Every reputable political or social policy is a proposed solution to a problem; and we always need to be clear about the problem before we can propose the solution. We must always be able to ask of a policy: “To what problem is this the solution?” If there is no problem to which a given policy is a solution then the policy is superfluous, and therefore harmful, if only because it consumes resources to no purpose. … The whole notion that you can start with policies is deeply erroneous, and very damaging in practice. 
Category: “What use is Popper to a practical politician?”
[Jarvie/Pralong (eds.). Popper’s Open Society After 50 Years. pp146-58.]
First of all, we are required to formulate our problems with care. That means, among other things, not taking for granted what they are. We have to ask ourselves what precisely are, say, the main problems that face us in the field of primary education? What, precisely, are the main problems that face us with the treatment of teenage offenders against the law? What, precisely, are the main problems that face us in our relations with the United States? And so on and so forth.
There will, legitimately, be differences of opinion about what the problems are, before one has even begun to think in terms of solutions, and these differences should be thoroughly debated. It is of the utmost importance to get diagnosis right before one proceeds to cure, otherwise the proposed cure will be the wrong one, not effective, quite possibly harmful. So a lot of time and trouble and thought and work needs to go into the identification and formulation of problems before one attempts to move forward from that position. …
[P]roposed solutions need to be critically examined and debated, with the explicit object of bringing their faults to light before they are turned into reality.