Joannah Luetjens

Utrecht University
Utrecht School of Governance

Bijlhouwerstraat 6
the Netherlands
3511 ZC

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Governments are continiously exhorted by observers, watchdogs and international agencies to 'reform' - open up their markets, break up public monopolies, modernise their administrative machineries, and democratise their decision-making. Getting path-breaking, non-incremental policy reforms across the political finish line is an often daunting task. Equally daunting is the challenge to get these reforms to deliver on their promises once they are implemented. Despite conventional wisdom and prevailing institutional, political and social barriers, major policy reforms can be passed and adopted. My research focuses on what happens next. By focusing on the latter stages of significant policy reform trajectories, I aim to explore how major policy reforms are successfully consolidated, and how they can continue to perform over time.

Mintrom, Michael, Chris Salisbury and Joannah Luetjens. 2014. "Policy Entrepreneurs and the Promotion of Australian State Knowledge Economies." Australian Journal of Political Science 49(3): 423-438.
Abstract: Policy entrepreneurs seek to shift the status quo in given areas of public policy. In doing so, they work closely with others, and their activities call for high levels of political skill. This article examines the actions of policy entrepreneurs who promoted the development of knowledge economies in two Australian states: Queensland and Victoria. During the past two decades, national and sub-national governments around the world have sought to nurture knowledge economies within their borders. Our analysis of knowledge economy advocacy improves understanding of how specific individuals – as strategic team builders – can promote major policy change. This focus on team work and coalition-building as central elements of the process of policy entrepreneurship offers a corrective to some earlier studies that inappropriately conferred lone hero status to policy entrepreneurs.
Mintrom, Michael and Joannah Luetjens. 2016. "Design Thinking in Policymaking Processes: Opportunities and Challenges." Australian Journal of Public Administration 75(3): 391-402.
Abstract: Design thinking has the potential to improve problem definition and mechanism design in policymaking processes. By promoting greater understanding of how citizens experience government services, design thinking can support public managers who desire to enhance public value. In Australia, as elsewhere, design thinking currently remains separated from mainstream policymaking efforts. This article clarifies the essence of design thinking and its applicability to policy development. Five design thinking strategies are discussed, all of which have lengthy histories as social science methodologies. They are (1) environmental scanning, (2) participant observation, (3) open-to-learning conversations, (4) mapping, and (5) sensemaking. Recent examples from Australia and New Zealand are used to illustrate how these strategies have been incorporated into policymaking efforts. The article concludes by considering how design thinking might be more broadly applied in policymaking, and the training and resourcing requirements that would entail.
Mintrom, Michael and Joannah Luetjens. 2017. "The Investment Approach to Public Service Provision." Australian Journal of Public Administration.
Abstract: The investment approach to public service provision is now receiving considerable attention worldwide. By promoting data-intensive assessments of baseline conditions and how government action can improve on them, the approach holds the potential to transform policy development, service implementation, and program evaluation. Recently, variations on the investment approach have been applied in Australia to explore the effectiveness of specific programs in employment training, criminal justice, and infrastructure development. This article reviews the investment approach, presents a Public Investment Checklist to guide such work, and discusses three examples. It concludes by considering the implications of investment thinking for the work of policy designers and public managers.
Mintrom, Michael and Joannah Luetjens. 2017. "Policy Entrepreneurs and Foreign Policy Decision Making." In Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Politics
Abstract: In recent years, significant effort has been applied to understanding and empirically testing the concept of policy entrepreneurship in a range of different settings. Despite these efforts, studies to date have tended to focus on policy entrepreneurs in domestic policy settings. Few have articulated the potential role that policy entrepreneurs play in understanding foreign policy decision-making. Coupled with theories and evidence from the field of foreign policy analysis, the concept of policy entrepreneurship lends itself to analyzing how actors in the foreign policy space draw attention to problems, advance workable proposals, and link outcomes to symbolic values. This article introduces and applies a framework for the analysis of policy entrepreneurs seeking to influence foreign policy decision-making. This framework is then used to underpin illustrative case studies of foreign policy entrepreneurs. The variety of recent scholarly contributions regarding policy entrepreneurs and foreign policy suggests that many more opportunities exist for such work to be conducted in the future. This is an exciting prospect. Valuable, generalizable insights are more likely to emerge from such a collective research enterprise if the various individual contributions are informed by greater conceptual coherence.
Mintrom, Michael and Joannah Luetjens. 2017. "Policy Entrepreneurs and Problem Framing: The Case of Climate Change." Environment and Planning C: Politics and Space.
Abstract: Policy entrepreneurs are energetic actors who work with others in and around policymaking venues to promote significant policy change. After several decades of study, we know a lot about what policy entrepreneurs do, and how to assess their effectiveness in given policymaking contexts. Here, we review common practices of policy entrepreneurs, emphasising their problem framing activities and their role in catalysing large-scale behavioural change related to climate change. We then review what policy entrepreneurs operating in various locations and at different levels of government have begun doing to tackle the climate change challenge. Like others, we contend that policy entrepreneurs will play a vital role in future efforts to address climate change. We conclude by discussing opportunities for new research on policy entrepreneurship, policymaking processes and the diffusion of policy innovations relating to climate change.
Mintrom, Michael and Joannah Luetjens. 2017. "Creating Public Value: Tightening Connections Between Policy Design and Public Management." Policy Studies Journal 45(1): 170-90.
Abstract: Policy design and public management should be tightly connected, so implemented public policies achieve intended outcomes. Yet policy designers often pursue their activities with limited awareness of how citizens and service managers experience current public programs. A focus on creating public value offers a way to tighten the connection between policy design and public management. Recent discussions of public value have emphasized three aspects of public management: delivering services, achieving social outcomes, and maintaining trust and legitimacy. Within those discussions, the efforts of policy designers have been underplayed. We explore the implications of the public value approach for policy design. Pursuit of public value calls for policy designers to listen closely to stakeholders, engage them in creative conversations, and draw on their situated expertise to guide policy development. We consider how explicit treatment of public value creation as a policy goal can improve the fit between original policy intentions and the delivery of public services. Our augmented model of public value creation offers both a new direction for empirical studies of the nexus between public policy and public management and a new perspective on what it means to be an effective policy designer.

Substantive Focus:
Governance SECONDARY
Comparative Public Policy PRIMARY

Theoretical Focus:
Policy Process Theory PRIMARY
Agenda-Setting, Adoption, and Implementation
Policy Analysis and Evaluation SECONDARY