In 1989 I talked my way into a job at the Policy Studies Institute. I had been running the library school in Birmingham Polytechnic and I was desperate to get out. I had just been commissioned by the Department of Health to carry out a project to look at the information that people needed when they were about to enter residential care. And I used this as a dowry. I also managed to persuade the British Library R&D Department to commission me to do a review of the increasingly topical subject of information policy. I worked at the Policy Studies Institute for nearly ten years, leading a team of researchers who explored the policy issues that arose from the emergence of information- and knowledge-based societies. Though we didn’t really know it at the time, the aim of our work was to produce research results that could be used to inform the policy process – we made the bullets but left others to fire them. There were three, overlapping, phases of work: Making sense of it all; Filling in the gaps, and the Critical analysis phase, when we were trying to monitor and evaluate what was going on.
What did we mean by information policy? Michael White Conceptual framework What was going on already? What policies existed and how did they fit together? In the UK Overseas Analytical framework Component parts Relationships Where are the gaps? Lack of policy Lack of institutions
Three broad areas of policy: Industrial policy Developing the information sector within the overall economy Organisational policy Using information as an organisational resource To improve productivity and effectiveness Social policy Information for citizenship Information for consumers Three cross-cutting themes: ICT & Networks The infrastructure through which information can flow Laws and regulations Intellectual property rights; data protection; freedom of information, etc Skills Levels of skill and competence How delivered and developed
Highlighting the gaps Filling in the cells in the matrix Seizing opportunities Limited opportunities to determine your own agenda The PICT Programme Identify what is needed and bid for the work Be aware of how your project fits into the big picture Information Market Observatory – Information sector Information strategies in large organisations – Information and organisations Information use by European SMEs – Information and organisations Information for users of social services – Social information Create opportunities Freedom of Information Seminars Build relationships Not my strong point
Evaluation Bid for projects that enable you to evaluate policy-relevant developments National Disability Information Project Information in rural areas Information needs of deaf people Look for specific and general lessons Monitoring and observation Information Market Observatory The British Council and East Asia Critical comment Never be afraid to voice your opinion One of the UK’s strengths You don’t need to do everything. Much can be learned from the work of others.
Interest and passion Essential if you are to keep going You have to be able to convince others Stay ahead of the curve What is going to be the next big issue? What small issues still haven’t been addressed? Part of a big organisation Contrast between being just one part of PSI and the major part of Acumen Policy-makers need the reassurance of implied authority The changing role of universities Build networks and relationships I was hopeless at it Far too arrogant “ Putting the I back into ICT” Retain your independence Perception is all Are you part of the industry, or organisational management or on the side of the consumer and citizen? Your work must be seen to be objective Luck Hazel – “Luck is the junction where opportunity and preparation meet” But I was lucky: To go to PSI when I did To win some useful contracts To be interested in an issue that became topical
Cover too much Spread yourself too thinly Focus and specialise Should have picked a cell in the matrix Or a column or a row Carry others with you I was far too arrogant and disinclined to network “ Putting the I back into ICT” Make use of professional and academic networks Pick your allies and work with them Arguing for universal broadband provision back in 1994 Too far ahead of the curve Arguing for universal broadband provision back in 1994 Time to think Kate Oakley and management consultants Need time for reflection and development of ideas Close link with networks and people with whom you can debate Don’t grow too big Encouraging criticism I was not terribly receptive Publish and be prepared to be dammed
What is the next big issue? What really interests you? What makes you cross because no-one is doing anything about it? Where is there a real need?
Nick Moore: Making the bullets for others to fire (research and policy)
Making the bullets for others to fire Nick Moore Managing Partner, Acumen [email_address]
Researching information policy <ul><li>Making sense of it all </li></ul><ul><li>Filling in the gaps </li></ul><ul><li>Critical analysis </li></ul>
Making sense of it all <ul><li>What did we mean by information policy? </li></ul><ul><li>What was going on already? </li></ul><ul><li>Can we develop an analytical framework? </li></ul><ul><li>Where are the gaps? </li></ul>
Information Policy Matrix ICT & Networks Legislative & Regulatory Skills Information Sector Information & organisations Information & society
Filling in the gaps <ul><li>Highlighting the gaps </li></ul><ul><li>Seizing opportunities for research and influence </li></ul><ul><li>Creating opportunities for dissemination and debate </li></ul><ul><li>Building relationships and networks </li></ul>
General lessons <ul><li>Interest and passion are essential </li></ul><ul><li>Stay ahead of the curve </li></ul><ul><li>Be part of an influential organisation </li></ul><ul><li>Build networks and relationships </li></ul><ul><li>Retain your independence </li></ul><ul><li>Luck plays a big part </li></ul>
Mistakes and how to avoid them <ul><li>I tried to cover too much </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Focus and specialise </li></ul></ul><ul><li>I failed to carry others with me </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Build networks, win friends and influence people </li></ul></ul><ul><li>I got too far ahead of the curve </li></ul><ul><li>I didn’t give myself enough time to think </li></ul><ul><li>I didn’t encourage enough criticism </li></ul>
Discussion points <ul><li>What is the next big issue? </li></ul><ul><li>What can you do to stay ahead of the curve? </li></ul>