'This is the future of how policy will be made'
They have come from all over the globe – some of the best and brightest students from the world’s premier research institutions.
And they have come with one purpose in mind: to learn about how policy is made, how it might be made better and how it will be made in the future they will help to create.
These students are part of the IARU summer program hosted by the Australian National University. The IARU is a network comprising 12 of the world’s greatest research universities. Among its members are Oxford and Cambridge Universities, as well as Yale, Berkeley and the Universities of Tokyo and Beijing.
Thirty students from these universities, spanning half a dozen different nations, have been in Canberra for the three-week program, themed around how policy, including foreign policy, is created in real-world situations.
That has involved immersive and intensive experiences across Canberra’s policy landscape. And ThinkPlace has played a significant role, running multiple sessions with the group and exposing these future leaders – who will likely one day create and implement important policy in their home nations – to principles of design thinking and human-centred design.
Ask course convenor Timothea Turnbull why she was so determined to expose the group to ThinkPlace’s studio, its designers and its methods and she is clear.
“This is the future of how policy will be made,” she says. “We are shaking things up for these students who have been mostly exposed to a lot of book learning.”
Inside one of ThinkPlace’s innovation spaces, where floor to ceiling whiteboards span the entire length of every wall, the students are running through a real-world problem based on previous work ThinkPlace has carried out: youth unemployment.
They discuss and respond to proviocations like:
What do jobseekers think?
What do young people really need?
What role does casualisation play?