Friday, August 2, 2013

Empowering the People with Systemic Analysis of Policy Proposals

Steven E. Wallis, Alumnus, School of Human & Organizational Development (2006)

Complexity and systems approaches can be applied for the creation and evaluation of policy proposals. However, those approaches are difficult to learn and use. Therefore, those conceptual tools are not available to the general public. If citizens were able to analyze policies for themselves with relative ease, they would gain a powerful tool for choosing and improving policy. In this paper, I present a relatively simple method that can be used to measure the structure (complexity and co-causal relationships) of competing policies. I demonstrate this method by conducting a detailed comparison of two economic policies that have been put forth by competing political parties. The results show clear differences between the policies that are not visible through other forms of analysis. Thus, this method serves as a “David’s sling” – a simple tool that can empower individuals and organization to have a greater influence on the policy process. Further, this process is also shown to be useful for integrating disparate views – thus opening the door for more civic collaboration instead of political competition and social fragmentation.

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