Home>Design to rethink public action: discover the projects of the Public Policy Incubator


Design to rethink public action: discover the projects of the Public Policy Incubator

The fifth edition of the Public Policy Incubator ended on 16 May with the presentation of 23 projects conceived by some 115 first-year Masters students at the School of Public Affairs. Here we take a look back at what students learned from this original experience as part of their studies at Sciences Po. 

"I think that to build effective public policies, you always have to start from the field. It's on the basis of extremely concrete observations that we can move things forward for the public good and really improve the lives of our fellow citizens." This is how Philippe Martin, Dean of the School of Public Affairs, summed up the spirit of the Public Policy Incubator during the event. 

Immersion in the field is indeed one of the fundamental learning points of this academic programme. This year, for instance, groups visited the police station in the 13th arrondissement of Paris, the administrative court of Lille, food warehouses run by the Restos du Cœur charity and the control and order centre of Eau de Paris as all those locations/place are ideal contexts for observing and talking to the different publics and stakeholders in an attempt to grasp the issues at stake, beyond the theoretical framework.

"Building projects on the basis of observations in the field also means making them more relevant to the day-to-day lives and practices of public agents, and showing that we are there to provide them with a service and not to impose a solution on them", says Anceline Brioudes, who visited the Givors Hospital on several occasions with her group during the semester in order to co-construct their solution directly with the hospital's staff along the way.

Another important learning point for the students is iteration, in other words the fact of experimenting, sometimes making mistakes and coming up with new ideas, in order to design public policies that are not off the beaten track but genuinely adapted to the real needs of users. 

Thibault Monarque, for example, had the opportunity to return to the field several times to test the "JE TUTELLE", a solution developed with his group, in partnership with the Directorate General for Social Cohesion (DGCS): "During the programme, we often have the opportunity to be challenged on our ideas, our preconceptions and the clichés we may have. It's already a very good thing for us to learn to question ourselves, but above all it helps us to move towards the best possible solution."


Understanding our times today means being able to question the complexity of the social, economic and democratic changes brought about by ecological and digital transitions. This year, 10 challenges tackled these issues from very different angles. The students showed a great deal of creativity in coming up with solutions, and here are just a few examples:

À L'ÉCOUTE - Challenge proposed by the CNIL: "How can we guarantee the right to multiple identities online?"

"À l'Écoute" is a solution that addresses situations in which, out of fear of revealing their real identity, individuals may be discouraged from reporting abusive behaviour in the workplace (harassment, discrimination, Gender-based and sexual violence...). This platform offers a direct communication channel enabling victims to be accompanied by human resources representatives, trade unions and associations, under pseudonymous status. The aim is to give the opportunity to people to speak out, give users control over what happens next and, if necessary, direct them towards an official report. 

Watch the video presenting the project

À l'écoute : a device designed and tested with potential users © Group 7 Ipp 23

"MON PORTE-VOIX" - Challenge proposed by the Digital Department of the Ministry of the Interior: "How can we strengthen trust in institutions by devising an effective and secure decentralised digital environment?" 

"Mon porte-voix" is a digital service aimed at simplifying the electoral proxy procedure in order to encourage democratic expression, which is currently in sharp decline and one of the elements revealing growing distrust in our institutions. The digital part of the solution is based on a blockchain and enables voters to give their proxy in just a few clicks, without having to go anywhere. The solution is accompanied by a letter distributed at the same time as the electoral card, as well as a publicity campaign. 

Watch the video presenting the project 

"CINERGIE" - Challenge proposed by ADEME and the Coop des Milieux: "How can public action be coordinated across a region to monitor, manage and accelerate the deployment of the ecological transition?"

The student group focused on the case of citizen energy transition projects (e.g. installation of photovoltaic panels that will be used at local level) and in particular on their contractualisation phase. These projects are difficult and time-consuming to implement because of the differences in understanding, vision and methodology that exist between citizens and institutional players. The students therefore came up with CINERGIE, a mediation and a collective intelligence workshop that brings together all the players involved in the citizens' contracted project to discuss their vision of the project in terms of issues, objectives and methods, as well as to identify the sticking points that need to be resolved. The workshop culminates in the collaborative production of an action plan or action calendar and a reciprocity agreement.  

Discover the project presentation website 

"PLAN CHAMEAU" - Challenge proposed by the European Metropolis of Lille (MEL) & Fédération nationale des collectivités concédantes et régies (FNCCR): "How can we raise awareness among the various stakeholders in a given territory (industries and economic players, public administrations, citizens, other players) to change their practices to reduce drinking water use?" 

The aim of the Camel Plan is to make the problem of dwindling water resources visible, so that the public can grasp the urgency of the situation. It also gives them the means to take action, thanks to a multi-functional platform that acts as a link between municipal and individual action. It consists of three stages: signage in public spaces announcing the critical state of the resource, a website offering information and local initiatives on water, and the opportunity to order a free water-saving kit for sustainable action.  

Watch the video presenting the project 


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