DILC and the ProblemLady; Phase 3, the industry

The Dialectic Issue LifeCycle Model (DILC) is a very cool heuristic for thinking about how some societal problems become issues, what industry does when the problems climb the political agenda and how the issues are (or aren’t) ‘resolved’.  Here’s a video starring its progenitors.  The DILC has five phases, and looks at three categories of actors in detail – those trying to get the issue onto the agenda, those trying to keep it off/to shape the problem into a soluble issue, and the state functionaries (elected and non-elected).

Last year I came up with the idea of each of these ideal types writing letters to an agony aunt during each of the phases, seeking her strategic advice.  I am posting these 15 (well, 16) letters and responses, one per day, over the next two weeks or so.

Today, Phase three, industry.

Dear ProblemLady,

We’re beginning to wonder why you come so highly recommended. We’ve been following your advice and things are not going well.  Spineless and ungrateful politicians, who seem to have forgotten where their post-election defeat paychecks are coming from, are muttering about “technology-forcing policies” and other impertinent impositions.

Company Now Under Terrible Scrutiny



what are you complaining about? You still have market share, you are still profitable, and every year you continue to exist, you continue to make money.  I never promised you a rose garden. Into every life, a little rain must fall. Now, man-up and do the following;

  1. a) Dismiss the activists as scaremongers. Call them “Chicken Littles”. Claim they are anti-progress luddites. Get your libertarian buddies to call them Big State Pol Pot loving Stalinists.
  2. b) Highlight the cost of solutions (not to yourselves so much, but to “society”. Cry some crocodile tears for the poor, but avoid mention of the low low wages that you pay.
  3. c) Make sure you have a seat – in fact, many seats – at the table in any “policy forum” that gets set up.

Oh, and if you have two brain cells to rub together (and given the tone of your letters, I am not so sure that you do), then think of this. Is there a technological solution to the problem that everyone is whining about?  If there IS, how are you going to feel if your competitor figures it out before you and brings that product to market first?  You are going to look lazy and stupid and your share price will go through the floor.  So, perhaps spend a little money on some secret R and D, eh?

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