0.4. Process Chapter

Chapter 4 provided an overarching conceptual framework as a basic tool for the processes needed to plan, structure and implement knowledge societies policies, which Chapter 5 then builds upon. 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 KSP developed in relation to the territory’s specific needs and future aspirations. This should also be undertaken taking account of its regional and global context, and the imperative of embedding the KSP strongly within and as part of the government’s existing overall policy portfolio for the territory.

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.

The process framework presented in Chapter 5 for building a KSP is 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.

As described in the following, 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.

  • 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 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, is the third step of the policy cycle 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, represents the fourth policy cycle component 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 and has the objective 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.

Sequential policy components 1 to 5 are divided into three overall policy phases: 1) the preparation phase, 2) the formulation phase, and 3) the implementation and sustaining phase. Each is punctuated by 2 or 3 milestones which can be used to plan and structure the KSP process and ensure that it is on track to meet its objectives. There are also continuous feedback loops ensuring that these objectives are adjusted as necessary to remain the right ones, even when new opportunities or threats appear during the duration of the policy, or the external environment changes in ways which might affect it.

  • Component 6 – Monitoring and evaluation, is an ongoing component throughout the whole policy cycle 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 also a component ongoing throughout the whole policy cycle 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.

Ongoing components 6 and 7 together 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.