Agility in policymaking: Is it a must or a trend?

Agility in policymaking: Is it a must or a trend?

Agility in policymaking: Is it a must or a trend?
An artist's impression of the Oxagon port in Neom; the initiative to create the city emerged from Saudi Vision 2030. (Neom)
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In today’s rapidly shifting landscape, adaptability and flexibility are more than mere buzzwords — they are foundational requisites, especially within the sphere of policy development or policymaking.

The proposition is simple yet profound: being agile in policymaking is not an added advantage; it is an absolute necessity. The very fabric of our global milieu is in constant evolution, thus underscoring the pressing need for transformative and agile policies.

Policymaking activities wield an unmatched power in sculpting the trajectory of organizations, countries, and even entire civilizations. They touch upon numerous facets such as economic, social, cultural, or lifestyle. These policies become the torchbearers in navigating current predicaments and proactively preparing for anticipated societal and economic challenges.

Glimpses of such transformative policymaking are evident across history, from France’s revival post-revolution, Roosevelt’s New Deal in the US, Japan’s resurgence post WWII, the visionary Lee Kuan Yew’s Singapore to the well-recognized transformational Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030. The thread connecting these distinct successes is that all can be traced back to robust, well-structured, and effectively implemented policies.

However, crafting such transformative policies is an intricate process. It mandates a symphony of stakeholders, ranging from governmental entities, technocrats, and media, to the very pulse of any country or organization, its people. The real litmus test, though, is not just in ideating these policies but ensuring their seamless translation into on-ground, tangible actions.

As we stand on the edge of a new era, policymaking is shedding its bureaucratic, ponderous skin, metamorphosing into a more dynamic, result-driven paradigm. With the rapidity of change, policies crafted even a year ago might already be on the border of obsolescence. This is where agility ceases to be a buzzword and cements itself as a core principle.

Drawing parallels with the tech world, policymaking’s agile approach mirrors the philosophy of agile software development. The modus operandi is rooted in iterative development where policies undergo a continuous lifecycle of testing, evaluation, and refinement, buoyed by diverse stakeholder feedback.

The current global environment, characterized by tectonic shifts in the economy, breakthrough technological innovations, and profound societal transformations, necessitates such an agile approach. This agility begets proactive, forward-looking governance, positioning entities to not just respond but anticipate challenges. It’s a competitive global landscape, where agility can spell the difference between thriving or merely surviving.

As we hurtle into the future at breakneck speed, the clarion call for agility in policymaking becomes deafening.

Dr. Thamer Ahmad Baazeem

Pivoting to leadership, the mantle of effective policymaking rests upon visionary leaders, who are individuals endowed with the foresight to identify looming challenges, the charisma to rally stakeholders, and the acumen to construct consensus. In this volatile policy arena, transformational leadership behaviors, crystallized by clear vision, unwavering motivation, altruism, cogent communication, and adaptability, emerge as the lynchpins.

Further increasing the policy conundrum are the multifaceted challenges of our times. From the invisible tendrils of cyber threats, and the ever-present specter of environmental crises, to intricate socio-economic puzzles, today’s problems demand a policy framework that is agile enough to chart these murky waters. The digital era ushers in an informed citizenry, leading to heightened expectations of transparency, inclusivity, and prompt results. To navigate this, policymaking must embrace technology. This convergence ensures policies benefit from data analytics, AI, and predictive modeling, transforming them from merely reactive documents to dynamic, living entities. Collaborative policymaking, by its design, breaks down traditional barriers, championing inclusivity and fostering a rich tapestry of diverse perspectives. Yet, agility should not be misconstrued as constant flux. While it champions adaptability, there is an underlying need for stability, offering a predictable bedrock. The art lies in melding these seemingly dichotomous objects forming a dynamic yet stable policy ecosystem.

All in all, as we hurtle into the future at breakneck speed, the clarion call for agility in policymaking becomes deafening. Beyond trends or fleeting fads, the essence of agility is eternal. In the domain of policymaking, this agility is not just the key to the future; it is the very lock itself.

  • Dr. Thamer Ahmad Baazeem is chairman of the Marketing Association Saudi Arabia.
Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not necessarily reflect Arab News' point of view