Two Lessons After a Few Weeks In

Friday, December 23, 2016

by Nick Charney RSS / cpsrenewalFacebook / cpsrenewalLinkedIn / Nick Charneytwitter / nickcharneygovloop / nickcharneyGoogle+ / nickcharney

I quietly changed roles recently -- shifting away from a role working on policy innovation at the macro systems level to working on the implementation policy innovation at the micro program level. I'm enjoying the experience so far and (as usual) have been reflecting a bit on what I can learn along the way.

The danger of templates and the tension of task completion
Templates might be useful tools for standardization but they also create an artificial barrier that limits our thinking, especially templates that only push us to think to a certain milestone (e.g. design) and stop short of another (e.g. implementation). In other words they can create artificial barriers that reinforce an "out of sight out of mind mindset" when in reality those things -- while downstream -- ought to be given due consideration upstream. Similarly, there's a constant tension between doing completing the task that is immediately in front of you and that which is not. It takes a high degree of effort to say no to the pressure of the immediacy and keep your focus on longer term objectives. The risks closer to you often seem more important than those downstream but it is that very proximity that inflates their severity not their inherent characteristics.

The importance of stepping outside of strategic policy
Take the time to step outside the strategic policy world and work in or on a program and/or on implementation; there's a lot to be learned.



Note(s): 


  • If you are interested in stepping into parts of my old role you can find more information on it here (internal link).
  • I'll be in DC talking policy innovation + holding a small hackathon on the Policy Innovation Portal (internal link); contact me if you'd like to set up a meeting or hit the link above to register for the event.