Policy Development seeks to position itself as a premier institution for social policy analysis and analytic capacity-building. To accomplish this goal, Policy Development has identified those areas of strength which distinguish it from other, somewhat similar, organizations.
Analysis, Planning, Capacity-Building
Policy Development’s combination of analysis, program planning, capacity building, sustainability, and evaluation is designed to distinguish it from an organization that does only one or two of these critical components. Policy Development believes that intellectual and staffing synergies come from this combination of services. For example, coupling analytic services with capacity building increases the likelihood that the analytic activities will continue, and that the two way street operates fully. Another critical synergy is that program staff can be engaged for two purposes at once: communicating new policy knowledge to clients, and gleaning new input for policy analysis from them.
“Woodrow Wilson-Inspired” Model of Policy Analysis
Many PD staff and advisors have been and will continue to be drawn from Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. In addition, the methods, techniques, and insights of the organization (though not explicitly linked to the school), are drawn from those taught at Princeton University. Though it is impossible to succinctly characterize the gamut of ideas that are generated by such a large institution, PD draws on ideals of institutional rationality, innovation, community-level wisdom, and potential insights from generalist political analysis.
One of PD’s comparative advantages is its young, diverse and agile staff. Program staff are mission-driven and thoughtful professionals with rigorous and nuanced analytic abilities. This group is ready to travel, and able to operate in remote villages as easily as in the UN General Assembly. One logistical implication of this comparative advantage is that a dynamic staff can be scattered across the country and world, using information technology to stay connected. The importance of a physical central office therefore becomes less important.
Over time, Policy Development is accumulating informal and formal policy networks. These networks include former and current clients, researchers, alumni of PD’s staff and board, members of the Woodrow Wilson community, and more. Such networks will prove invaluable not only for the broadcasting of the PD model, but also to maintain expertise, recruit, and to access decision makers and policy makers. In this way, PD becomes more than the sum of its clients.