The higher education (HE) policymaking process in the UK does not always work as well as one might want. Politicians, civil servants, expert practitioners, and academic researchers ignore one another and talk at cross purposes. This has been one of the few things that has felt constant to us across the variety of roles we have held, from students’ unions (where we both started) to national membership organisations, learned societies, expert agencies, and government departments. When caught up in the middle of the policymaking process – whether that’s as someone generating policy ideas, someone seeking to influence policymakers, or someone making decisions – it can be hard to find the time to step back and think about why this is so.