5. Process – Building Knowledge Societies Policy

Any level of government which has policy-making powers over the territory it represents, whether international, national or sub-national including at city level, can prepare, implement and sustain a Knowledge Societies Policy (KSP). This territory (whether state, city, locality, etc.) should be developed based on three overriding considerations:

  • The territory’s specific needs and future aspirations,
  • The regional (i.e. near-neighbourhood) and global context of the territory
  • The imperative of embedding the KSP strongly within and as part of the government’s existing overall policy portfolio for the territory.

Indeed as described in Chapters 3 and 4, a KSP impacts most if not all of a territory’s societal characteristics, interests and needs, and should be one of the leading policy tools a government possesses. A KSP, if developed sensitively, pragmatically as well as ambitiously, has the potential to transform the government’s territory away from the traditional industrial society of the 20th Century through two main transformations, as outlined in Chapter 4:

  • First, to an Information Society that innovatively uses ICT, new media and other technologies and tools, characteristic of the second half of the 20th
  • Second, into a Knowledge Society ubiquitously using these tools to create and deploy new forms of knowledge for the purposes of inclusive and sustainable development the 21st Century. It thus clear that policies for Knowledge Societies take their point of departure from existing policies and infrastructures, rather than being built independently from them.

Developing a KSP will assist any government prepare a comprehensive understanding of the issues and opportunities it faces as it works towards creating a self-sustaining society and economy. As this handbook demonstrates, there is a large number of ways in which the application of ICT and other new technologies is helping all stakeholders diversify, adapt to and better address global changes.

A successful and well implemented KSP will put any government in a much better position to tackle both large and small scale societal challenges, whether these be climate change, poverty and inequality, demographic change, food and water security, bio-diversity, education, health, jobs, habitat or infrastructure. It will also ensure that such challenges are seen as strongly interdependent requiring a coordinated and integrated, rather than a siloed or piecemeal, response.

A strategic approach will provide a starting point in allowing governments the opportunity to identify development priorities amenable to a KSP approach based on a sound and objective analysis of their needs, strengths, opportunities and resources. Each government has its own particular characteristics in terms of the way people, communities and businesses live and work, and the planning of a strategy must take account of its wider development objectives to achieve maximum impact.

The framework presented in this chapter should be seen more as a structured and interrelated checklist of important issues and activities, rather than a rigid or prescriptive plan of operation. Every government territory is unique, has its own starting point and specific potential and requirements. It is also important to appreciate that each process component outlined in this approach, despite the sequence followed, can also lead back to a re-assessment of previous components, as part of a feed-back process, although too much of this could lead to delay and procrastination. The overall focus must be on moving forward steadily if not rapidly, experimenting, testing and adjusting on a small scale along the way, but always making progress. Firm but flexible leadership is thus required to inspire all stakeholders involved and ensure that real progress is actually being made.

Seven components make up the process framework, the first five of which constituent the policy cycle as relational steps in a logical sequence, whilst the last two are components which are on-going throughout the duration of the KSP and need to be continuously deployed.

Figure 11 shows the seven policy components presented and explained in this chapter, and illustrates their interrelationships.


Figure 11: Process components of the Knowledge Societies policy

Figure 11: Process components of the Knowledge Societies policy


The components are described as follows:

