Designing and Selling Policies, Part 1

Activists sometimes want new policies enacted. Sometimes they create a new policy idea and try to sell

the idea to lawmakers or voters. The creation and selling of new policies are two undertakings that call for systematic problem solving by activist groups. 

Policy ideas are usually meant to solve a social or environmental problem. A little problem analysis can seperate symptoms from problems. Good problem analysis starts with good questions. Michael

Michalko’s brainstorming book Thinkertoys offers questions for studying your problem. Buy a copy and check out the section on Phoenix Questions and the chapter on exploring a challenge.

(WARNING: Sometimes the “real” problem can’t be addressed by ANY policy. Human nature is one example of such a problem. The complexity of many organizations is another example. Other “problems” are invented by a political ideology: “Capitalism is the problem!”  Some problems can’t be addressed because nobody knowss how to solve them. Drug addiction seems to fit into this category.)

Getting an idea of what problem to address with your policy is only one step in the process. You might have an idea about the policy that’s needed. It may also be true that you don’t really have an idea to present and need to do some brainstorming. 

Once you’ve come up with a policy idea, whether by borrowing or brainstorming, you’ll need to convince people that the policy needs to be adopted. The selling of your idea to politicans or voters is

another opportunity for creativity. Resource shortages may force you to get creative about the advertising medium, the message itself, event he audience to target with your message.


~ by chetdavis on December 8, 2007.

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