With a little help from my friends….
By Herman Schepers
Today is the day I decided it is the right time to ‘just go for it.’ I’ve been tinkering and perfecting, throwing around ideas and having some great coffees whilst discussing my new digital policy consultancy – Policy Impact Partners. It is a business I have been planning for a long time so why the hesitation? Well I don’t mind admitting that after 20 years as an ICT policy specialist working for large multinational companies and associations it’s bit daunting going out there on my own!
Except that I’m not on my own. That is the great thing about Policy Impact Partners – I’m going to be working with other senior digital policy people who, like me, want to be their own boss, do interesting work and deliver impact for interesting clients (and just maybe spend a little less time commuting on overcrowded trains!).
The beauty of broadband Internet connectivity is that it has been a great enabler for the freelance economy that is predicted to grow significantly. There are many talented policy professionals who I’ve personally worked with over the past 20 years who have ‘gone out on their own’. I thought there might be an opportunity to develop a flexible consultancy platform where individually, or together, we offer advice to clients without the associated overheads of a large consultancy firm, and with the guarantee of only senior and experienced consultants.
Happily, many of those I have spoken to are excited by this idea and I will be able to share more details on the experts I will be working with very soon. Some will be advisors that clients can draw upon for specific issues, others will work on projects with me as part of this consultancy platform.
But why set up yet another consultancy? Aren’t there already enough out there? Possibly, and there are many excellent firms but few who will offer a dedicated focus on connectivity and digital policy delivered by a group of experts who have lived and breathed these topics for so long. The ongoing digitisation of the economy requires well-considered and sometimes challenging policy advice, not just to technology firms, but also to innovators across sectors as diverse as automotive, agriculture, healthcare and energy. This is the focus of Policy Impact Partners.
Secondly, I’ve sat on both sides of the client-consultancy fence and know first hand that while there are many good experiences, too often there is a mismatch of expectations. This was picked up in a recent POLITICO article that referred to IPREX, a global network of independent PR firms. Consultancy can come at a high price so it is important to get the right team working together, especially as regulation and policy struggle to keep up with fast moving innovation.
As a client I always preferred to work with consultants that really understood the issues and could hit the ground running after a detailed briefing. The best consultants I worked with had the courage and sense to say no, that won’t work, try this. And I knew that they would turn down a project if success was just too much of a long shot.
As a consultant I wanted to work hand in hand with my clients, to really understand their policy challenges so that I could deliver the highest impact possible with them. I brought my years of experience, industry insights and professional networks to each project and I developed teams that could offer the same.
So with all this in mind I know that together with a great team of partners we can offer real policy impact to those that ask us to help.
Exciting times ahead, watch this space!
Herman Schepers is Founder and Director of Policy Impact Partners