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Influencing policy

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Slides from the Influencing Policy course from Fast Track Impact, by Prof Mark Reed

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Influencing policy

  1. 1. Influencing Policy
  2. 2. You can work out how to engage with the Governments and organisations you want to influence… Question:Informing policy Submit evidence to • Public Bill Committees • Select Committee Inquiries • All-Party Parliamentary Group Inquiries Suggest a POSTnote (England) or SPICe briefing (Scotland) or equivalent in Wales & NI Consultation responses Contribute to international science-policy interfaces e.g. IPCC and IPBES Speak at a side-event at an international policy conference
  3. 3. Question:Informing policy Or take advice from in- country researchers on the appropriate channels to use
  4. 4. We need to use the established channels, but it is hard to know if your evidence made a difference (my last consultation response was 1 of 40,000)  Is our job simply to inform policy (make evidence available when requested)?  Should we try and influence policy (pro- actively target and clearly communicate evidence to relevant teams)? Question:Why influence?
  5. 5. Why inform? Question:Why influence? Why influence?
  6. 6. Why inform?  Save yourself time  Don’t waste time of civil servants  Don’t get asked difficult questions  Don’t risk your professional reputation Question:Why influence? Why influence?  Don’t risk important evidence being missed  Engage with questions to avoid misinterpretation  Build relationships, get asked to help
  7. 7. Do high quality research Question:Policy influencing principles Make your research relevant and readable Understand policy processes Be accessible to policymakers: engage routinely, flexible, and humbly Decide if you want to be an issue advocate or honest broker Build relationships (and ground rules) with policymakers Reflect continuously: what’s working? Based on a systematic review of literature by Oliver and Cairney (2019)
  8. 8. How do you feel? Question:Identifying your red lines Limited Influence and Impact More Lower risk Higher risk Session 2: Tools Session 3: Writing a policy brief Session 4: Using a policy brief Session 5: Pitching policy options Session 6: Pincer movement Session 7: Evidencing impact
  9. 9. 5 WAYS to Fast Track your Research Impact Impact tools
  10. 10. Question:Defining policy impact What is the difference between Policy-relevant applied research Policy engagement Policy impact ?
  11. 11. Question:What is policy impact? benefit
  12. 12. Question:What is policy impact? Who benefits?
  13. 13. The good that researchers do in the world Question:A definition of research impact
  14. 14. The good that researchers do in the world Question:Types of policy impact Types of impacts from good policies implemented well, for example: • Health/wellbeing Interim/initial impacts you might see on the pathway to policy impacts, for example: • Increased awareness or understanding of an issue
  15. 15. Capacity building Understanding and awareness Attitudinal Other forms of decision-making and behaviour change impacts Policy Health and wellbeing Economic Cultural Other social Environmental
  16. 16.  Attribution is the causal link between claimed impacts and underpinning research  Significance is the degree to which the impact has enriched, influence, informed or changed policies, practices, products, opportunities or perceptions of individuals, communities or organisations  Reach is the extent and diversity of the communities, environments, individuals, organisations or any other beneficiaries that may have been impacted by the research Evaluating ImpactPolicy impacts that matter
  17. 17. Empathy
  18. 18. 5 WAYS to Fast Track your Research Impact Practical tools
  19. 19. Who has a stake in my research?What works?
  20. 20. Empathy
  21. 21. Who has a stake in my research? 1. Stakeholder analysis 2. Impact planning Two Tools
  22. 22. Who has a stake in my research? 1. Who is interested (or not)? 2. Who has influence (to facilitate or block impact)? 3. Who is impacted (positively or negatively) e.g. playing into or compromising political interests? Why? Stakeholder analysis: 3i’s
  23. 23. ...adapt to your own needs Stakeholder/publics analysis
  24. 24. Writing a policy brief that has real impact
  25. 25. Who has a stake in my research?  Summary or synthesis of research evidence  Targets an issue, evidence gap or policy need  Provides policy options, advice or actions  You can write and design you own policy brief or be part of a series What is a policy brief?
