Six Degrees of Seperation: Using network theory to influence decision-making

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Overview of presentation on policy communication and how policy processes are not linear but rather iterative.

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  • Does anyone NOT buckle up when they drive? Probably not. We all know that it’s the right thing, the sensible thing to do. Right.
  • When we communicate effectively need to know what we mean by use.
  • Have a number of books and examples I can provide to people later on in network analysis
  • Farmers receive information from multiple sources. Their use of information and decisions are often based on who they trust the most in the village. In this social network analysis you can see the Village headman who is the main trusted source of information, but there are also others there is a successful farmer Communication is not linearCommunication is both a process and product. Communication when used in a systematic and strategic manner can enhance and support change processes
  • Six Degrees of Seperation: Using network theory to influence decision-making

    1. 1. Six Degrees of Separation: Using network thinking to influence decision-making Presentation forPolicy-Communication Nexus training
    2. 2. Presentation/Session Overview The purpose of this session is to get us to step outside our normative and rational thinking to look at how we can spread our ideas to influence people and processes. Contents  Quick Game  How do we influence decisions  Examples of how to influence and use networks  Questions and discussion
    3. 3. My Experience Work in Laos and Asia region on policy advocacy, development and communication  Development: Cambodia CF Sub- decree. designed policy program on upland development, policy platforms on Land issues  Research Communication: use of video/Media , workshops, policy briefs, study tours to influence policy development  Play a lot of golf! Small countries where trust and knowing who knows who is important
    4. 4. The rational/linear Model of policydevelopment
    5. 5. Interesting conclusions from a policycommunication in Health Survey Evidence plays a relatively modest role in policy making, which is dominated by political expediency. Policy makers tend to use stories rather than ‘hard’ evidence as they are easy to understand and effective. Decision makers tend to focus on communication as a way of getting a message across rather than as a participatory development process. Personal interaction remains the most effective means of communicating with policy makers. Communication strategies should build on existing networks and communities of interest.http://www.healthlink.org.uk/we-do/comms_icd.html
    6. 6. 1885 Edward J. Claghorn ofNew York, New York grantedU.S. Patent 312,085, for anautomobile safety belt.1959 US Congress passeslegislation requiring allautomobiles to comply withsafety standards includingseat belts.1970 State of Victoria,Australia, passes first lawworldwide making seat beltwearing compulsory fordrivers and front-seatpassengers.
    7. 7. Evidence based policies!
    8. 8. How do we influence decisions? How do we get ideas to go viral?epidemiologyWhen Rthe infection will die out in the long run (provided infection rates are constant).But if Rthe infection will be able to spread in a population.
    9. 9. If policy is not rational then how is itdeveloped? Different ways of looking at policy change including:  interactions between different groups with differing political interests  Actor-oriented approaches: such as, policy communities and networks, interfaces, actor-network, epistemic communities, entrepreneurs/saboteurs  Discourse, which is an ensemble of ideas communicated through practices via coalitions, narratives, or rhetoric  External drivers: economics, investment, climate variability
    10. 10. Seven Meanings of ‘Use’1. Knowledge-driven: application of basic research; provides an opportunity for policy-relevant research which can then be applied;2. Problem-solving: communication of research on an agreed upon problem to the policy maker; this model implies that there is consensus between the researchers and the policy makers on the solution or endstate;3. Enlightenment: education of the policy maker; that with time the accumulation of research will influence policy by educating the policy maker;4. Political: rationalization for previously arrived at decision; used by policy makers to bolster support or provide ammunition for opposition;5. Tactical: requesting additional information to delay action; often used by government agencies or other organizations/institutions as a response to a problem or issue;6. Interactive: competing information sources; this implies that policy makers are actively searching for policy-relevant information that is not based on social science research;7. Intellectual enterprise: policy research is just one type of many intellectual pursuits. From Weiss, 1977
    11. 11. Social Network Analysis Social Network Analysis (SNA) is a diagnostic method for collecting and analyzing data about the patterns of relationships among people in groups. It helps to:  Understand the flow of knowledge, information and Innovation  Understand where there are potential nodes of influence and dissemination area  Target opportunities where increased knowledge flow will have the most impact Helps us find ways to get our ideas accepted or used by influence makers
    12. 12. Communication is not linear Successful farmer is in an important position between the two clans, and a Strategy of linking in to reasonably important source of problem the central nodes of both solving. subgroups, thereby enhancing access to problem solving resources. Accessing external resources
    13. 13. The tipping point for creating a revolution is 10%!
    14. 14. Examples of non-conventional waysto influence/reach decision makers
    15. 15. Use of intermediaries• Engage with secretaries, staff of policy-makers, those who write speeches• Not just your facts and figures, not just your story but who communicates it: Look for influential people to communicate your findings• Develop and sustain networks - don’t rely on one person
    16. 16. Use of media Media can grab attention of Politicians – concerned about reputation Legitimizes research Can act as a reference and provide balance information Relations with media need to be carefully managed and developed – building trust
    17. 17. Using your own network influence We all have our own networks:  Friends who work for government  Wives, family member of those you are trying to influence are good ways to spread ideas
    18. 18. Build networks & get involved Build social capital, trust and respect.  Develop networks with key actors who have similar interests  Get involved in policy commissions, networks which are working on policy or working on policy advocacy  Involve policy makers in policy experiments.  Ensure research is building upon policy interests and needs of policymakers – solving their problems and issues
    19. 19. Communicating effectively Surveys on policy makers have found that the form (how presented) is just as important as message and results  Anecdotes and stories are powerful way to transform data  Look for the right people to get your message or story across  Seeing is believing- study tours are important
    20. 20. Discussion What are some ways for influencing or reaching decision makers in African Context? What drives decision making processes in Africa?  Outside influences  Internal politics  Self interest/clan/ethnic interests  Civil society  Research

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