Mitch Grummisch is a recipient of the 2023 Prince of Wales Award
The Prince of Wales Award recognises Defence reservists and their civilian employers for their outstanding contribution, by awarding individuals with opportunity to undertake training and develop new skills that directly benefits their civilian employer.
We spoke with Mitch, who chose to study international policy development through the award.
‘We rarely think about it, but our lives are completely guided by policy decisions…’
You chose the course Essentials of Policy Development at NUS Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy. Why this course?
NUS is well respected in international policy development and is a highly-ranked university globally. Governments around the World regularly seek its advice and analysis on policy issues. So, the program felt like a good fit for my interests and the work that Tetra Tech International Development does across the Indo-Pacific.
‘Policy has the ability to reach all sectors of society and transform lives.’
Why is policy development important and what personally interests you about it?
Impact. Policy has the ability to reach all sectors of society and transform lives. We notice when one isn’t working or runs against our beliefs or core interests, yet rarely notice when it works, that’s the hallmark of an effective policy development process.
What do you think most people misunderstand about policy development?
That it just happens. We rarely think about it, but our lives are completely guided by policy decisions that are continuously being adapted and refreshed. Policy has the ability to reach all sectors of society and shape how we interact with each other and live our lives.
What were you hoping to get out of the course?
I wanted to learn more about policy development from a range of perspectives. In particular, I’m interested in how other government’s approach the common problems we all face.
How will you apply your learnings to your career at Tetra Tech and in the long term?
For Tetra Tech, developing and delivering solutions is everyday business, but how we frame a challenge is as important as any proposed solution. If we don’t understand how different cultures define and frame their problems, we can’t possibly support them to create meaningful change in their communities. So, we can’t afford not to understand how our neighbours frame and approach problems in line with their culture.
For me, I’m really interested in the policy space, particularly from a security perspective. International security policy links into development policy quite well in some cases and as we can see, security policy can rapidly change overnight and requires to be have both a macro and micro view of the challenges we face and those who might be impacted.
‘Relationships with our neighbours are key to our mutual success.’
In your opinion, what impact will policy development have on diplomacy, security and regional development over the next two decades?
The policy decisions being made now will shape the next 20 years. We have a tendency to be highly reactive to events, which is important. However, without a larger strategic vision, we run the risk of wasted time through short-term planning. Policies that align with our long-term vision for a safer and more prosperous region will benefit all. In the past, we have been short-sighted about our place in the world. We are a Pacific nation, but also an Asian one. Relationships with our neighbours are key to our mutual success.
How have you been able to apply the skills you’ve developed in the Army to your current role at Tetra Tech?
The Army teaches you to gather information from all available sources, clarify assumptions, clearly communicate your expectations and coordinate diverse teams. All those skills are well suited to the work we do in culturally diverse environments. The way a neighbouring community might perceive or define a problem is likely very different to how I might do that through my own cultural reference points.
Read about Tetra Tech International Development’s Defence and Human Security Services.