Category Archives: DILC

All those Dialectic Issue LifeCycle Model agony aunt letters in one handy place

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’ – technological innovation (or lack thereof) in response to societal problems (car safety, local air pollution, climate change).  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 (“activists”), those trying to keep it off/to shape the problem into a soluble issue (“industry”), 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.

Phase 1 Activists
Phase 1 Industry
Phase 1 State

Phase 2 Activists
Phase 2 Industry
Phase 2 State

Phase 3 Activists
Phase 3 Industry
Phase 3 State

Phase 4 Activists
Phase 4 Industry
Phase 4 State

Phase 5 Activists
Phase 5 Industry
Phase 5 State

Advertisements

DILC and the ProblemLady: Phase 5, the state

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 have posted these 15 (well, 16) letters and responses, one per day, over the last two weeks or so. This is the last one!

Dear ProblemLady

What next? We’ve been through the whole gamut here. We’ve had to open up our policy-making process to a bunch of oiks. Some of them even used the word capitalism as if it were an insult!  Such frightful people.  How do we stop them feeling like that should become the norm?

Wearily Identifying New Domains Of Worry; Policy Advocates Inspired Now?

Answer: Hello WINDOWPAIN. A pat on the back is in order, I think. And trebles all round – if you can get corporate sponsorship, of course.  You’ve managed to create a new opportunity for capital accumulation, which is, after all, what states are all about. And you’ve got a couple of cities that fancy themselves as locations for a sustainability fix too.  Well done you!

Of course, the activists may try to keep you and your future employers to the regulatory/voluntary agreements.  But in the long march through the institutions, you are on your home ground, and this is a fight of logistics rather than tactics or strategy. And, even hollowed out, the state is more than a match for a bunch of activists, especially when civil society is getting steadily more impoverished.

Just to make sure though, gag them and attack their funding, okay, to stop history repeating on you.

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.

DILC and the ProblemLady; Phase 4, the activists

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, the shortest one of the lot – Phase 4, the activists….

Dear ProblemLady,

bwahahaha. Even the fricking Prime Minister is telling people Something Must Be Done.  El pueblo unido nunca sera vencido!

Workers Everywhere Will Overcome Nastiness
Enjoy this moment, WEWON, is all I’m sayin’.  And have the Samaritans on speed-dial for 6 months’ time….

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

Answer:

Dear CNUTS

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?

DILC and the ProblemLady; Phase 3, the activists

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, the activists

Dear ProblemLady,

Woohooo!  I am writing not with a problem, but to gloat!  We’ve done a newspaper article analysis, thanks to some superb “how to” advice from some guy called Caetano Penna. It turns out that EVERYBODY is talking 

LOTS about our issue!!  Policymakers are being forced to debate measures and possible solutions.  Everyone agrees something must be done. In your face, ProblemLady!!

Social Movement Achieving Serious Hegemony!

Dear SMASH,

there was once this very powerful king who wanted to inscribe timeless wisdom on the walls of his palace. He gathered his wisest advisers and asked them to come up with a saying that would be true forever.  And they came up with “this too shall pass.”

DILC and the ProblemLady; Phase 2, the state

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 two, the state.

Dear ProblemLady,

those activists exploited the public’s fears. One little accident (not that many people died, and they were mostly poor.  Such panic) and there’s real pressure to be seen to be Doing Something.  What should we do so that we don’t end up Doing Something that creates public expectation that we will Do Something More, and also frightens off prospective investors?

State Tenured Anti-Tumult Under-Secretary, Questioning Undue Obstreperousness.

Dear Status Quo,

there’s nothing like some (right colour, right class) dead bodies- what sociologists call “focusing events” to move an item up the public agenda.  Doubtless your minister is being asked what he or she intends to do.  First, make no firm promises.  Repeat after me – “the Government recognises that many stakeholders are concerned about this issue. However, it is the government’s responsibility to take proportionate and reasonable action that balances the risks and the needs of all sectors of society. To that end the Minister is today announcing the creatoin of a blue ribbon taskforce… blah de blah de blah.”  You did graduate from Bureaucrat Academy, yes?