The success of any policy is contingent upon its strategic planning and design to achieve its desired objectives. This is not unfamiliar to many countries, where their policies and strategies undergo thorough study and design, utilizing comprehensive plans, optimal methods, ideal tools, and clear procedures to address specific problems. The government determines the suitable tool and assesses its impact.
Policy design can be contradictory and confusing for governments aiming to satisfy various stakeholders and adapt to evolving citizen demands, while attempting to implement policies consistently over time.
There are numerous current design tools available for governments to use for specific political goals. Often, the challenge lies in the fact that once governments transition from the design phase to the implementation phase, the design phase is closed permanently, leading to potential problems during implementation.
To address this issue, future governments can benefit from aligning design and implementation, rather than treating them as entirely separate elements. Policymakers can achieve this by integrating specific mechanisms (stakeholder feedback) during the implementation phase, making policy design flexible enough for continuous adjustment if the current implementation indicates the need for modification.
The Smart Policy Design and Implementation Center at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University theoretically focuses on policy design, involving six crucial steps. This approach combines many strategic elements that mutually support each other. Improving policy design is integrated into each of the following five steps:
Problem Definition: Identifying the problem that the policy aims to solve through communication with all relevant stakeholders, recognizing opportunities for collaborative problem-solving.
Diagnosis: Understanding the cause of the problem and distinguishing between the causes and symptoms.
Policy Design: Identifying options to address the problem, considering context, capacity, leveraging technology, expert opinions, stakeholder views, and available resources.
Execution: Implementing solutions designed to address the problem, not necessarily on a broad scale from the outset but through step-by-step execution.
Testing Policy Application Results: Testing the results of policy implementation outlined in the previous steps is a crucial step that naturally leads to improving policy application by correcting one or a set of steps if necessary.
The policy-making process is complex but continuous, requiring governments to be flexible in accepting stakeholder feedback, taking risks to reap benefits, avoiding catastrophic losses, being open to making mistakes and learning from them, and adjusting the course taken during the process.
Strategists in the public sector can apply this process to many national strategies, such as achieving the Kingdom’s 2030 Vision and beyond, Bahrain’s strategies for industry, environment, energy, food security, tourism, and other policies focusing on diversifying and sustaining non-oil sectors.
Note: This article has been automatically translated.
Source: Akhbar Alkhaleej
Ali Faqeeh, Research Associate