What's the point of strategy?
We’ve already touched briefly on strategy when developing a theory of change. Strategy is a plan of action – once you decide where you want to go (goals and objectives), a strategy is the plan to get you there.
Policies inform strategy. Strategies help realise policy objectives and outcomes.
Policies outline decisions made by an organisation or government, adopted formally as principles of action to achieve a specific outcome. Policy can refer to a set of proposals, the decisions of government, a programme of action, an aspiration or expression of general purpose. Once a policy has been agreed or adopted, a strategy outlines how, and in which timeframe, that policy is implemented.
However, policies can not make an impact unless they are enacted. The most effective policies include action plans, which help to translate the goals and objectives of the policy into outputs, outcomes and impact.
Put simply, goals set the vision and a desired impact or targets. Policies indicate commitment to the goal through outlining clear objectives. Strategy is the plan of action to realise these objectives and achieve outcomes which contribute to the desired impact. Programmes are part of the strategy, creating aligned activities with meaningful and measurable outputs (covered more in week 3)
Let’s look into this in more detail with reference to the SDGs.