Showing posts with label Measurement. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Measurement. Show all posts


South Korea develops comprehensive Public Diplomacy plan

South Korea never fails to impress us with it's quiet commitment to public diplomacy. While there's lot of talk around the world about projecting soft power, very rarely do we find discussions on South Korea.

The tensions with North Korea aside, the latest that has come from South Korea is that the country has set up clear actionable and measurable public diplomacy plans for 2018 and beyond. South Korea's Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced today that it has developed the first comprehensive public diplomacy program and constituted agencies to drive and execute the plan. 

We have discussed in this blog earlier as well how relevance, 'measurability' and being 'budgeted for' will become the 3 significant challenges for foreign offices worldwide as they think of public diplomacy. 

If we don't have answers to these, most PD programs will take the easy way out, which in India's case is narratives around Bollywood, food, culture and heritage and the occasional 'sensationalism'. 

South Korea seems to be working to overcome these challenges:

  • The plan has a clear budget commitment of 410 billion won.
  • The plan has 49 tasks.
  • These tasks include 320 culture related projects, 200 knowledge related projects and 190 policy-oriented diplomacy projects

Among various awareness promoting initiatives, the country also has plans to constitute private committees to "correct factual errors" regarding the country. Internally for South Korea, this is the first time PD policy has been integrated with local implementation agencies and central administrative agencies of the government. This is great!

Korea Foundation will serve as the overseer of this program.

We will definitely ask PD practitioners to keep a watch on South Korea.


Impact of Public Diplomacy

Professor Philip Seib's post - Judging the impact of public diplomacy - in the Huffington Post was interesting for many reasons. One of them being my recent disenchantment with all the noise around this 'discipline' that, to a certain extent, makes it very simplistic. 

Professor Seib's post was helpful as he was able to point out the core issue accurately. Seib says,
" ... only a late harvest will discover all the fruit of public diplomacy. Student exchange programs, for example, may have greatest effect decades later, when the former students have become government officials"
Referring to the US State Department's biannual Public Diplomacy Impact study, conducted worldwide, Seib demonstrates that PD leads to positive change, help promote favorable perceptions and enhances mutual understanding. Asserting the importance of PD for US foreign policy under the new Secretary of State John Kerry, Seib says,
"In speeches delivered since he became Secretary of State, Kerry has shown he understands the need for foreign policy to have a strong popular base at home as well as in the countries with which the United States is working. He has been in politics a long time and knows the importance of constituency-building."
I think this is very well articulated and can serve to be an effective measure of PD programs. It  helped me gain some clarity into the practice of PD as well. Writing for the CPD Blog, in April I tried to question the very basis of PD for an emerging country like India. Extending Seib's point further, as a professional communicator, I believe it will help if countries try to assess effectiveness of their programs by trying to measure 

1. How much of the debate around a relevant global issue were they able to shape through their own outreach

2. How much of the ecosystem were the programs able to rally around their agenda

This is relevant for India as well as other developing countries that do not exercise significant influence worldwide like the United States does. Such a measurement will also shed light on how much the success of PD programs depend on already entrenched power and control over the global system and media. Think about it!

Suggestions/Critiques welcome.

-- Madhur


Measurement and evaluation of Public Diplomacy

As India's Public Diplomacy Division brings structure and strategy to Indian PD efforts it is also important for the PD division to have systems in place that can evaluate these efforts. This is not easy. The U.S. National Strategy for Public Diplomacy and Strategic Communication (2007) is a comprehensive document that sums up the importance of evaluating PD. In acknowledging the difficulties involved in evaluating PD efforts, the document states,
"As Edward R. Murrow once observed, no cash register ever rings when a mind is changed. The impact of information and education programs that touch the emotions, beliefs, intellects and allegiances of diverse audiences around the world is often difficult to gauge, especially when any public diplomacy activities may only produce long-term, rather than immediate, impact."
There are some obvious difficulties associated with measuring PD. Some obvious reasons are:
  1. The gestation period for results of PD efforts tend to be long
  2. Mostly the desired outcomes, measures and concepts tend to be intangible
  3. What derives from the above is the fact that it is difficult to achieve the 'cause-effect' relationship It is difficult to ensure continuous, sophisticated 'tracking' as it is done in communication campaigns. The reason maybe lack of tools, large sizes of samples and databases in terms of numbers as well as spread etc
  4. This in itself makes it a very time, labor and cost intensive process

Nonetheless it is important that evaluation is given a priority to ensure dynamism in PD strategy. According to Prof Eytan Gilboa, Director, Center for International Communication at Bar Ilan University, 10% of PD budget should be dedicated for evaluation and evaluation efforts should be a built in component of any PD strategy.

Suggestions/Critiques welcome.

-- Madhur

Older Posts Home