Interesting article in the THE about academics interacting with parliament and government. Now, I think it is unrealistic for academics to take on the skillset of a lobbyist. Understanding the nuts and bolts of how public policy is made is a profession in its own right. What I do think is that universities should hire in-house lobbyists to act as “internal consultants” to work with academics to get their research into the hands of government. I’m not just saying this because I think it would be a good gig (although I do think this!). I also believe it would make a genuine difference.
Linked to this is this treatment of the role of public intellectuals. Now this is largely an American view, which is appropriate given that it is more of an American phenomenon than British. We do have some public intellectuals this side of the pond but many of them could really use some advice from public affairs professionals to avoid naivete. A good example recently is an open letter to the public by AC Grayling on the subject of Brexit. He said that those calling for “taking back control” were “clearly” unaware of Isiah Berlin’s two concepts of freedom. Now I am fully aware of that, I have a philosophy degree, but to the working class voters to which he was referring it just looked as if he was calling them stupid. PR 101 Professor Grayling, if people think you are calling them stupid you have already lost the argument.
Stephen Warrington is one of the real innovators in PR and his blog is always a good read. He spends a lot of time in the blog at the cutting edge of the profession. Stakeholder advocacy is one of the trends of the moment (and can be extremely useful. If done properly it radiates authenticity). He highlights some of the issues when this sort of thing “goes rogue” although it is a good idea for an organisation’s PR to stop and consider, when this happens, who is actually at fault. A rogue Twitter feed like @altUSNatParkService is usually a sign that all is not well in employee engagement.
This is an exceptionally useful article I go to again and again – it is exactly what it says in the title, mental models I find repeatedly useful.