Thierry Mandon has already had several lives. He was a business leader, mayor of Ris-Orangis, Essonne, france) member of parliament, minister, director of the publication of Ebdo, and now the director of the Cité du design of Saint-Étienne. Jump from one discipline to another, mix them, watch them in a new light, all of this pleases him, obviously. At age 62, the ex-secretary of State for State Reform and Simplification of Manuel Valls is now trying to marry design and policy. His objective, which he pursued for several years (in 2014, it coprésida with Guillaume Poitrinal, the Council of simplification for companies) : using the techniques of design, it wants to make public policy, and the policy itself, more humble, more efficient. Hard fight...
The Point : That is what the design was doing in the policy ?
Thierry Mandon : one of the three missions of the Cité du design of Saint-Étienne, in addition to the education and the organisation of a biennial is to help public and private actors to innovate with the design. If the application of the methods of design to businesses has proven successful, the design applied to public action is more recent. The principle is to reverse the manufactures of organizations or policy-based, not management requirements, but the use and users. I take an example : how to host a population in the social services ? It is therefore installed three days in a city hall and we observed how people arrive, how they inform, are moving, what they ask for, etc, Then, it collects ideas, and with them, and then we test how the decision may change in the future. It is prescribed then solutions. The design of public policies was implemented in Denmark in the years 2000 with the MindLab, a laboratory created by the then government. Since, these practices have been mainly applied in the anglo-saxon countries. The Los Angeles police department has been reorganized from these precepts. They have been introduced in France within the State by Etalab.
what is new compared to usual practice ?
This is a breakdown of culture with the way of constructing public policies. In our country, the decision makers, whether they are senior officials or political, are brilliant people, sachants, omniscient... They decide, and it is necessarily perfect, because they are the ones who have decided. The system is in question : at the ENA, it welcomes you by telling you that you are the brightest and the bearers of the future of the country. In essence, you are blameless, and therefore not inclined to question, to humility and listening, virtues essential to the practices of design.
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The problem, arguably, is that this questioning must be decided by those who don't have much interest in changing habits...
Culturally, in France, there is of course blockages to be overcome. Decision-makers must listen to before you decide. They must also understand that what they are deciding is not necessarily a good or perfect the first time. They must recognize the right to error, but this is difficult. This is the whole ethos of the making of public policy should evolve. It is to enrich public decision-making from the contribution of experts and expertise to use. Also there is in France a rhythm problem, in particular in Parliament. For each problem, decide on a law. All the preparatory part, however essential, is sold out. The hustle standard-setting is a symptom of a submission policy and institutional dizziness and emergency.
All policies are with the same sickness ?
And national elected officials ?
On the national level, on the other hand, the atrophy of the role of the Parliament increases the effects of acceleration. It should be the place of the preparation of laws, but the mode of functioning of the Fifth Republic sweeps this utility. The president of the Republic and the government who decide, who make the laws, without any impact study, or a wave of botched job the night into twenty-four hours in Bercy. I have observed this default factory when I was in government. And, once the law passed, to the extent that it is applicable, one hangs on, even if it does not work.
How what you call the "manufacturing defect" of the law manifests itself in it ?
We had an example of the absurdity of the decision-making process at the end of the month of October, in the Senate. In the middle of the night, through an amendment, a senator, with the support of the government, abolished the accreditation process of the university professors and lecturers. This mechanism, entrusted to the national Council of universities, has existed since 1870 ! There has of course been no impact study prior. This example is the epitome of the lack of consultation and is otherwise unconstitutional.
article 24 of the law on the overall security (which punishes the dissemination "malicious" of the image of the police, editor's NOTE) is indicative of the same unpreparedness. The government is drafting a quick article, and then moves back in front of the general protest. It would have been enough of a little bit of consultation in order to avoid this kerfuffle.
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In addition to the principles of the design, assessing the problems and provide solutions, what can be the remedies ?
The haste and arrogance are a couple infernal. It explains a good share of dysfunctional public policies. It is absolutely necessary to invent a manufactures different laws. We could also implement a balance sheet of a text : at the end of two years, for example, examines the way in which it is applied, what are its results, and corrects if necessary. One could also introduce a discussion of legislative direction, a few months prior to the filing of the act, during which the government would present and discuss its legislative intentions. It would reform, and, simply, the institutional mechanics. The new the planning commission should seize this topic, think about how to rebuild the power of the public and to the manner of manufacture of the policies that combine, therefore, more efficient, and to rebuild a base of trust in the public decision-making.
This is a failure that you have assumed, since you have been secretary of State for State Reform and Simplification ?
first, I applied these methods and I began a simplification in investigating some of the policies for reform. The social statements of the companies, for example, have been simplified, which has earned billions of euros to the French economy. I've also tried to reform the practices of the State, but it is necessary to be aware of the blockages and the need to secure the sustainability of these transformations. Marc Guillaume, secretary general of the government at the time, said to me one day : "It is very good, the simplification of the State, but it disturbs too much the functioning of the services. "