

Policy Profession

The Policy Profession designs, develops and proposes appropriate courses of action to help meet key government priorities and ministerial objectives.

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Ways to learn

Choose the best way to learn for you!

Subscribe & save

$349.99 for one year

Automatically renews

Develop skills to further your career

  • Access to this course
  • Access to 1,000+ courses
  • Learn at your own pace
  • Discuss your learning in comments
  • Digital certificate when you're eligible

Cancel for free anytime

Buy this course

$134/one-off payment

Fulfill your current learning need

  • Access to this course
  • Learn at your own pace
  • Discuss your learning in comments
  • Printed and digital certificate when you’re eligible

Limited access


Sample the course materials

  • Access expires 25 Jul 2024

Find out more about certificates, Unlimited or buying a course (Upgrades)

Learning on FutureLearn

Your learning, your rules

  • Courses are split into weeks, activities, and steps to help you keep track of your learning
  • Learn through a mix of bite-sized videos, long- and short-form articles, audio, and practical activities
  • Stay motivated by using the Progress page to keep track of your step completion and assessment scores

Join a global classroom

  • Experience the power of social learning, and get inspired by an international network of learners
  • Share ideas with your peers and course educators on every step of the course
  • Join the conversation by reading, @ing, liking, bookmarking, and replying to comments from others

Map your progress

  • As you work through the course, use notifications and the Progress page to guide your learning
  • Whenever you’re ready, mark each step as complete, you’re in control
  • Complete 90% of course steps and all of the assessments to earn your certificate

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