When you don't take a stand, you can stay inactive. When you don't have anything at stake, it doesn't matter how the game will end.
There is only one huge downside to all this. In Nordic countries the whole concept of welfare is built on taxation and the redistribution of Gov¨t refunds in order to keep everybody onboard.
Gatekeepers or naysayers
As the world gets automated and more and more people gather their living from bits and pieces, also the administration needs to play the same game. Civil servants play a significant role in designing new solutions to rising challenges.
It is worthwhile to look at the services as investments, rather than costs. Only that way can we make sustainable decisions. As Mazzucato points out in her excellent book, Entrepreneurial State, it is often the government that gets to take care of certain issues that the market powers just don't see as potential gains. Public sector money is more patient, as they say in impact investing.
Taking care of societal problems in advance, before they even arise, is in the end much more effective than trying to fix things that are already broken. In gloom and doom financial times it is tempting to cut costs that are not an absolute must. How shortsighted that is!
Agile changemakers hit the wall
The Finnish society is steady and admired around the world. In this rule of law country we Finns are able to trust public sector. Each sector and office knows its duty and actually performs in quite lean processes. New phenomena, technological disruptions or a sudden flood of refugees have complicated things nastily. Solving problems call for collaboration of many a more offices than before and often the core issue seems to fall on a no man's land. The ability to make decisions is in jeopardy.
Passion to make things possible seems to explain best solutions in public sector. But often that will to change is put out with the fatal phrase "Impossible!"
New work is learning - exploring and experimenting!
Civil servants can no longer see their work as a routine, be a part of machine. We need to become enablers! That calls for vision, ability to see the big picture and the common goal. If we fail in that, the only thing there really is to say is "No, that is impossible."
That happens also when we feel fear. Or if we feel that we really don't have a licence to act differently or explore in order to find the solution. Will the boss step in front of us when something hits the fan?
Experiments are such a central tool because we no longer can tell in advance what will work. The boss who sees the goal out there - and wants to achieve it - will send out teams to experiment.
Civil servants are on the way to become explorers. Together we dare.