Our Vision

Policy Design

The Center for Policy Design (CPD) is a Minnesota based non-profit, non-partisan policy design organization that focuses on redesigning important large systems to achieve the goals society has set for them. It does so by focusing leadership on five components necessary for the change of large systems: analysis, research, design, implementation, and evaluation.

The Center develops state and federal policy recommendations, including enabling legislation. It also actively assists those who decide to advance the Center’s policy recommendations.

The usual policy approach blames system performance on the failings of the people and organizations comprising the system, and then attempts to directly assist or coerce them into improved performance. Such strategies often prove ineffective; they fail to recognize that organizations must perform as dictated by the incentives that the larger system places on them. Too often the cause of chronic poor performance is that these incentives reward the undesired performance and punish the desired performance.

The Center’s policy recommendations therefore do not aim at changing an organization’s performance directly but rather seek to alter the structure of the larger system itself to replace incentives rewarding poor performance with strong incentives rewarding desired performance. This type of system redesign should lead organizations and people in the system to improve their performance in their own interest far better than any direct policy approach could encourage or coerce.

The Center’s ideas are more fully explained in its paper Architecting Large Social Systems.



Engagement Drives Achievement (Kostouros, 2018)

Students won’t learn if they are not engaged in their education. Teachers know it. A 2013 study found that 69 percent of teachers consider low student motivation to be a big problem in their classroom. Even though engagement is important for learning, several national polls indicate that many students are disengaged from school and the problem worsens as they get older. . .

Large System Architecture: Toward a more systematic discipline for policy design and analysis of large social systems (McClure, 2017)

Dr. McClure will outline a general theory and systematic methodology, Large System Architecture (LSA), for analyzing, designing and politically implementing policy to improve the performance of large social systems such as e.g. education, health care, the economy, etc.

Does The American Economic System Need Redesign? (McClure, 2017)

Dr. McClure will present an analysis of the economy using standard Large System Architecture theory and methods.

John Kostouros

A Guide to the Charter Sector of Minnesota Public Education (John Kostouros, 2017)

This report from The Center for Policy Design looks at the chartering landscape in Minnesota, and specifically at innovations — in governance, schooling models and instruction, school evaluation and accountability, management, operations, and authorizing — across the charter sector.

Ted Kolderie

Thinking Out The How
(Ted Kolderie, 2018)

By itself neither deploring the problem nor reaffirming the goal makes anything happen. To solve a problem and to reach a goal, to get a system restructured or a new idea passed into law, there has to be a How.

This book is about how one American state successfully reinvented its regional governance . . . revised its public finance . . . reorganized its hospital system . . . is re-forming its public education and reconceiving its system of urban transportation.
Copies of the softcover revised 2018 edition are available on Amazon


About System Redesign

The mission of the Center is improving the performance of large systems such as healthcare and education. We employ a particular approach in this work using a number of concepts, which for brevity and precision we label with artificial technical terms. Such labels mean here only what we define them to mean; they have no further intuitive or connotative meanings. We lay out some of these concepts, terms and definitions here.


Education Policy Fellowship Program

Minnesota's Education Policy Fellowship Program (EPFP) is a partnership of the Washington D.C. based Institute for Educational Leadership (IEL), the Minnesota based Center for Policy Design (CPD) and the Minnesota based Educational Evolving (EE). All three organizations are non-partisan, non-profit, 501(c)(3) organizations. This year (2017/18) is the 42nd year of the Fellowship program in Minnesota.