DILC and the ProblemLady: Phase 4, 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 4, the Industry

Dear ProblemLady.

Now the fricking Prime Minister is on the television saying Something Must Be Done.  At least when this was all in the “policy subsystems” everything was predictable, if not always controllable. Now, with the big ignorant beasts roaring and wanting quick solutions so they look good ahead of the next time that the great unwashed tick a box, nobody knows what is gonna happen.  Help!!
Skewered Company Attracting Really Extreme Disdain

First, off, SCARED, if you’ll allow me to be crude and down wiv da yoof – “grow a pair.”

Next, the practical advice. You have a choice – you can keep banging on about costs and technical feasibility.  You can go “on strike” and dare the legislature to punish you, as the American car industry did in the 70s.  In the world of Twitter and facebook and satirical activists with graphics packages, that might be high risk.

Be aware of two problems though. One, any words you’ve ever spoken about corporate social responsibility might get dug up and thrown back in your face.
Two, there might be some clown you’ve never heard of – or some competitor from your closed industry front – who is ready and willing to market some radically new technology that leaves you looking like a muppet and your shareholders calling for your CEO’s head on a plate.

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