  26. 26. Who has a stake in my research?  When you’ve submitted evidence to a consultation or inquiry that you also want to get to specific people or teams  As a visual aid for a talk or meeting to leave with participants for follow-up  When your research is only part of the picture – integrate with other projects or evidence synthesis When is a policy brief useful?
  27. 27. Who has a stake in my research?  Choose a policy brief  Explain what you like or dislike? What makes a good policy brief?
  28. 28. Who has a stake in my research? Getting your focus right:  Use your stakeholder analysis to identify warm contacts from relevant policy networks (e.g. engaged researchers, third sector, consultants, agency staff, civil servants, MPs)  Tailored email based on intersection between your interests and theirs  Meet to discuss evidence gaps, policy needs and other questions Co-producing a policy brief
  29. 29. Who has a stake in my research? Getting your content right:  Get their help to identify keywords that will resonate with your audience  Get their feedback on draft text and design (including photos and infographics)  Stress-test drafts with stakeholders Co-producing a policy brief
  30. 30. Who has a stake in my research?Case study
  31. 31. How do you feel? Question:Identifying your red lines Limited Influence and Impact More Lower risk Higher risk Session 2: Tools Session 3: Writing a policy brief Session 4: Using a policy brief Session 5: Pitching policy options Session 6: Pincer movement Session 7: Evidencing impact
  32. 32. Using your policy brief in meetings and policy seminars
  33. 33. Who has a stake in my research?  Revisit your stakeholder analysis  Focus on high interest/influence groups that will directly benefit from your research  Fine-grain your analysis if necessary to identify specific teams and individuals via online research and help from colleagues  Create invitations based on their interests (tailored for one-to-one meetings or list most important benefits for seminars) Targeting key people and teams
  34. 34. Who has a stake in my research? Options to consider:  Single issue/presenter versus curating a programme  Joining a seminar series versus creating a stand-alone event  In-house or a nearby venue with a nice lunch  Presentation/questions or participatory format  Feedback questionnaire or post-card to your future self Policy seminars
  35. 35. Who has a stake in my research? Options to consider:  Cold call or be introduced via a trusted intermediary  Send key messages and policy brief via intermediary, visit with them or go yourself  Come in listening mode or with key messages  Their office or a coffee shop One-to-one meetings
  36. 36. Who has a stake in my research?What could go wrong? UNCCD COP9: The talk was the only thing that went right Rural Economy and Land Use programme: “I think this question’s for you Mark”
  37. 37. Who has a stake in my research?  What is the difference between influence and manipulation?  How might researchers inadvertently cross their own red lines? Discussion exercise
  38. 38. How do you feel? Question:Identifying your red lines Limited Influence and Impact More Lower risk Higher risk Session 2: Tools Session 3: Writing a policy brief Session 4: Using a policy brief Session 5: Pitching policy options Session 6: Pincer movement Session 7: Evidencing impact
  39. 39. Pitching policy options in meetings and seminars
  40. 40. 1. Purpose 2. Communicate tangible benefits 3. Explain why these benefits are important 4. Give people a reason to trust you 5. What’s coming next 1. Have purpose
  41. 41.  The best speakers empathise with their audiences, and their audiences identify with them  How can you empathise and connect with an audience? 2. Connect
  42. 42.  Know your audience  If you don’t, start off getting to know them  What concerns and motivates them most?  The power of stories  Stories with impact are personal, unexpected, visual, visceral  Use your body language:  Open & approachable; positive & energised  Your audience will mirror you emotionally 2. Connect
  43. 43.  Authoritative ≠ intimidating  Posture: be aware of your feet  Start/end at “home” position and use different stage positions for different points  Use emphasis to make every word and sentence count:  Slow down and spell out key points  Use volume  Vary intonation  Pause/silence 3. Be authoritative and passionate
  44. 44.  Identify one, memorable key message  Repeat it in different ways, coming at it from different angles to communicate your secondary messages  People will forget the detail, so use the detail to build and convey your key message  Use stories, images and metaphors to make your message stick 4. Keep it simple
