2. Define What Success Might Look Like

Without a goal, driving purpose or ‘reason why,’ it will be very difficult to rally others to support what you want to achieve. Evidence alone (or doing the right thing) will not convince others to join your cause or help you achieve your goals.

Changing a complex system requires focus.  It requires knowing what success might look like before your start as well as knowing how to measure progress toward achieving the result you want.

As you set your goals, Public Policy by Design™ ensures that you:

A. gather the ‘right evidence’ to support every step you need to take to reach your goals;

B. achieve the organizational alignment[1] you need to take advantage of a reasonable number of opportunities and minimize risks;

B. identify people who can help you reach your goals;

C. understand that others’ goals and activities can distract decision-makers from supporting your goals;

D. develop options and implement solutions in support of the change(s) you want; and

E. constantly listen, learn and adjust as you share knowledge and advocate for change.


In a nutshell, all of this means understanding:

  • who you are working with and/or working for (and why!);
  • your environment;
  • the mindset you and others might need to have to make progress on each step of your journey.

These are only an example of the first few steps you can take to tackle complex public policy opportunities, issues or problems.  Having a goal in mind [even if you know this might change during your journey] is also necessary ingredient to working effectively with others.


[1] de Leeuw, E., McNess, A., Crisp, B. and Stagnitti, K. (2008). “Theoretical reflections on the nexus between research, policy and practice.” in Critical Public Health, 18 (1), 5–20.