The Big Policy Canvas Needs and Trends Assessment Framework

Submitted by omarkaki on Friday, October 5, 2018 - 10:50.

The Big Policy Canvas Needs and Trends Assessment Framework is essentially a methodology for mapping needs and trends to application domains, as well as for assessing the former in terms of their cost, importance, urgency and capability for innovation.

The framework builds upon the concept of the policy cycle and the individual stages that the former incorporates [1], as well as upon an assortment of specific and representative policy domains [2] in the sense that it places application domains, and thereby potential areas for intervention, at the intersection of policy cycle stages with policy domains.

Along the above lines, the framework’s rationale, i.e. the rationale for the prioritisation of application domains, lies in comparing for each application domain Demand and Supply;

  • with Demand on the one hand being reflected in the number of needs in each application domain and their criticality, as well as in the number of trends and their intensity;
  • and Supply being accordingly reflected in the number of assets available in the same application domain and their score, a metric calculated based on specific criteria, those of Technology Readiness Level (TRL), Implementation or Customisation Cost, Ease of Use and Availability of an Open License.
Big Policy Canvas Assessment Framework Rationale
Big Policy Canvas Assessment Framework Rationale


Going into more detail, the Big Policy Canvas Assessment Framework is structured across the following three axes:

  1. the assessment and prioritisation of existing and emerging needs of public administrations,
  2. the assessment and prioritisation accordingly of existing and emerging trends that may impact the policy making process and
  3. the prioritisation of specific application fields based on selected criteria.
BPC Assessment Framework Axes of Application


Axes I and II deal with the assessment of the “Demand” side, whereas Axis III presupposes the assessment of the “Supply” side and targets the identification of areas for intervention. The rationale for the assessment of both “Demand” and “Supply” lies in mapping needs, trends and assets against application domains, i.e., as stated above, combinations of policy cycle stages and policy domains with the help of the matrix structure shown below:

Assessment Matrix
Assessment Matrix


In case of Axes I and II, the latter is filled in for each need or trend, which is mapped to the application domains, on the basis of i. the results of interviews with policy makers, ii. the outcomes of a set of online surveys, designed by the project consortium for this purpose, as well as iii. the findings of the literature review, conducted in the context of the needs’ and trends’ identification. It is worth noting that such mapping may involve as well a qualitative indication of the relevance of each need or trend to policy domains on a five-level scale. Provided that different weights are further attributed to policy cycle stages, the score of each need/trend can be eventually calculated by multiplying its relevance to a specific policy domain by the weight of each policy phase, summing up the products for each row of the assessment matrix and then calculating the sum for all rows. The prioritisation of either needs or trends can then be realised by defining the appropriate score intervals and grouping accordingly needs and trends in a set of priority groups, based on their overall score (aka criticality or intensity respectively).

In case of Axis III, which presupposes the mapping of assets against application fields, the prioritisation of the latter derives from the combination of Demand and Supply in a ratio, as shown in the Eq. 1.

App. Field Prioritisation Ratio
App. Field Prioritisation Ratio


In this ratio, the numerator equals the average score of all assets identified for a specific application field and the denominator is respectively given by considering the criticality of all needs and the intensity of all trends, identified for the same field and taking the sum of their average values. Apparently, the higher the ratio for a specific application field, the more value there is for the public sector to deal with it and thus the higher the priority to be attributed to it.

The score of each identified asset, which is required for calculating this ratio accrues by combining the criteria of readiness level, implementation or customisation cost, ease of use and open license availability with the help of the Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP) multi-criteria decision making method (MCDM). The assessment of each of the aforementioned criteria may be supported by appropriate instruments, such as interviews and online surveys, and thus the design of appropriate questionnaires.

AHP Decision hierarchy for assets’ score
AHP Decision hierarchy for assets' score


Addressed primarily to public administration representatives, policy makers and researchers, the Needs and Trends Assessment Framework is a methodological tool that can be customised as per the needs of the former stakeholders. In particular, application of Framework Axes I and II can be customised by weighting appropriately the different stages of the policy making cycle, as well as by attributing greater importance to specific policy domains, whereas implementation of Axis III can be fine-tuned in the directions of both the assessment criteria themselves as well as their relative importance in the calculation of the assets’ overall score.


[1] Agenda Setting, Policy Design and Analysis, Policy Implementation & Policy Monitoring and Evaluation.

[2] Agriculture, Fisheries, Forestry & Foods, Economy & Finance, Education, Youth, Culture & Sport, Employment & Social Security, Environment & Energy, Foreign Affairs and Defense, Health, Innovation, Science & Technology, Institutional Questions / Internal Affairs, Justice, Legal System & Public Safety, Public Affairs, Urban Planning & Transport.

Assessment Framework
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