Friday, January 13, 2012

Acting on motivation

I have done a bit of brainstorming lately on public administration and my interest in it.  It has lead me to think about a motivation>action combination which seems like a very useful starting point - not only in terms of public administration, but personally as well.

To understand the scope and space of different ways of working I needed to relate different methodologies to one another.  How can one talk about options between traditional and design approaches to policy development without being able to relate these methodologies?

Different methodologies all have different components and labels, seemingly irreconcileable, but have strong parrallels.  Starting points including problems, opportunities, policies, objectives and outcomes.  Finishing points include plans, policies, programs and actions.  So many different methodologies have vastly different interiors, but nevertheless start at something like this, and finish at something like that.  They're processes, they all start, and they all go somewhere (though they don't all finish).

TACSI working backwards approach

But they don't all start at different places.  It's not like design starts at a drawing board, but policy starts at a polling booth. Each one of them starts at some sort of motivator.

They all end at action - or at least at some sort of a program for action.

Motivator > (program for) action

So now we have some sort of a reference point to relate these different methodologies, and at least a conception of how to choose between them.  Identify your motivator, and work out what methodology is the best approach to realising it.

Unfortunately, methodolgies aren't determined by a judgement of the best approach.  They are determined by things like precedent, experience or profession.  Or where none of these are present there is no structured response at all!

What are your personal motivators?  What approach do you take to realise these?  Does this make sense considering the importance of your motivators and the options available?

John Baxter

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