Today's policy making process within the European Commission can be articulated along the following steps (see picture):
Figure: A graphical representation of today's policy making processes
It takes on average 18 months between the "issue identification" (that creates the rationale for a policy action) and its actual "validation and deliberation". The transposition and actual implementation of an action (e.g. a directive) by Member States may also take years. As a consequence, the actual impacts of the action can only be measured years later, when the context from which the original issue rose may have changed.
Though part of the complexity is embedded in the very nature of the functioning of the EU, much can still be done to improve the EU lawmaking process, in particular the steps required to build evidence for action and engagement of stakeholders in shaping policy ideas.
The Smart Regulation Communication of President Barroso already identifies solutions to remove some bottlenecks and streamline the Commission's policy making processes.
Policy Making 3.0 taps into the potential of ICT to improve policy making processes along the following lines:
 "The Commission will ... explore... • How to make better use of tools such as the "Your Europe" Internet information portal, the European Business Test Panel, SME panels, the Register of Interest Representatives, the interactive policymaking tool (IPM) and other Web 2.0 applications; • How to better use the consultation process to collect data and evidence for impact assessments and evaluations."