We need to shift the focus of public policy education programs from training policy analysts to educating leaders who can accomplish things in the real world, argues Francis Fukuyama, senior fellow at Stanford University’s Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law(CDDRL).
To produce change-makers, policy analysis would be a small component embedded in a broader set of skills, he writes for The American Interest:
- The first set of skills would involve problem definition. A change-maker needs to query stakeholders about what they see as the policy problem, understand the local history, culture, and political system, and define a problem that is sufficiently narrow in scope that it can plausibly be solved…..
- The second set of skills concerns solutions development. This is where traditional policy analysis comes in: It is important to generate data, come up with a theory of change, and posit plausible options by which reformers can solve the problem they have set for themselves. This is where some ideas from product design, like rapid prototyping and testing, may be relevant.
- The third and perhaps most important set of skills has to do with implementation. This begins necessarily with stakeholder analysis: that is, mapping of actors who are concerned with the particular policy problem, either as supporters of a solution, or opponents who want to maintain the status quo.
Stakeholder analysis is something that every successful politician in the world has performed from the beginning of time, says Fukuyama, a board member of the National Endowment for Democracy, the Washington-based democracy assistance group. That is the essence of politics: generating sufficient power by gathering allies and undermining opponents. RTWT