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
Agenda setting hover-arrow
Formulating and Decision-Making hover-arrow
Implementation hover-arrow
Ongoing Impact Evaluation hover-arrow

Ensuring factual bases

  • Include internal knowledge
  • Secure access to external knowledge
  • Develop personnel capacities
  • Pay attention to a heterogeneous composition

Strengthening communication abilities

  • Adjust communication resources and competencies
  • Coordinate communication and dialog

Guaranteeing implementation

  • Include network actors across departments
  • Networking with stakeholders
  • Plan decision processes

Picking up on future-related issues

  • Identify the need for reform early on
  • Analyze the reform contents
  • Clarify the direction of the reform

Fostering a desire for reform

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

Calculating the chances of success

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

Formulating reform concepts

  • 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

  • Decide on an implementable reform concept
  • Choose negotiation strategies
  • Win alliance partners and the public
  • Manage political decision processes

Ensuring quality results

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

Connecting with citizens

  • Ensure communication between citizens, the administration and politics
  • Clarify the workability of the reform
  • Ensure that processes are transparent

Mobilizing implementation actors

  • Clarify interactions with relevant actors
  • Create clear responsibilities

Implementing control mechanisms effectively

  • Choose suitable evaluation methods
  • Evaluate these methods as part of the process
  • Evaluate the costs and benefits

Allowing feedback

  • Analyze public resonance
  • Maintain dialog with relevant actors
  • Pass on reform results according to the target group

Keeping your options open

  • Build up an early warning system
  • Make adjustments flexibly
  • Take into account changed configurations of actors