Welcome to the Department

The Department of Bad Ideas is about public policy, but disconnected from reality. It’s a podcast and it’s a gameshow.

People working in public policy usually have to solve complex problems within ever-tighter constraints. This podcast is about exploring what happens when you take most of the constraints away and ask people — and specifically in this case, you! — to reach for the most outrageous ideas they can think of.

Each episode, is a test of your policy-making wits. Your task is to come up with the best-worst ideas possible. You’ll be asked to make them impractical, unpalatable or entirely nonsensical.

There are four rounds that listeners will hear in the podcast.

The Impossible Implementation Unit

In round 1, you have to pitch a solution to a problem you’re given ahead of time. The solution has to be impossible to implement but something people would definitely vote for.

The Unsaleable Policy Division

In round 2, the format is the same, but the rules are reversed. This time, you’ll have to come up with a solution that could actually work but electorally unattractive. It could be “controversial” as in “this would lose you some votes”; but it would be better if it were “courageous” as in “this would cost someone an election”.

The Big Idea

In the third round, you get to pick your own problem to solve and then pitch a solution to that problem that might actually work. It doesn’t matter how ridiculous the problem you choose is; you just have to pitch the biggest, boldest, best solution you can think of to fix it.

In the Thick of It

The final round is different. Instead of problems you know about in advance, you’ll take part in an quick fire round. You’ll be given a series of policy problems, and then you’ll have to describe a solution to it on the fly for a minute, without repetition or hesitation.

Fire up your typewriters

Each episode will last around 30 to 45 minutes in ‘real time’ but the recording will likely take longer than that. We should be done within an hour and a half at most.

These webpages are here to help you understand your role, and what you’ll need to do. If you have any questions, get in touch.