The Advocacy Iceberg

The Advocacy Iceberg

September 14, 2016

Much SMARTer

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Show Notes

Fifteen years ago I was a big proponent of campaigns having SMART objectives; these days very much less so.

It’s good to inject some discipline into campaign planning processes, and to build from a good sense of the likely change dynamics, and to make sure your ambitions are not woefully misplaced.

But SMARTifying campaigns can be a great way to crush aspiration. It makes it easy for any kind of transformational change to get dismissed as fanciful. Anything difficult to get thrown out.

Clear objectives are important for accountability. But SMART campaign objectives encourage a false sense of precision and certainty, denying the element of of speculation that is inherent to any effort to influence complex social and political environments.

The SMART concept is helpful in contexts where there is relative stability. But SMART is inadequate as a framework to distill and channel the complex, power-laden, unpredictable nature of campaigning.

Instead we could maybe set STUPID objectives:

  • Strategic
  • Targeted
  • Uncertain
  • Plausible
  • Intelligence-based
  • Defensible

Based on the following principles: