Today I finished my MOOC “Public Policy Challenges of the 21st Century” from the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy at the University of Virgina, on Coursera. Although it’s not a credit course, I’m happy with my 94% grade 🥳.
It lasted nine weeks and despite being US-centric, with guest lectures featuring previous/current American politicians, I found the course useful to understand how policy gets shaped in government, and how the (US public) respond. The lessons covered US political issues, such as the War Powers Resolution, and Senators Tim Kaine & John McCain’s War Powers Consultation Act. However, the themes and lesson takeaways were global in nature. I found Professor Gerry Warburg to be engaging and interesting to watch. I can only imagine that’s heightened in in-person lectures.
In Warburg’s final lecture he outlined the Seven Tools for Crafting Policy, and they resonated with me, especially numbers four, six and seven. In the Global Trends 2030 Report researchers found that across multiple countries, a majority of citizens surveyed said that they believe existing governance structures are inadequate for the tasks facing governments ahead. We’re seeing this now, in the midst of a global pandemic, but I also feel this can be applied to technology policy and governance of Big Tech.
Seven Tools for Crafting Policy
- Study policy history — know who/what won last time, and who/what lost, and apply those lessons learned
- Improve your communication skills — it’s imperative that you know how to read and speak well
- Listen to your opponents — look for opportunities for common ground; get outside your “echo chamber”
- Embrace civil society — government policies are no longer shaped by governments only
- Be creative — reject either-or options; propose innovative policy solutions. be experimental!
- Don’t be hamstrung by precendent — what worked before might not be useful for what seems like a similar situation
- Know your own heart — if you stand for nothing (Burr), what will you fall for? Only when you know what you stand for, will you know when to compromise.
Warbug’s final lecture ended on a message of resiliance and hope, and despite being recorded in 2015 it was a message that I feel is more relevant than ever today — especially as I begin this new phase of my career. To paraphrase: