Handbooks of Research on Public Policy series
Edited by Robert Geyer and Paul Cairney
Chapter 7: The policymaker’s complexity toolkit
As discussed in the introductory chapter, one of complexity theory’s most useful contributions to policymaking and implementation may be the provision of a unifying language between different disciplines and professions, between ‘theorists’ and ‘practitioners’. Whilst not quite yet the ‘Esperanto’ of scientific and social enquiry (Lissack, 1999), the framing of concepts with similar phraseology, models and conceptual metaphors might help both policymakers and practitioners communicate more effectively and begin to promote a common understanding of approaches to enquiry and policy implementation across disciplinary and cultural boundaries (Klein, 2004; Cooper et al., 2004; Price, 2005). Indeed contributors to this chapter come from different disciplines within one academic institution and have all found ‘complexity’ to be a commonly understood framework (if not completely uniformly interpreted), through which productive conversations regarding policy and practice can occur. We introduce the Brighton Complex Systems Toolkit (CSTK, 2012) to represent an example of successful collaborative practice, and frame a modified version as a suggested ‘Complex Practice Toolkit’, advocating a complexity approach, informed by an ‘evolutionary’ discourse, for both policymakers and those implementing policy (practitioners).
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