Which is the best government? That which teaches us to govern ourselves.
— Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Maxims & Reflections, 1893
The Third Wave . . . requires governments that are simpler, more effective, yet more democratic than any we know today.
— Alvin Toffler, The Third Wave, 1980

Reform: thinking strategically

We cannot continue to govern as we have; it is unaffordable. Reform implies something more substantive than mere change; it implies defining the need for change compellingly and addressing micro-structures of the relationship between the individual and families and the state, viz. strategy.

Engagement: involving people

Strategy in government involves engaging actively with the people who will be impacted by the policy under consideration or review. Understanding people's needs and preferences has to be the starting point. The best way is to ask them.

Improving policy design

Poor problem specification and poor understanding of demand channels and user needs results in poor policy. Problems of capture bedevil public services. Understanding micro-structures – how individuals behave under different conditions – is critical.

Better use of resources

For government, effectiveness and efficiency concerns are paramount (along with probity). Both are improved by sound strategy, by sound policy design that consider actual behaviours. Formulating the right questions and listening carefully to the answers are indispensable.