Productivity in public sector is, in principle, justified. Everything financed with tax refunds must constantly be under critical viewing: can things be done more effectively, with less resources - perhaps even outsourced?
But. A big BUT. Time to stop to think!
The mechanistic models of measuring financial efficiency were based on scarcity in industrial production processes. The quicker you can get the product out of the line, the better. Do these laws apply in society, to people or knowledge workers?
Helsingin Sanomat (26 Aug 2010, page D1) featured an article about mental hospitals and their hard measures in treatment. However, an Imatra model came up: their statistics always looked better than elsewhere, their patients kept coming in but were also let out easier than elsewhere. Others were stunned: why do you what you do?
The answer is beautiful in its austerity.
Imatra looked at its health care system as a financial entity, like a zero-sum-game. If mental care closed their doors, ie. ceased treating patients with early symptoms, their life gets worse. Later those same patients are bound to need help, this time only more drastic and definitely more expensive measures.
The problem in sectoral management is, that all departments optimize their "sub-costs". Imatra, a blow away from bankruptcy at that time, resorted to the good old common sense. They reviewed total costs. When help is needed later in another section, child welfare, schools or social services, their costs exceed dramatically those of early stage intervention's. True leadership!
Researcher Ilkka Tuomi continues on same lines (HS 26 Sept 2010, page C14). Productivity laws that apply in mass production, can severely twist decision making in information society. Value is born in social networks from innovation and production of new meanings.
How do we speed up these processes? Think faster? I don't think so.
Leadership faces enormous challenges when organization's entities entail both physical products (tax returns), process developing (services, education, communications) and ICT (customer applications and office tools). Money is the scarce resource that they all are competing for. Without true leadership and solid vision sub-optimization is a real threat.
Organizations and decision making must be built on interaction. Sharing knowledge is essential. Collaborative tools and a new mindset enable Enterprise 2.0 and Society 2.0, accordingly.
Becoming a knowledge worker does call for a small revolution.
What then happens is nothing but magic, as Oscar Berg, a net friend of mine, beautifully put it: It's actually pretty simple.
Previously on new ways to work:
Work 2.0 comes with a revolution
Work 2.0 is collaborative
On the way to Information Society
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