  45. 45.  Practice and practice again  Record yourself, get feedback, identify bad habits and practice breaking them  Speaking too fast, pacing, verbal fillers  Use your visual aids to add impact to your message, not as your notes 5. Polish
  46. 46. Ella aged 2 wearing mum’s shoes Ella aged 22 Put yourself in their shoes: have purpose, connect, be authoritative & passionate, keep it simple, and polish your shoes regularly
  47. 47. The bottom-up and top- down pincer movement
  48. 48. Who has a stake in my research? Which do you feel more comfortable with and why?  Issue advocate  Honest broker Bottom-up: the trusted advisor
  49. 49. Who has a stake in my research? You don’t have to be the world expert to become the “go to” person:  Identify junior civil servants who work with evidence in your field  Offer targeted help based on their interests/remit, asking what else you can do  Work in the public interest, not just to get your research used  Deliver useful, understandable and on time, via your network if outside your expertise  Wait for them to connect you to their teams Bottom-up: the trusted advisor
  50. 50. Who has a stake in my research?  Identify influential stakeholder organisations and decide if you can work with them (considering risks to your values and reputation)  Offer help to junior staff who work with evidence, build trust and get to know their teams  Provide evidence for them to use in high-level meetings, if possible briefing and de-briefing before/after  The risk: they cherry-pick or distort the evidence to lobby using your name and credibility Top-down: intermediaries
  51. 51. Who has a stake in my research?  When it all comes together… Top-down and bottom up
  52. 52. How do you feel? Question:Identifying your red lines Limited Influence and Impact More Lower risk Higher risk Session 2: Tools Session 3: Writing a policy brief Session 4: Using a policy brief Session 5: Pitching policy options Session 6: Pincer movement Session 7: Evidencing impact
  53. 53. Evidencing policy impacts
  54. 54. Read and discuss  Evaluation:  Track indicators/milestones identified in your impact plan  Design a more sophisticated evaluation to establish whether you had impact  Think about it early in case you need before/after comparison etc.  Monitoring:  Opportunistically capture impacts as they arise, whether expected or unexpected… You need to do two things…
  55. 55. Read and discuss  Do you systematically track the impact of your research? Monitoring impact
  56. 56. Read and discussMonitoring impact  Find a way to continually track your impacts easily to take the pain out of reporting:  Email impacts/evidence to yourself and file  Ring binder/scrap book  Evernote: enable team members from any institution to collate impacts in a shared notebook without having to log into anything…
  57. 57. www.fasttrackimpact.com/evernote
  58. 58.  The process of assessing the significance and reach of both positive and negative effects of research  Your task is to identify causal links between:  Research (cause)  Impact (effect)  To create an evidence-based argument that your research was sufficient or necessary to generate the claimed impact Evaluating ImpactWhat is impact evaluation?
  59. 59.  Entry level evaluation: use common sense to assess milestones and indicators (establishing baselines as necessary) Evaluating ImpactEvaluating impact
  60. 60.  Evaluation design = research design  Get win-wins for your research by asking “what’s my impact” as a research question and identifying methods already in your toolkit  Get targeted help when there’s a tool missing  Be proportionate  Do parts of your design e.g. online survey, interview  Rigour from triangulation  Get feedback, plugging gaps till it is believable Evaluating ImpactEvaluating impact
  61. 61.  What are you claiming?  Whole or part of policy?  Why is the component you influenced important?  Ideal situation: policy citation  Likely situation:  Policy reflects research findings or recommendations  Evidence of significant engagement and uptake in policy processes  Testimonial interview: significance, reach, attribution and ethics Evaluating ImpactEvaluating policy impacts
  62. 62. Conclusions
  63. 63.  The Eureka moment  The concept paper  The Guardian  It was just an idea  The funding  Reaching scientific consensus with IUCN  The Peatland Code  Keeping new Governments on side  Evidence to justify peatland spend in austerity  Private investment, significant new public spend  UN interest, IUCN and UN resolutions, Global Peatland Assessment Evaluating ImpactCase study
  64. 64. Next steps
  65. 65.  What will I do to take a step towards a more relational approach that could generate more impact from my evidence?  How can I mitigate risks? Where do I draw the line? Evaluating ImpactPaired discussion
  66. 66. www.fasttrackimpact.com/resources
  67. 67. Influencing Policy

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