In the software business, we learned a decade or so ago that the right level of abstraction at which to “export” software design ideas was the design pattern.
Taken from Christopher Alexander’s classsic, work on pattern languages for architecture, the idea of a software design pattern is an abstraction from details of implementation to the gist of the software algorithm. Software design patterns are widely used to disseminate innovations in software (they should, in a rational world, be the only form in which algorithms can be patented, but we digress).
The same kind of abstraction – a process pattern, if you will – is the right way to bundle up our innovative DC processes for export. Iraq may not want a Senate complete with two representatives from each state, but the nation builders among the Iraqi local countrybuilders may well want the Committee with Expert Staff process pattern as a model for how to digest complex policies for a generalist legislative body.
Who in the technology policy community speaks the language of design patterns and the language of policy process? That’s the crew who needs to work on this.