Those with missions to serve the public–government agencies, philanthropies, community-based organizations, and others—are faced with increased demands due to the pandemic. Organizations must tackle the immediate challenges, but they can also anticipate the longer-term consequences of the economic, social, and health impacts. Based on best practices and PPA’s experience in consulting, we offer these suggestions for making a policy plight into an innovation boon:

  • Think holistically. The novel coronavirus is not just about biological systems. Those serving the public are working within systems, and this situation provides an opportunity to acknowledge and act upon factors in the system that could compromise the effectiveness of solutions to immediate problems. By doing so, organizations have the chance to mitigate inequities, improve processes, and develop stronger partnerships within and beyond their own sectors. This moves an organization from being reactive to proactive.
  • Engage with stakeholders. There is no better resource than one’s stakeholders when considering policy changes or other actions. They are the people who experience the challenges, traverse the systems, and see the gaps. Listening to the diverse voices of individuals and groups provides valuable input for idea generation and prioritization of actions.
  • Utilize data. While it may seem that gathering data slows down action, particularly when organizations are under public pressure to present solutions, data collection is a precursor to sound short and longer-term decisions. And when the responses are implemented, data tracking and reflection helps to ensure that lessons are captured and used to make improvements.
  • Bring in some specialized help. Consultants are practiced in synthesizing information, navigating across systems, and facilitating groups toward consensus and strategic action. Public Policy Associates’ staff and consultants can help organizations plan for now and what is next.

For more about PPA’s consulting and research services, please contact CEO Sam Singh ( or 517-515-1075).