PolicyMaker 4 Software

What is PolicyMaker?

PolicyMaker is a rapid assessment method for analyzing and managing the politics of public policy. Politics affects all aspects of public policy -- what gets on the agenda, who supports an issue, who opposes an issue, whether an issue receives official approval, and whether the official policy is implemented. PolicyMaker is a logical and formal procedure to provide practical advice on how to manage the political aspects of public policy. The method helps decision-makers improve the political feasibility of their policy.

The Process: PolicyMaker is carried out through five main analytic steps. The software helps you to define:

  • Policy Content: Define and analyze the content of your policy. Identify the major goals of the policy, and specify a mechanism that is intended to achieve each goal. Determine whether the goal is already on the agenda.
  • Players: Identify the most important players and analyze their positions, power, and interests, and assess the policy's consequences for the players. Also, analyze the networks and coalitions among the players.
  • Opportunities and Obstacles: Assess the opportunities and obstacles that affect the feasibility of your policy, by analyzing conditions within specific organizations and in the broader political environment.
  • Strategies: Design strategies to improve the feasibility of your policy, by using expert advice provided in the program. Then, evaluate your strategies, and create alternative strategy packages as potential action plans.
  • Impacts of Strategies: Estimate the impacts of your strategies on the positions, power, and number of mobilized players--the three factors that affect the feasibility of your policy. Compare the future and current Position Maps and Feasibility Graphs to show the impacts of your strategies. Monitor the implementation of your strategies and compare the results to your predictions.

Products of your analysis: The analysis in PolicyMaker results in a series of tables and maps or diagrams that systematically organize essential information about your policy. These tables and maps can be used in strategic planning for policy formulation and implementation, to assist you in improving the political feasibility of your policy. The results can help you with:

  • Understanding -- by facilitating the analysis of the political circumstances faced by your policy
  • Problem identification -- by providing rapid identification and definition of obstacles
  • Policymaking process -- by assisting in communication among different organizations
  • Organize data -- by providing a database and easy-to-use screens to store, track, and analyze positions, power, and other aspects of a political question
  • Implementation strategies -- by proposing new ideas and strategies, helping you to evaluate their consequences, and to track their implementation
  • Overall enhanced impact of your policy -- by improving the chances that a policy will achieve its intended effects

Experiences: PolicyMaker has been developed through the training of high-level decision-makers and through extensive field testing in policy environments around the world, including: the health of school children in Ghana; a project for setting health priorities in the city of Cambridge, Massachusetts; the introduction of a major health initiative in Tanzania; and health insurance policy for school children in Egypt. These experiences demonstrate that PolicyMaker is an effective tool for describing the political processes involved in public policy, for explaining how past decisions were made, and for proposing strategies to manage the political dynamics of policy decisions.