  • Component 1 – Contextualizing and diagnosing, typically starts the policy cycle and addresses, first the territory’s global and regional context, second its specific needs and aspirations, and, third embeds it in the government’s policy portfolio.
  • Component 2 – Visioning and goal-setting, continues the policy cycle after Component 1 and draws on all relevant stakeholders and interests to create an overarching vision for the medium- to long-term of what the KSP should be and how it should be achieved. This takes place through the generation and deployment of new types of knowledge, know-how and innovation, prioritizing what is most important and translating this into strategy development and goal-setting.
  • Component 3 – Analyzing and designing, continues the policy cycle after Component 2, and is concerned with establishing governance structures and stakeholder roles, including multi-stakeholder configurations, to support the preparation of detailed policy designs through an analytical process leading to coordinated programs of policy intervention. Each of the latter require specific objectives and actions, for which necessary inputs, activities, outputs and outcomes are planned and assessed for financial and operational feasibility, in the context of Component 6, for successful contribution to the KSP goals.
  • Component 4 – Implementing, continues the policy cycle after Component 3, and develops and operates detailed action plans to meet project and program objectives, ensuring that all inputs and activities are carried out as intended. Appropriate professional and transparent management and coordination tools and techniques are deployed which also protect legitimate rights, ensure inclusivity and fairly balance competing interests.
  • Component 5 – Updating and sustaining, closes the policy cycle during or subsequent to Component 4, for the purpose of updating either the whole KSP process and/or individual components of that process, and thereby aims to achieve longer-term sustainability. This takes place both in response to the KSP’s implementation experience and how this is monitored and evaluated by Component 6. It also assesses changes in the societal and global environment of the KSP, in particular whether and how to response to new opportunities or threats and to ensure the KSP remains relevant and sustainable.
  • Component 6 – Monitoring and evaluation, is an ongoing component supporting all others through its provision of the rationale and tools for the systematic measurement and evaluation of the KSP’s inputs, activities, outputs, outcomes and impacts, as well as maximizing its continued efficiency, effectiveness, utility and sustainability.
  • Component 7 – Communication, is a component linking all others to the wider society and external stakeholders and interests, including to the general public as the broader stakeholder base. It consists of two-away communication enabling the KSP to disseminate information and raise awareness, on the one hand, and encourages public consultation and engagement on the other. It thus combines communication, awareness-raising and outreach strategies.

As illustrated in Figure 12, the first five components are more or less sequential parts of the policy cycle, starting with Component 1 and cumulating with Component 5. In contrast, Components 6 and 7 are continuous activities over the whole policy cycle. They both feed the cycle in terms of informed decision-making (Component 6) and provide mechanisms for public and wider stakeholder awareness raising and engagement (Component 7). Together they ensure that the KSP retains overall relevance, coherence and effectiveness, by both feeding off and feeding in new knowledge and know-how. This approach also makes it possible to prioritize and scale policy cycle components 1 to 5 according to need in a timely and flexible manner.

Figure 12 shows how the seven components of the KSP link together in terms of their process flow. The figure marks out the three overall policy phases, how these are punctuated by six major milestones, and the iterations between the first five policy cycle components with both the monitoring and evaluation component and the communication component. It also depicts the feedback thereby enabled, as well as the important feedback loop from the updating and sustaining component back to the start of the KSP process.


Figure 12: Process flow of the Knowledge Societies policy components

Figure 12: Process flow of the Knowledge Societies policy components


The three phases of the Knowledge Societies Policy are as follows:

  • Preparation Phase: The phase consists of Component 1 and commences with Milestone 1 at the beginning of the KSP. It concludes with Milestone 2 which checks that satisfactory progress is being made before the next phase and component start. During this phase, Component 1 obtains feedback on progress from Component 6 in relation to the overall monitoring framework, and also iterates with Component 7 by providing information and receiving feedback resulting from wide stakeholder consultations.
  • Formulation Phase: The phase commences after Milestone 2 with Component 2 which itself subsequently transitions into Component 3. There are two milestones in this phase. First, an intermediary Milestone 3 between Components 2 and 3 during which the status of progress is assessed, and second Milestone 4 which assesses the status of the KSP before handover to the next phase. During the phase, both Components 2 and 3 obtain feedback on progress from Component 6 in relation to the overall monitoring framework, and also iterate with Component 7 by providing information and receiving feedback resulting from wide stakeholder consultations.
  • Implementation and Sustaining Phase: The phase commences after Milestone 4 with Component 4 which itself subsequently transitions into Component 5. There are also two milestones in this phase. First, an intermediary Milestone 5 between Components 4 and 5 during which the status of progress is assessed, and second Milestone 6 which assesses the status of the KSP at the end of the whole KSP process. During this final phase, both Components 4 and 5 obtain feedback on progress from Component 6 in relation to the overall monitoring framework, and also iterate with Component 7 by providing information and receiving feedback resulting from wide stakeholder consultations.

Finally, towards the end of the KSP process, a major assessment of the KSP is undertaken and provides an important feedback input (green arrow) into any future or revised KSP.

The remainder of this chapter provides details of the seven components of the KSP process: Component 1 – contextualizing and diagnosing in Section 5.1, Component 2 – visioning and goal-setting in Section 5.2, Component 3 – analyzing and designing in Section 5.3, Component 4 – implementing in Section 5.4, Component 5 – updating and sustaining in Section 5.5, Component 6 – monitoring and evaluating in Section 5.6 and Component 7 – communicating in Section 5.7.


 

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