The Overton Window & Shifting Trends in Public Policy

May 6th

Social policy (and profitable business models) shift over time. Swords Crossed describes the Overton Window

The mission of a think tank is to introduce ideas into public discourse and normalize them within the public discourse. ...

One useful tool is the Overton window. Named after the former vice president of the Mackinac Center for Public Policy who developed the model, it's a means of visualizing where to go, and how to assess progress. ...

If you're of an analytic bent, and want to figure out where a legislative or policy strategy is heading, try constructing the scale of possibilities and the Overton window for the subject at hand. Change can happen by accident, true: but it is just as often the product of deliberation and intent, and it does all of us well to understand the mechanisms by which it occurs.

Increasingly, bogus advertisements are being packaged and distributed as content. If you watch how people like Frank Luntz or Glenn Beck aim to manipulate public perception and language you can predict trends quicker than competitors do. Even if you do not agree with their message, you can still profit from the trend while undermining their goals.

Published: May 6, 2007

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