Poverty, global warming, immigration, ageing and drug trafficking are all wicked problems that cut across neat boundaries and dichotomies and demand a multi-stakeholder approach. The Master Class in Policy Analysis, co-convened by NSOB and WRR, the Scientific Council for Government Policy (www.wrr.nl), focuses on the methods and techniques with which we can understand the underlying causes of wicked problems and how to design strategies to cope with them. It is designed for policy advisers working in central government and its think tanks. The Master Class comprises nine meetings clustered around three major questions: (1) what are the limitations of policy analysis in a world full of wicked problems?, (2) which instruments and techniques can be used to understand wicked problems and to design coping strategies?, and (3) how can we make sure that our advise has the desired effect within highly volatile and politicized contexts?
Instruments for policy advice that feature in this master class are narrative analysis, forecasting and evidence-based research. We also focus on the unintended consequences of any policy instrument and how they can be avoided from the outset. The relationship between policy advice and politics is highlighted, as well as the influence the media have on how advice is perceived. During the master class participants use the insights they are given to write a report for a third party. This report is presented and judged during the last meeting by a jury of experts.
The Master Class is convened by dr Martijn van der Steen and managed by Jaap van der Spek MA.