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The insights we get by looking holistically at human activity, evolution and using systems thinking suggest that if we organise things in such a way as to reinforce success and encourage the best in people we would see the improvement both in outcomes and behaviour (because it is an emergent property of the whole system).

Our culture, including the norms and beliefs that are part of it, are not static but fluid. They have changed enormously in the last 30 years. We know that this includes changes in behaviour.

To develop these characteristics and obtain a good process that gives a better strike rate (more good outcomes, and success more often) it is politics and economics that has to change. Why? Because politics and economics (the political economy) are the ways we use to make decisions and enact changes to the way we live. We can either leave it to chance (or to the rich and powerful) and hope for the best or we can try to develop a better political economy. What have we got to lose?

We can use the work that has gone on looking at collaboration, team work and commitment and list the characteristics that good has. We can start to say what good looks like.(Anthony op. cit.)

Here is a starter list of these characteristics:

  • Good Process
  • Learning system
  • Wide Engagement
  • No one has a monopoly of good ideas
  • Cooperation to find solutions
  • Measurement
  • Evidence based policy
  • Open (inclusive) policy making

Let’s be clear, there are places within government and businesses that adopt some of these. One of my contention is that, by being hidden inside silos and surrounded by a hostile competitive ideology, they don’t spread or have the expected efficacy.