All phases of the reform process - agenda setting, formulation and decision-making, implementation and impact evaluation-are based on the three C's of a successful reform strategy: competence, communication and the capability to implement solutions. These three dimensions are in a tug-of-war between goals related to making reforms and those related to exercising political power, and they are all key elements for the success of reforms. It is crucial to pay equal attention to each of these dimensions during all phases of the reform process. Indeed, if you put too much stress on one dimension and neglect the others, things can get quickly out of control. For example, too much communication at the expense of competence results in policy marketing instead of policy results. And if policy-making relies too much on using strong-arm tactics to implement reforms, the quality of the reform can suffer. On the other hand, if policymakers put their main focus on competence, they can lose sight of the importance of having the capability to implement reforms. No matter what the imbalance is, it will only lead to incomplete reforms.

Since all three dimensions are relevant in each phase of the reform process, it is possible to present the Reformkompass in the form of a matrix. The matrix can be "read" both horizontally (according to the five phases) and verticaly (according to the three dimensions).

The ReformCompass as an interactive matrix
Competence hover-arrow
Communication hover-arrow
Capability to implement hover-arrow
Strategic Core Group hover-arrow
Definition of the problems and analysis hover-arrow
Formulating and Decision-Making hover-arrow
Implementation hover-arrow
Ongoing Impact Evaluation hover-arrow

Fostering a culture of innovation

  • Exploit available competencies
  • Include external know-how
  • Develop management competencies
  • Pay attention to a heterogeneous composition

Strengthening communication abilities

  • Adjust communication resources and competencies
  • Coordinate communication and dialog

Guaranteeing implementation

  • Network actors across the board
  • Develop a conflict early warning system

Picking up on future-related issues

  • Identify the need for reform early on
  • Analyze the specific problem
  • Clarify the direction of the strategic realignment

Fostering a desire for reform

  • Work out communication concept in order to create problem awareness, establish interpretation pattern and communicate central ideas

Calculating the chances of success

  • Identify windows of opportunity
  • Determine profiling opportunities
  • Define negotiation corridors

Formulating reform plans

  • Sound out options for action
  • Evaluate alternative solutions
  • Draft reform plans

Building trust

  • Communicate credibility
  • Use clear and positive reform language
  • Generate realistic expectations
  • Establish dialog

Obtaining majority support

  • Choose negotiation strategies
  • Win alliance partners
  • Ensure the best possible support

Ensuring quality results

  • Ensure effectiveness
  • Determine implementation steps
  • Choose suitable management instruments

Establishing openness

  • Ensure communication between all participants and affected parties
  • Clarify the workability of the reform
  • Ensure that processes are transparent

Mobilizing implementation actors

  • Clarify interactions with relevant actors
  • Include implementation actors
  • Create clear responsibilities

Making control mechanisms more effective

  • Choose suitable evaluation methods
  • Evaluate these methods as part of the process
  • Evaluate the cost and benefit

Guaranteeing responsiveness

  • Analyze feedback
  • Maintain dialog with affected parties and participants
  • Disseminate evaluation results according to the target group

Keeping options open

  • Make adjustments flexibly
  • Take into account changed configurations of actors