Edgecentric, or How to Govern and Thrive in Dynamic and Uncertain Times

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Edgecentric, or How to Govern and Thrive in Dynamic and Uncertain Times Powered By Docstoc
					                                                                                                       Opinion

                                Innovating the future
            The spring 2009 issue of The Public Manager kicks off a new feature. Each quarter, I will share the work
            of others who help leading public-sector organizations around the globe improve customer and citizen
            experience, create better services, and increase efficiency by transforming the way they do business.
           Working with government and non-governmental organizations worldwide, these individuals are exposed
         to a wide range of innovative and transformational strategies designed to achieve positive results.

     This issue features an experience related by Martin Stewart-Weeks, a colleague of mine at Cisco posted in Syd-
   ney, Australia. As he reflected on a public services summit of senior government leaders from around the world,
   Martin interpreted what he heard as an “increasingly urgent wake-up call to government and the public sector.”
  Government must redouble its efforts to learn about the changes taking place (including the pace of such changes
and their impact), understand them thoroughly, and rapidly reform its systems and culture to respond. Or it can watch
its relevancy and legitimacy erode.
                                                                                                    —Alan P. Balutis




Edgecentric, or How to
Govern and Thrive in
Dynamic and Uncertain Times




I
by Martin Stewart-Weeks

t is instructive in these unpredictable times to consider the answer to a simple question: “Is
government part of the solution or part of the problem?”
     For some, the answer is easy. Governments around the world intervene to save the bank-
ing and insurance systems, bail out car makers, cut taxes, and pump cash into the pockets of
consumers to refloat the imploding retail and housing sectors. So the answer is pretty straight-
forward. Not only is government part of the solution, there are few alternatives in sight.
     But the predictable answer may be misleading. While we are busy rediscovering the vir-
tues of public action, the assumptions on which those virtues rely are shifting. Mesmerized
by the comfortable swing of the pendulum between “less government” and “more govern-
ment,” we haven’t noticed that this time the pendulum is swinging to a new and unfamiliar
position—“different government.”
     The answer to the simple question at the beginning might be more complicated than we
thought, more along these lines: “Yes, government will be part of the solution, but only as
long as it is prepared to change its approach and behavior, in some cases quite profoundly. If it
doesn’t accept that challenge, it will indeed become part of the problem or at least increasingly
irrelevant to the search for effective responses to the problems we’re trying to fix.”


                                                                         THE PUBLIC MANAGER F SPRING 2009        93
edgecentricity                 
				
DOCUMENT INFO
Description: While people are busy rediscovering the virtues of public action, the assumptions on which those virtues rely are shifting. Mesmerized by the comfortable swing of the pendulum between "less government" and "more government," people haven't noticed that this time the pendulum is swinging to a new and unfamiliar position -- "different government." One idea the authors have been pondering is the notion of a new model of governing, complete with redesigned institutions and practices, which they call edgecentric. The word is an attempt to capture a powerful concept based on a simple idea. Governments around the world, as they look for ways to respond more effectively to a set of unprecedented economic, social, and environmental challenges, should start from an uncompromising commitment to change the relationship between the center and the edge.
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