On 3 June 2022, I had the pleasure to host a lecture on Storytelling, narratives and connections for policy entrepreneurs at the School of Transnational Governance of the European University Institute.
Nothing makes you more formidable than verbal competence, to be able to articulate and marshal your arguments. Get everything in order, get your information straight, to go to war with words.
A number of authors interested in how to translate evidence into policy identify the importance of policy narrative and argue that advocates of scientific evidence need to tell good stories to grab the attention and appeal to the emotions of policymakers. Yet, this general call for better narratives is incomplete without concrete examples and evidence of their effectiveness. To ensure research findings are taken up into policy, scientists and social researchers need a sophisticated understanding of policymaker psychology and the role of factors such as group dynamics and the rules that people follow within organizations.
While many policy studies take into account how and why people make decisions, individually and within the complex systems of government, few go a step further to offer advice on how those who wish to influence policy should act.
There is a large body of grey literature that does focus on providing practical guidance for those seeking to ensure uptake of evidence into policy. This literature draws on a range of insights from the world of academia, but also from practical lessons gained from years of trial and error within the field of policy advocacy.
I thank the School of Transnational Governance for giving me the opportunity to present my findings to some absolutely brilliant attendees from all over Europe.