Not long ago, I was in a meeting to talk about a public policy issue. It was complex, and as we considered the various angles I thought about what it would take to translate talk into change on the ground. I wasn’t analyzing the politics of it — I was focused on the types of people who’d have to roll up their sleeves.

What I came away with was a list of skills, none of them unusual, but all of them vital to getting things done in the increasingly complicated world that government faces. It was a long list, including everything from a legislative draftsman to lawyers and budget experts to subject-matter experts, engineers, businesspeople, and PR experts.