Thank you facilitators for the responses.
Another devil's advocate issue I would suggest be considered:
How many of us (who want to influence policy) do not only work from the bottom up with claim holders, but go to the pertinent decision makers/duty bearers (hopefully together with claim holders) and ask them what policy alternatives they need to make and how we can help with the evidence/info/data they need to promote certain policies they feel are important and politically feasible?
Policy makers often do not respond, because what we want to recommend does not fall within their 'radar'. A need not to neglect to start from the other end here? Maybe not always, but worth trying.
Indeed the writeshops approach captures this idea. Are there other examples?