Brainstorming and Pinpointing in London on 24-25 January
Change is more a permanent condition than a passing situation. The steering systems and structures of government have to thus work seamlessly, strategically and be agile. The organisations have to be able to be sensitive to change and have foresight in complex environments involving multiple stakeholders. In the Finnish state administration many large reforms and development projects are on the way to develop steering systems, structures, leadership, customer-orientation, evidence based policy making and a more joint administrative culture.
The main target of the Governments for the Future Project is to share experiences of five administrations (Austria, England, Finland, Scotland and Sweden) about the central governments readiness to meet current and future challenges of the society and to map those concrete problems and development challenges, and eventually to search through co-operation for solutions as well as best practices to the main challenges. The project started in spring 2012 and a small group of representatives from the administrations have met and worked together in London (06/2012), Helsinki (10/2012) and now again in London (24-25 January 2013).
The Institute for Government (IfG), the independent British “think tank” charity organisation, (http://www.instituteforgovernment.org.uk) organized the London event. The workshop was structured under the title of improving systematic use of evidence in policy making (EPM) and it contained six sessions. At first, Professor Christopher Pollitt introduced us to the theme by presenting history of EPM and by summarizing that the EPM is rather old (introduced in 1960s) but complex issue. This view was also recognized by many of the participants. Professor Pollitt is participating to this development project also in a wider role as a discussion facilitator and a critical commentator. During the workshop he raised interesting academic views into conversation and highlighted lessons learned from previous attempts to solve challenges in the world of EPM.
Informal and fascinating discussions between country representatives were spiced by interesting country cases from every participating administration as well as presentations from the IfG and Nesta, the independent British charity organization with a mission to help people and organisations bring great ideas to life (http://www.nesta.org.uk). Country representatives also had the possibility to reflect on the issues and draw further conclusions and classifications by brainstorming and using pinpointing/neuland approach. As a result, the group created a mind map of clusters of the most important, interesting and challenging areas that connect to the evidence based policy making. This mind map gives us goodground to build further our thinking in our try to seek answers in this complex environment.
In conclusion, the team Finland would like to warmly thank our hosts, especially the director Peter Thomas, and all the participants for interesting discussions and pleasant time in London! Next time we will meet in Edinburgh on 11-12 March. A theme of that meeting is innovation and learning.Markus Siltanen